The course is quite undulating and last year parts of it were flooded; the first flooded area soon after the initial decline after the start. With recent rains I expect this year will be the same, so don’t expect to have dry feet for long!
Most of the course is on country lanes; i.e. gravel, mud etc, but there is a welcoming asphalted road section as well on the latter part of the lap, though part of that was flooded as well last year.
There is a short hill after the first flooded area, which does get quite muddy later in the race, but there is a nice downhill section after it. If you believe in mind over matter, then this hill bit is the place to apply it!
I don’t use trail shoes and coped ok with road shoes last year. For best grip, avoid the mud and run through the puddles; you do get used to the wet feet after a few laps.
How many people actually enter London thinking they will get in? How many entered ASAP out of blind panic because of the cap on registrations? Furthermore, how many enter simply to ‘maintain’ their successive rejections knowing that one day (year 6 to be precise) they will get in?
If a lot of people answer yes to question 3, then that’s probably why London are scrapping the ‘5 rejects and you in’ approach, hoping it will ease registration. Time will tell if that thought is justified.
On another note, London online system is very recent. Most other big marathons (and many smaller ones) have being using online registration for many years. Why did London take so long to switch to online? And why have a cap on registrations?
As for changing the course to allow more numbers; that sounds a bit like saying the motorway is congested, so lets add another lane. That sadly, hasn’t exactly worked for the M25 or M42! J
Loch Ness marathon used to have a ballot system like London but they dropped it after people kept complaining and they now use a far simplier ‘first-come first-served’ format similar to that of Paris. The same is also used for Berlin and pretty much all the big name European marathons. The only notable exception is indeed London. London is often quoted as using the excuse that it is very big and thus needs a ballot system to make things ‘fair’ and to cope with the ‘sheer numbers’ but according to AIMS in 2009, London had 35,266 finishers, compared to Berlin’s 34,994 and Paris’ 30,334. But the figure for Berlin doesn’t include the 1000's of inline skaters and Nordic walkers, so entrants for Berlin as a whole easily beats London in size. Furthermore the big name Ironman triathlons also do a ‘first-come, first-served’ format, despite some selling out very quickly. For example Austria, this sells out in hours, Germany (Frankfurt) in weeks and Switzerland in months. People have complained about the quickness of entries selling out (as well as Austria’s website struggling to cope with demand) but most agree it is still preferred over a ballot system.
At Paris last week, every runner was issued with a sponge at the Expo, which they took with them on the course and dunked at the various water sponge stations (water buckets). These stations were in addition to the drink stations. This allowed the drinking water to be used for just that, drinking. Paris also had food stations (bananas, dates and oranges). These are things not unique to Paris as I've seen at a number of European marathons.