What is the London Marathon?
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The 41st edition of the Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on Sunday 3 October. Since its first edition in 1981, the London Marathon has been an eagerly awaited event not only in the capital, but all over the world!
It is in fact one of the biggest marathons in the world in terms of number of participants (one of the six World Marathon Majors along with those of Berlin, Boston, Tokyo, New York and Chicago), which in 2019 saw about 49,000 runners arrive at the famous finish line on the Mall!
The Virgin Marathon London was born from the idea of two famous British marathoners, John Disley and Chris Brasher, who with their commitment and thanks to the funding of the first sponsor of the race, Gillette, managed to inaugurate the event on 29 March 1981 with 7,747 participants and thousands of spectators present. The goals of the two athletes were to promote a major international event that would raise the standard of British sport and raise funds to improve London’s recreational areas. Since then, the London Marathon has grown in size and popularity: it is one of the most watched sporting events and is televised in more than 150 countries around the world! It is also a major charity event, as more than three-quarters of marathon runners run for charitable purposes and in the last 15 years, the race has reached over 750 charities.
The organisation of the Virgin London Marathon is impeccable: along the marathon route there will be refreshment stations with water and energy drinks, as well as six shower stations.
There will also be several Medical Assistance points along the route.
As for timing, runners will have to attach their IPICO Timing Tag to a shoe before the race.
For the first 3 kilometres you run east towards Woolwich, so don’t try to waste your energy slaloming past the runners in front of you.
In the next few kilometres, up to the seventh, you change direction and start to run west, here the road is slightly downhill and you can make up some seconds that you lost in traffic at the start.
As you enter the eighth kilometre you begin to hear the warm cheers of the spectators along the roads, which culminate around kilometre 10, where the Cutty Sark is located.
Once past this ancient sailing ship there will be no more tourist attractions until halfway through the race, but the cheering here continues to be warm.
About halfway through the race there is the iconic Tower Bridge crossing, at this point the cheering is deafening, let yourself be overwhelmed by the cheers of the spectators.
From the 22nd to the 34th the crowd becomes more timid and the passage through Isle of Dogs and between the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf can be tiring, but returning to Shadwell, the thrust of the fans will be constant until the end.
The last few kilometres are the most picturesque, past the Blackfriars subway, you run along the banks of the Thames, where you can admire the London Eye, Westminster and Big Ben.
Leaving the Thames, you enter the last few metres of the marathon and a long road leads to Buckingham Palace, where a final bend will show you the finish line located on The Mall, where you will finally receive your coveted (and hard-earned) medal.
The finish line
The finish line of the 2021 London Marathon is located on The Mall, a wide avenue linking Buckingham Palace to Admiralty Arch, near Trafalgar Square.
As soon as you cross the finish line, keep walking and leave room for those coming after you. The finishing area is 800 metres long and is not accessible from the outside.
When you cross the finish line you will first receive a well-deserved medal, then a recovery bag containing still water, an energy drink, food and your finisher’s shirt.
Pick up your rucksack before you leave the finish area, you will find it in the recovery bag truck which displays the range of your bib number.