For all those training and working hard for it, this year’s Virgin London Marathon is just 26 days away! That gives you less than 4 weeks of waking up at 5 in the morning to take on a gruelling 20 mile run before heading off to work, and as you are all disciplined and entering the last stages of your intensive training programme, there is no need for me to tell you how to best prepare for the big day. If, however you are more like myself and would much rather be standing at the side and watching all the crazy people in costumes run through the streets of London, then do not go anywhere as I am about to supply you with some key information that will help make your day out in London a special one.
As an ex-marathon runner myself, I know the positive impact that the support and motivation the spectators provide can have. I was silly enough to register for the Bath Half Marathon in 2005 and this would have been a far greater challenge if it was not for the glorious people of Bath cheering me and my partners in agony on, as we laboriously ran through the historical streets of Bath in giant teddy bear costumes each holding a charity bucket filled with over £100 worth of change. We were also young and arrogant enough to believe that 13.1 miles was an easy task with no training, so decided to just turn up on the day and see how it went. I still today feel that my time of 1:52 is rather good considering the circumstances! What I am positive about however, is that this would not have been achievable if it was not for the hundreds and thousands of people lining the streets and cheering us on, and I will never forget the little girl who begged her mummy for a pound to give to the teddy and then gave me a hug afterwards. That definitely kept me going!
If you are intending on supporting a friend or loved one during the Virgin London Marathon, then why not turn it into a day out in London and take the opportunity to visit some of the main attractions along the way? The route for the Marathon is perfect for this as there are many sights along the course that are must see attractions. The first of these is at mile 6, where the National Maritime Museum and the famous Cutty Sark ship is found. This mile is also important as you cross the Prime Meridian Line, which separates the East and West Hemisphere, making the London Marathon the only one in the world that is run across both sides of the world.
Mile 12 is a great place to watch the runners at the famous London landmark Tower Bridge. Here the atmosphere is electric as spectators cheer and shout to motivate the runners as they near the half-way point. Nearby attractions also include the London Dungeons, The Tower of London and St. Katherine’s Dock where a host of historical pubs and shops are an ideal spot to take a well-earned break from all that cheering. On the North side of the bridge you are also able to see 2 legs of the course as they run parallel with each other, giving you the opportunity to cheer on your loved ones at 2 points without moving a muscle!
From Tower bridge, I would advise catching the London Underground to Embankment, where at mile 25 you can see your friends and family in on the last mile, as well as seeing the sights of the London Eye, round to Big Ben and the houses of Parliament and then finishing up at the race end at Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Park. Here you are likely to come across hysterical family members and exhausted but triumphant runners. It is a good idea to assign a spot before the race where you can be reunited with those you know who took part, as the finish line can become rather chaotic.
So there you have it, an Eventful Stays guide to watching the London Marathon. Chances are you will be just as exhausted as the runners themselves and we are finding that lots of people are choosing to book accommodation to stay in overnight. Beats going back on the Megabus in your running gear…and I witnessed a few weary runners doing just that last year! There are many exciting and, crucially, free attractions throughout London and I have only named a few. The London Marathon is a great opportunity to support your loved ones, but also to experience the sights of London that will guarantee to keep the kids entertained this summer. Why not book accommodation with Eventful Stays and make it a weekend break? This will give you the opportunity to experience all the attractions that you might have missed on day one, allowing you to have a great city break in London.
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