Everything you need to know about the London Marathon 2021

It's almost time for this year's London Marathon - here's our handy guide with everything you need to know ...

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 2:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 3:32 pm

When is the London Marathon 2021? The Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday, October 3.

What time do the races start? The mass participation London Marathon start time is usually at 9.30am, the same time as the Elite Men's Race. This normally follows the Elite Wheelchair Races from 8.30am, World Para Athletics Marathon Championships Ambulant Athletes from 8.45am and the Elite Women's Race from 8.55am.

What is the route? The race starts in Blackheath and passes through Greenwich before crossing the Thames over the Tower Bridge. It continues through central London, winding around the buildings of Canary Wharf and along Victoria Embankment before finishing on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

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Runners taking part in a previous London Marathon

How do I take part? If you are taking part this year or planning to in the future this comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need.

How much sponsorship do you need to run the London Marathon? Charities have to pay for the places, so bear in mind you'll be required to bring in a fairly large amount of sponsorship money if you are given a place – £2,000 is typical. This will probably not be a voluntary target, which means you'll be asked to make up any shortfall yourself.

How many people take part? More than 40,000 people run the 26.2-mile marathon through the streets of London. Some run for personal achievement, some to raise money for their favourite charity, and many run in fancy dress. Anything goes!

How long does it take to complete? A common goal is to complete a marathon in a sub 4-hour time. The average time in this category can range between 3:30 – 4:10 for men and 3:50 – 4:20 for women. It all depends on a runner's fitness and it doesn't matter if it takes all day to complete.

Do runners get a medal? Yes everyone who completes the course gets a medal and a finishers t-shirt.

Can I watch it on television? The race will be live on the BBC from 8am. The BBC has broadcast live coverage of the London Marathon since its inception in 1981.

Can I just turn up and watch the race in London? This is the official line from the sponsors ... If you do watch in person, please avoid gathering in large numbers and, if an area is busy, please find another place to watch the event. This year we are encouraging everyone to support the Virgin Money London Marathon by watching the BBC’s live coverage of the event on television.

Was there a London Marathon last year? The 2020 London Marathon was the 40th running of the annual marathon race which took place on 4 October 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race was postponed from 26 April and only allowed elite participants; the mass participation event was cancelled.

Are there any extra precautions this year because of Covid? In short, yes. Here is a guide to the precautions for this year's event.