In short: Brilliant. Defines atmosphere, and great fun In full: This particular race didn't go well for me (calf pull half way round), but that isn't the fault of the race. It was brilliantly organised, and good enough to make you want to run a qualifying time! Date of review: September 3, 2012
In short: this is my 7th London - will keep coming back for more In full: where else can a lion and rhino run side-by-side and go over the finish line hoof in paw? - or a rhino high-5 a panda? 3rd London in a Save the Rhino costume...crowds are brilliant - even after 7 hours, they still cheer you on! great organisation - lots of water - St John's were brilliant with the calf rubs and salty drinks. will be back next year for sure! Date of review: May 20, 2011
In short: Great atmosphere In full: Ran my second of these this year and enjoyed the atmosphere even more despite having a poorer run.
Started at Blue start - was very disappointed with start/stop first mile and struggled to get any rythem in first half even though I was starting from a mid to forward pen. Wish they'd do something about this as I've heard it is a common problem from Blue.
Made the mistake of aiming for a quickish time and fell well short but didnt take away from the experience Date of review: May 10, 2011
In short: Big race - hideous course - poor sponsor In full: London is THE marathon to do. It is a major marathon, and possibly the most famous. The organisation is smooth and professional from start to finish. The crowd support is intense at places, and pretty good all the way round. You really are aware you are taking part in a significant event. It is not, however, the best marathon you can do, nor the best run.
The course is hideous. I've waited five years to run this marathon and often looked at the course and pondered that it goes through some dreary parts of London, but thought that the event itself and the crowd support would compensate. Well, frankly, no it doesn't. Running through street after street of ugly tenement buildings, closed down pubs and factories is not inspiring. Most city marathons have their bad patches spaced out amongst the awe-inspiring, historic, iconic scenery, but London has the good patches spaced out amongst the dreary route that makes up about 20 miles of the 26. Surely it's possible to run the course through some better parts of London. It is extraordinary that the course somehow manages to weave its way through all the worse parts of London!
While it's undeniable there's a wonderful atmosphere about the event itself - there is a lack of warmth and understanding coming from the sponsor. The Expo was purely commercial - very disappointing. The worse city marathon expo I've attended. Almost demoralising. Virgin is pushing the money side of the event, and seems to neglect the running side. Yes, this is the biggest charity event in the world - but it is not a charity event that happens to be a marathon, it is a marathon that happens to also be a charity event. The focus must be on the running, not on the raising of money, or the making of money. The events on the Expo stage were almost all commercial - "here's the clothes you can buy - now go buy them at the stall behind you". Paris Expo was great because while there was stuff to buy, the focus was on building an atmosphere. The Paris Pasta Party is an uplifting experience. Great party atmosphere. And you can fill up with as much pasta and fruit as you like. Go back for more as often as you like. Watch the stage show which is for fun only. Gives you a great feeling. And the party is included in the entry fee. As is the 5k "Breakfast Run" which you can do on the Saturday morning. Excellent value for money.
I dislike that Virgin have stopped the guaranteed entry for five consecutive ballot failures. This punishes those who can't afford a charity entry or are unable to raise the money from asking others.
As with others I felt that the t-shirt was very poor - among the very worse I have been given, though I had no complaints about the goodie bags - I thought they were OK.
I thought the finish zone could do with having water bottles ready. I had finished all my water, and was looking forward to some water at the finish. The finish zone is very long and depressing. It just seemed to go on for ever - but, fair enough, that is not uncommon for big events.
I was impressed when I got on the train at Rochester at how many other runners there were from my town doing the marathon. It gives you a sense of how big the event is. The walk from Blackheath station to the start was very exciting. A big flow of people. There were marshals placed to guide the runners - but they weren't needed - you just had to follow the crowd!
Overall I enjoyed the day, and was pleased that family members managed to see me at several spots along the route, but it's not an event I'm that interested in doing again. There are plenty of interesting city marathons around the world that I haven't yet done. And of the marathons that I have done so far that I'd be happy to do again are Beachy Head (entered again this year), Paris (probably do next year) and Prague. I'm also keen on doing the French Riveria Marathon, Berlin Marathon and Marathon du Medoc. Date of review: May 10, 2011
In short: London is a must do for any runner! In full: My first time at London, and what more can you say than, excellent oransiation, great course, uplifing atmosphere and one of the most rewardning feelings you will ever have crossing a finish line.
It's made my year, and would reccomend the race to anyone. Date of review: May 4, 2011
In short: The best running experience ever, everybody should do it at least once In full: I love the London Marathon, I have done it for the last 9 years and raised about £100,000 for charity. BUT.... since Virgin took the sponsorship the race has gone down hill, compared to previous years the expo isn't as good, the goody bag at expo was terrible, the goody bag at the finish is nothing like it was and the tee shirt is a joke. I don't know if it's anything to do with Virgin, cutting costs generally or recession .... but it needs looking at. This is letting a fantastic race down. Date of review: April 30, 2011
In short: Do the training or else!!! In full: Struggled after the halfway point and can only put this down to not having done enough training, organisation brilliant, weather was to warm but all in all another great day. Date of review: April 28, 2011