You’d think that a marathon is just a marathon. People running long distances with people cheering them on – often raising money for good causes along the way. But the TCS London Marathon is one of those London events that has evolved into something much more. Eagerly awaited by beginner and long-time marathoners alike, the marathon brings out the best in Londoners as everyone gathers together to support great causes as well as those participating in the marathon itself. But as such, it can be difficult to navigate the affair, so here’s our London Marathon guide.
1. The basics facts of The TCS London Marathon 2023
The TCS London Marathon takes places on Sunday, April 23. The 26.2 mile route takes participants from the start in Blackheath, past the Cutty Sark, over Tower Bridge, and through Canary Wharf, before finishing on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. Kicking off at 8:50 AM, the last runner is expected to have crossed the start line by 11:30 AM. Those who manage to finish the marathon will cross the finish line on The Mall, and receive a finisher’s medal, New Balance finisher’s T-shirt, and some drinks and a snack to aid in recovery.
This is the first time since 2019 that the marathon has been run in the spring time, with the last few running in autumn due to COVID restrictions.
2. The TCS Mini London Marathon
Ahead of the big day, on Saturday April 22, the young people taking on the TCS Mini London Marathon will be the first to cross the finish line on The Mall. These youngsters may prove to be some of the up and coming sports figures that we’ll be cheering on in years to come. After all, such legends as Sir Mo Farah can be counted among previous Mini Marathon runners. Farah himself won the event for three years running! (He’ll also be taking part in the London Marathon once again this year).
3. Travelling to the Start line
Those participating in the Marathon will get free travel on the day to the start on Southeastern train services from London stations, as well as on the DLR, tube, and buses. All you have to do is show them your bib number and take a free ride! On Sunday April 23, DLR services from Tower Gateway and Lewisham will start earlier at 5:30 AM, and at 7 AM across other routes.
Do be aware that on the day there are planned engineering works and closures on the Piccadilly line from Acton Town to Uxbridge. Make sure to plan your journey so you don’t get caught out by the maintenance.
4. Doing your own virtual London Marathon
Can’t make it to London for the event? Or didn’t register in time? You can still take part with your own virtual TCS London Marathon. Official entries for the virtual marathon closed on April 4, but that needn’t stop you planning out a route and pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles! For whatever reason you might have for wanting to do it elsewhere, the virtual TCS London Marathon allows anyone to take part.
5. Promotions for participants
A number of businesses around London will be offering discounts and freebies to marathon runners in support of their gargantuan undertaking. Many will post on the day, so keep an eye on socials for your favourite restaurants, cafés, and pubs, to find out what might be on offer. But here are some of the confirmed giveaways for London Marathon runners:
🍔 Bill’s is giving all participants a complimentary burger and bottle of Peroni at all of their London sites. (April 23 only)
🍕 Vapiano’s will be offering runners a complimentary bowl of their fresh pasta or pizza at any of their venues – just show them your medal! (April 23 – 27)
🍗 London marathon-ers and volunters can choose between a burger or Impossible nuggets at MeatLiquor. (April 23 only)
🍹 Cap off a successful run of the marathon by grabbing a free cocktail from Clay’s. And while you’re there, why not get in on the spirit with some virtual clay-shooting? It’ll pass the time until the transport options are little less crowded! (April 23 only)
🥂 Westin London City’s wine bar, Hithe + Seek, will toast marathon finishers with a well-deserved free glass of bubbles. (April 23 only)
🛁 Rest up and recover with the help of Lush, who are giving away a bath bomb and a massage bar to medal-holders from their Oxford Street, Paddington Station, Waterloo Station, and Victoria Station shops. (April 23 only)
🍝 Run fast-a with free pasta courtesy of Pasta Evangelists and Deliveroo by ordering through Deliveroo with the code RUNPASTA10 (April 21-22 – only 4,000 codes available)
🍔 Battersea Power Station’s Clean Kitchen are offering medal holders a free burger meal deal to celebrate the momentous undertaking. (April 23 only)
6. Where to watch the runners in comfort
Plenty of people will be turning out to run the marathon, but countless more will be rocking up to support the athletes. And if you’re one of the many supporters planning on cheering them through the arduous task, why not watch in comfort? Mile 19 snakes its way through Canary Wharf, with the best vantage points available at South Colonnade, Cabot Square and Westferry.
Fancy a drink while you watch? Spectators can watch the action, drink in hand, from venues like La Petite M Café’s terrace vantage-point. Alternatively, there’ll be plenty of grab-and-go options for those wanting to nosh by the sidelines. Try out Yolk’s specialty sandwiches and poached egg pots, Obicà’s pizzas, salads, panini, and desserts, or plenty more from the many dining options in the area.
7. Getting home
London Marathon participants can take advantage of free travel up to 6:30 PM on the London Underground, Overground, buses, and DLR. Because after all you’re definitely not jogging home, right? Right?
8. What about next year?
When you get home, you’re sure to simply collapse into bed or onto the sofa and sleep for three days. But, looking ahead to next year, registration will have opened already, on April 22.
Will you do it all over again?