Walking the London Marathon - is it feasible?

I have just had my place confirmed for VLM next year, deferred from last year as I suffer from plantar fasciitis. Although my condition is much improved it would be against the advice of my doctor and podiatrist to do any form of running ever again. Instead I've taken up cycling. However....

I used to be a keen runner, clocking up a couple of half marathons every year and after 5 years applying through the ballot for the London Marathon and not getting picked I was granted a marathon place in 2005. I finished in just over 5 hours, and enjoyed it, but (daft as it may sound) I don't really remember much of the actual run/sights etc. So I'd always hoped to do it again, to take it all in.

So I applied again, 5 years in a row through the ballot, and didn't get picked, therefore had a guaranteed place for 2011. I started training very gently and in good time (as I knew I would get a place and had had a break from running after having 2 kids) and within a couple of months could hardly walk because of plantar fasciitis. Therefore I deferred my entry but I now know that I can't run again.

I accept what my doctor says but now the acceptance magazine has dropped through
my door I can't help thinking that after 10 years of rejections I'm so lucky to have a place that I just can't turn it down. So I wondered if I could walk it? I feel it would be my last chance and I'd really be able to savour the atmosphere. Also I could wear a daft costume and try to raise as much money for charity as I could which i feel is a lost of what the London Marathon is all about.

Does anyone have any experience in walking a marathon? Or any thoughts generally on the idea? I appreciate I will need to train for it and my feet may not let me finish, but I want to try.

Many thanks


  • If you train hard then there is no reason why you can't walk it in 5 hrs.

    Of course, if you just want to take it easy and stroll, then it will take you longer. You still need to train to walk 26.2 miles.

    My feeling is, if you can't run it then you may very well not be able to walk it either but see how it goes. Plenty of people walk it, silly costume or no.

  • Can. Of. Worms.
  •  Have to disagree about walking it in 5hrs more like 6hrs,if you want to walk it,then walk it. Loads of people walk it every year.
  • @ Kity, thank you. I'm not sure if I'll manage it either, but some people don't even try. When I deferred the entry this year I was very hopeful that I would run it next year, but I now know that's not an option.

    @Johnny - can't see why? It's just an honest post and I'd appreciate useful, constructive and reasoned comments whether people are for or against. I've applied 10 years through the ballot when I've been capable of running it as injury free, and finally I get a place but can't run because of injury. I'm just trying to keep my hopes up that I could participate in it again as it's such a great event. But if you'd said it's a ridiculous idea because of a, b, c etc then that would be more helpful.
  • @LoftusRR thanks. I'd never really thought about lots of people walking it as any friends and family who've done it were all runners (and aiming sub 4!). I will try and have a look on the VLM website to get an idea of times. I'd googled the idea and the sites I'd found seemed quite negative about walking, mainly based on problem of finish lines and spectators being long gone. But perhaps London is a good choice of marathon to walk as this is less likely to be an issue.
  •   I can assure you,you will not be last.Not even in the last 800 unless your looking at 8hrs plus.Don't worry about other people,VLM website will tow the party line,London is definitely suited for you.Good luck with whatever you decided to do.
  • Plenty of people walk it.  I'd stil train for it though. Having a bad day in London shouldnt be the experience  you go with.

    Good luck. 

  • definitely train for it...

    have you tried a different doctor for advice.................did you see a physio to give you exercises to sort out the PF................unless the experts are sports people then they often just write running off without good reason.............but there again maybe they are sports specialised and you are unlucky...........

    good luck and i hope you manage it without pain.........see you there

  • If I were you I'd get a second opinion about the PF. Are your doctor and podiatrist sports specialists? How closely have they looked into what the cause is? Although it sounds like you have had a bad case, it seems a bit defeatist just to tell you never to run again. The causes can come from all sorts of posture, gait and lifestyle factors.
  • Cross post image !
  • Hi MrsPB, 

    First the marathon - walking will take you 6-8 hours and you will most certainly not be the last finisher. You will need to train for it just as if you were running it - bear this in mind with your PF though, it is probably going to be pretty sore after longer walks.  

    Seren and RR are right though, you need to see a different podiatrist or physiotherapist -  the opinion you were given is pretty defeatist - just because they can't help you it doesn't mean someone else can.

    You CAN recover. I had PF in my left foot for 9 months and despaired of ever running again, then I had custom orthotics made by a podiatrist (I was NEVER advised not to run). This sorted out the problem for seven or eight months until it came back in my right. That time I discovered and tried trigger point  therapy and it was gone in three. It has never returned in either foot. 

  • Can't you just join in in some parade somewhere and walk that?
  • Ofcourse it is feasible, people are even known to run the whole thing... the main question is, would it be a waste of an entry? The arguments to that are, its a place someone who would be training hard to run it could have. The flip side is you can't transfer it to anyone else so it doesn't matter now anyway and plenty of people will be travelling even slower than walking pace... if you have a place and want to be there then go and do it. You wont be last by a long was providing you maintain any form of leg movement for the duration.

    I do agree with previous posts, get to a sports specialist and get your injury sorted or at least a solid 2nd opinion. You could always grab a pair of theses bad boys and run it! http://www.hokaoneone.com/en/technology.html image

  • No you will turn into stone at 18 miles
  • I have a friend who can't run (due to a car accident) but she does the speed walk thing and was gutted to finish London in just over 5 hours - she had been aiming for under 5.  You should be fine as long as you don't intend to stroll it!
  • Why can't she stroll it?
  • It's your place and down to you how you get from point A to B 26.2 miles later
    Some will argue that a run/walk strategy is wrong as the whole point of a Marathon is to run it
    My personal view is a Marathon is a personal challenge and in the end if you are happy that's all that counts Run,Walk or Crawl
  • You are entitled to that opinion Warkie. I hold the opinion that if you walk you should be forced to drop out. Unfortunately the organisers go along with your opinion.
  • then organise your own race Sussex runner ..........your organise.you set the rules............but as you ain't the organiser..........tough titties
  • You could cut and paste that comment for any post anywhere that doesn't agree with how anything is organised. I used the word opinion twice and pointed out the organisers didn't agree with me. That points to some sort of acceptance of the toughness of the titties.
  • image.sorry........... hadn't heard the phrase for so many years that it jumped into my headimage
  • Any phrase with titties in it is good for me. I was brought up on Carry On films
  • I'm convinced that some charities (Walkthewalk being the main one that sticks in my mind) have a number charity places for people who are intending to power walk the Virgin London Marathon. Perhaps you could see if they have any free training plans for walkers on their website?

    Good luck, and don't let the PF get you down!


  • Walk the walk? What a fcuking joke.

    Good luck for the OP to get rid of the PF so she can try and run it..

  • Simon Coombes 2 wrote (see)

    Walk the walk? What a fcuking joke.

    Walkthewalk in general or them having charity places in VLM? image

    I was suprised they would bother taking charity places in the marathon because they have their own events but apparently they do have for London and New York *shrugs*

  • Personally I wouldn't trust a Doctor as far as I could throw him.

    UNLESS he has run a marathon himself.

    Plantar Fasciitis is an absolute pig!!

    find a really good physio.

    Stretching really is the key to this complaint and physios are only just starting to understand why.
  • Hi Mrs PB.  I trained to walk/run the FLM in 2006 - more emphasis on the walking!  I got injured but did it anyway - walked most of it.  Including stopping to get my blisters dressed 3 times I got round in 6hrs 55. My husband and I raised over £4k between us for Guide Dogs which meant a lot as I have a degenerative eye condition. (Hubby ran it - we passed just as I got over Tower Bridge, had a kiss over the barrier and went our separate ways! He went back to the Hotel, showered and changed while I did another 13 miles!).  Like you I kept applying because I wanted to do better.  Then I heard that the 5 yr rejection system was being scrapped so I was gobsmacked to get an acceptance mag through the post last week! Downside - I've done no running for a year or so due to persistent niggling calf injury, and I fell off my horse 9 wks ago and landed on my hip - still slightly lame. None the less I've started training - up to a couple of miles with the dog, brisk walking with a very slow trot of a few hundred yards thrown in just to see if I could. So far so good.  I'd love to "get round" next year, I'll be 50 on the 12th April and it would be one hell of a way to celebrate being ancient!  I'd also like to try to raise some money for St Paul's Eye Unit at Liverpool, because without two corneal transplants done by them I'd have lost my sight.  Being sensible, if I'm not up to a minimum of 10 miles by Christmas I'll defer, but I'm sure with steady training, albeit mostly in walk I'll get round in 6 hours or so.  Go for it, I am!! image

  • xine267 wrote (see)
    Simon Coombes 2 wrote (see)

    Walk the walk? What a fcuking joke.

    Walkthewalk in general or them having charity places in VLM? image

    I was suprised they would bother taking charity places in the marathon because they have their own events but apparently they do have for London and New York *shrugs*

    oh i'm well in support of sponsored walking events....not planned walking in big races with lots of demand.

     The local church 5k - no problem...

  • I'm liking what you are saying Simon.

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