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March 01, 2020

The London Marathon is at the top of a lot of runners and non runners bucket lists and with good reason. There really is no other event like it anywhere else, a perfect combination of a madcap festival and a super serious sporting event.

London Marathon 2021: Sunday 3rd October

As the big day gets ever closer we thought we'd put together the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about the London Marathon, the Dos and the don'ts. 

What you need to do


First things first, 26.2 miles may start to sound easier the more you say it (it definitely feels like that for me the more Marathon related blogs I write), but it isn't to be taken too lightly. It can be great fun, but you need to make sure that you prepare yourself properly. To do that you need to train. There are plenty of training plans out there, but if you don't want to look too far try our newly released Marathon Training Plan (complete with cross training and nutrition advice). Just use the link below to download.



Turn up to the right place at the right time

This year the London Marathon will be Sunday 3rd October and unless you are an Elite Woman or competing in the Para races you will be starting at 10am. There are three different starting pens for runners, based on your predicted finishing time. You'll discover which pen you are in once you have collected your number. 

Find out more about the start areas, bag drop and nearest stations on the London Marathon website

Collect your race number

Collecting your race number couldn't really be any more straightforward. All you need to do is pop into the ‘London Marathon Running Show’ between Wednesday and Saturday, entry is free for runners and non runners alike.

To show you are who say you are, you'll need to print out your registration email along with some photo id.

If you're unable to attend the show, you can send a friend to collect your number for you, but it's a little more complicated.

They will need

  • A signed letter giving them permission to collect your number
  • A copy of your ID
  • Their ID
  • Your signed registration form.

    Know the route 



    As it stands the route for the course is looking like it will be exactly the same as last year as there have been no announced route changes. While it's good to have a rough idea of the course so you know how far you've gone, don't worry about getting lost, it's well marked and you just need to follow the crowd.

    Tell your friends where to see you!

    Running London Marathon is exciting and chances are that your friends and family will want to support you whether from the course itself or online. For those coming in person organise a spot for them to stand ahead of time so you don't waste energy looking for them round every corner. If they are supporting from home, all they need to do is download the fully loaded London Marathon App


    What you can't do

    Mess about with numbers. 

    This might sound like common sense but it's worth pointing out again, you can't do any of the following - 

    • Run wearing someone else’s number.
    • Run without a number.
    • Hide your number.
    • Allow someone else to run with your number.
    • Make a fake number.

    (Don't be like the woman on the right holding your tshirt up for 26.2 miles...)

    The guys at London Marathon are really strict about any number funny business and you could be banned from all further London Marathon events for up to five years. It just ain't worth it folks.

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    Sneak into a faster start zone

    When you first get into your start pen and look around at the hundreds of runners all around you, it can feel like you will never be able to get up to running speed. Despite this sensation it's really important that you don't try and work your way into a 'faster' zone, though you are free to move back to a slower start pen.

    Really don't worry about it as your time will only start when your chip crosses the line, regardless of which pen you are in and you'll have plenty of time to make up for a slower start.

    Relieve your self anywhere other than a toilet

    We've all been there, desperate for a wee and not a portaloo in sight. However this isn't trail running and it's not acceptable to find a bush just off the course to go behind, instead the guys at LDN Marathon are very insistent you use the portaloos provided.

    Ditch bottles of water on the road

    Talking of ditching liquids on the course, this year the organisers are asking all runners to empty out their water bottles before discarding them. There are two really good reasons for this, the first is that it makes it 1000 times easier to recycle the plastic bottles and the second is that stops other runners tripping over. 


    That's it folks everything you need to know about London Marathon. Best of luck and enjoy what is one of the most enjoyable and fun races anywhere in the world. Be sure to tag us in any posts - we'd love to see how it's going!