This weekend will see the return of the inimitable London Marathon – an annual event that is a firm and unwavering part of the London calendar almost akin to Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Though it may change shape over the years (be it in terms of sponsorship or by numbers of people taking part) it is always a great, unique spectacle, and is definitely a social activity which you won’t want to miss if you happen to be in town this weekend. Odds are, you can’t miss it anyway, as the 26-mile race will speed past most of London’s major landmarks before hitting the finishing line on The Mall in Westminster.
This spring will see the 34th London marathon, which for the past few years has been sponsored by Virgin Money and its iconic red-and-white coloured branding. UK’s favourite Olympic athlete Mo Farah will be headlining the event despite reported health concerns, as thousands of onlookers are expected to line the streets with baited breath. The London Marathon is considered to be one of the top five marathons in the world, and its participants have managed to raise almost GBP 500 million since the inception of the games for various charities.
So without any further ado, let’s have look at some of the best spots to celebrate this unforgettable London sporting event:
This is where the event kicks off, so there will plenty of activity from the wee morning hours to pick up here. You might be lucky enough to get a decent vantage point from up on the hill but with security measures being stringent it’s really all a gamble. A festive atmosphere, however, is bound to ensue, so as long as you prepare to expect the unexpected you’ll have a good time and will hopefully get to see some real sporting legends among the competitors.
Good old Limehouse may be a sleepy residential haven during most days of the year, but it will be pumping with lots of marathon activity this weekend. With a few pubs like the age-old “Grapes” and Gordon Ramsey’s “The Narrow” to choose from for a respite, you can make sure to keep the social lubricants flowing while the athletes along the route can worry about their joints. It is bound to get busy and noisy around the area with a true neighbourhood atmosphere permeating the air, where you won’t be the only party looking to spend quality time with friends old and new. So make sure you plan ahead when and where to meet with your group, as you might else never get to find them.
Not far from Limehouse you’ll be able to pick up on all the sports drama and action in the heart of London’s business centre Canary Wharf, as the athletes prepare to rush past the urban utopia of London’s skyscraper landscape halfway to their finishing line. All commerce comes pretty much to a halt here, as shop owners rush out to catch a glimpse of the action for themselves while other revellers cheer on with enthusiasm. From here on, participants in the race will still have to do a full run around the Isle of Dogs before heading in the general direction of central London for the final countdown.
Along the Victoria Embankment near Blackfriars Station, the runners will start to emerge out of a short tunnel, which of course makes for some dramatic visuals to take in, especially set against the beauty of a rather tidal River Thames. Many of the excited onlookers choose to come here to cheer on as the participants prepare to sprint through the final mile of their exhausting journeys on the marathon. It is certainly a perfect location to come to root for your friend or colleague who might be competing in the race, as they prepare for that final push before the finishing line.
This is where the journey ends. This is what all the blood, sweat and tears and the weeks of training have amounted to, and where every partaker can celebrate his or her victory. It’s a glorious location for a glorious ending.
The truth is that there are no losers at the London Marathon, as everyone competes against their own limits and has to battle with their own demons. So while you might be there as an onlooker this year, why not consider coming back and running the marathon yourself next year? You’ll be surprised at how much you can push your limits.