The World’s Top 10 Marathons

1. London Marathon

The Flora London Marathon is genuinely a marathon for every runner. The huge field, large, enthusiastic crowds and party atmosphere appeal to first-timers, while the speed of the course and faultless organisation continue to draw seasoned marathon veterans. Even the armchair fan is catered for with the kind of elite field that even the Olympics or World Championships envy. The inaugural event in 1981 was inspired by the New York City Marathon, but its ongoing success has made it the benchmark against which all others are now judged.

The course: The point-to-point route starts in Blackheath and Greenwich Park in South-East London and finishes beside St James’s Park on the Mall. Along the way it takes in many of the city’s famous historic sights, and although the route twists, turns and narrows in places there are no notable hills.
Highs: The last three miles along the Embankment, passing the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace on the way to the finish.
Lows: Narrow streets around the Isle of Dogs and the dour loop of Docklands.
Watch out for: The cobblestone footpath beside the Tower of London.
Contact: tel 020 7902 0200; web www.london-marathon.co.uk
Size: 30,000+
Month: April

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