Pacing Groups At The Virgin London Marathon

Here's how to find us - and stick with us - among 35,000 runners

Posted: 10 April 2012

Your Pace Or Mine?

Once again, Runner's World invites you to enjoy the free pace groups we lead around the Virgin London Marathon. All you need is a place in the race - you don't need to register with us separately.

We'll be leading six groups:

  • 6:52-minute miling (just under a 3:00 marathon)
  • 8:00 miling (just under 3:30)
  • 9:00 miling (just under 4:00)
  • 10:00 miling (just under 4:30)
  • 11:00 miling (just under 5:00)
  • 'Get You Round' (jogging pace, with a one-minute walk break after every five minutes, finish in approx 5:15).

How to find our pacers at the start

Your Pace Or Mine?
There'll be a pacer for each time band at both the blue and red starts. Each pacer will be in the start pen that corresponds to their target pace (see below), and they'll be holding up big boards showing their times.

The picture on the right shows the RW Pace Team at the Hastings Half-Marathon - holding boards to match 13.1 mile target times.

Our pacers will be in the following start pens:

  • 6:52/mile - pen number 1
  • 8:00/mile - pen number 3
  • 9:00/mile - pen number 5
  • 10:00/mile - pen number 7
  • 11:00/mile - pen number 9
  • Get-you-round - pen number 9

(The pen positions above are based on last year. They should be the same each year, but do check at our Marathon Expo stall beforehand - you'll find us at stand 148).

If the time you predicted when you applied for the marathon is different from the actual time you want to hit with a pace group, you may find you've been allocated to a different start pen from your pacer. You'll have to go to your allotted pen and aim to meet the pace group as you run.

Who are the pacers?

Our pacers are experienced Runner's World staff and friends. Some of them have been helping runners hit their time targets since we first paced the London Marathon in 1998.

Find out what the iconic race is like from the other side with our pacer's story.

Our timings and what they mean

Our pacers will be starting their watches at the start line. Why? Because your official race time is calculated from when you cross the start rather than when the gun is fired. It's good news for the pacers - it means they don't have to run extra-fast to make up the time they took to cross the start line - but it does mean that if you start before a pacer and then hold back to join them, you might not clock the official time you want. In this instance, we'd recommend you check with the pacers to see how the time on your watch compares with the time on theirs.

How do I behave in the pacing group?

Discover the dos and don'ts of running in a pacing group and find out more about the RW Pace Team's 14-year legacy.

Ask us more...

Don't hesitate to email us if you have any more questions. Better still, drop by our stand at the London Marathon Expo or listen to our presentation (see below for details) before the race. The stand will always be manned, and members of the pacing team will be there in person as often as possible. See you there - and good luck!

Expo Pacing Presentation

We'll be explaining our London Marathon pacing service and answering all your questions at the London Marathon Expo. Listen to our presentation on the following days:

Wed: 11.50, 14.30, 15.55, 17.55
Thurs: 11.40, 14.00, 15.30, 17.30
Fri: 11.20, 14.05, 15.55, 17.35
Sat: 10.20, 12.40, 15.00

Powered by Timex

Proud sponsor of the Runner's World Pace Team, Timex has been helping runners keep time for 25 years. The official timepiece of the RW Pace Team is the all-new Timex IronMan Run Trainer™ GPS watch, which is due to launch in the UK in February 2012.

With distance, pace and speed functions plus other great features, you can trust the Run Trainer to keep you on track and help you focus on getting the most out of your running. To register your interest in the Run Trainer, leave your details at and we'll let you know as soon as it hits the shops.
Timex IronMan Run Trainer TM GPS Watch

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Discuss this article

I am fairly sure this is a stupid question, but it is my first

 Do your pace runners stop at all during the race to answer a call of nature? I can understand the quick guys being able to but I am planning on running with the 10 min/mile guy and thats 4.30 hours...

 If they dont, what is your advice to keep with them. Run ahead a bit and stop or stop and then catch up?

Posted: 22/04/2010 at 08:36

What time are the "get you round" group hoping to get round in?
Posted: 22/04/2010 at 10:13

Do the pacers speed up for the next mile if they get slowed down on one stretch e.g. due to congestion?

I.e. do they try to run each mile at the given pace, or do they try to run the entire marathon on average at the given pace? 

Posted: 13/04/2011 at 09:58

Hi Barney,

The answer from our pacing chief is...

"Pacers will run each mile at the specified pace and, if unimpeded, will be accurate to within 10 seconds either side. If they are held up due to congestion they will gradually pick up the pace to make the time up over the next few miles rather than blitzing the pace to catch up on the next one."

Hope that helps!


Posted: 10/04/2012 at 10:54

Wow! This is great! I need this.

As its my first Marathon, looking at one of these, I do Half Marathons in 2 hrs 12 mins

  • 10:00 miling (just under 4:30)
  • 11:00 miling (just under 5:00)
  • 'Get You Round

Posted: 10/04/2012 at 13:33

I'm starting from Pen 1 , Green start. Will there be a sub 3 hour Pace Group there that I can attach myself to?
Posted: 15/04/2012 at 09:38

Nick.. no, not from green start.  There is usually a sub 3 pacer from the blue start so you will have to try and hook up with them later. 

Most of the folks on green have already run a qualifying time so perhaps the organisers feel that you don't really need anyone to hold your hand!

Posted: 15/04/2012 at 10:26

Challenge accepted! I shall attempt to get from pen 3 (where I expect to be given the 3 30 i put on the form) to the sub 3 pacer, given my 2:11 time in 2 twenty miler races I should be aiming for somethin close to 3 hours  
Posted: 16/04/2012 at 14:21

I ran my first marathon this year and just wanted to say a huge thanks to the 11 min/mile pacers at the London Marathon. I was really hoping for under 5 hours and with the help of these guys I achieved it. Not only was it great to have you to follow but they provided really useful advice and encouragement along the way. I was hoping to say thanks at the end, but didn't manage to see them again when my eyes set sight on the finish line! So thank you, and may possibly see you again next year (will decide when the blisters have gone!).
Posted: 27/04/2012 at 21:40

Hi I'm running my first marathon in April, I was running with a partner but due to work commitments she can't train with me so we will be running different times, thing is, I like running with someone, can we meet the pacers prior to the race so we know who they are?! I ran in Manchester and the pacers were a Godsend, stopped me running too fast, so I would love to run in a group!!
Posted: 12/02/2013 at 17:38

You'll see them at the start, they'll be carry signs that are visible from a long way off.

Or, do you mean meet them socially and perhaps do some training with them ? (Just re-read your question and I'm not clear) 

Posted: 12/02/2013 at 17:48

My training times are well up on my pen times. Should I be concerned or is it possible to run say 3:45 from pen 9. What has experience taught people?

Posted: 18/04/2013 at 13:13

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