Im faster then time I put on Londn Marathon form, will I get penned in at start

I put 5 hours on my London Marathon form application but after all the training and my times im hoping for a time more 4 hours to 4.20, im worried Ill get penned in at the start and lose valuable minutes walking or being  penned in first few miles. Will this happen.


  • Yes.

    If you want to run a fast, unimpeded one, you should do a different one.  The only way you get a clear run in London is if you are on the Championship or fast Good for Age starts.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Mark, if you're confident you're in better shape now you can request a pen upgrade at the Expo.  I did this in 2007 and got upgraded from pen 4 to pen 2.  There will still be traffic wherever you're starting from but it will help.

    BUT you will probably need to take along evidence of a recent race time to back up your story, e.g. if you've completed a half marathon within the last couple of months in 1:50 or so.

  • OK thanks for that will do.
  • Obviously Phil is being a bit more helpful than me there.

    Trying to be a bit more positive: 1) you should expect some congestion and expect to run certainly the first 2-3 miles slower than you might like and 2) it's easy to burn more energy than you think side-stepping and getting frustrated.  Even in front pens, you'll still get people walking 6-abreast in front of you.  Try and be patient, and think of it as energy that you'll be able to make better use of later.

    Phil is of course quite right that it's possible to change and it sounds like you should.

  • I think I'm right in thinking that 3.45-4.15 is peak finishing time so I'm afraid you're probably going to get quite a lot of congestion most of the way round. 

  • Ive called them and they cnat do anything they said.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    I still think it's worth asking at the Expo.  It can't hurt, and it's a lot easier to appeal to an individual face to face than a jobsworth over the phone. They can only say no again.  image
  • For what it's worth - I started at London in 2008 and in 2009 with similar fitness levels. I had a much better , and more enjoyable run resulting in a faster time off the blue start in 2008 than off the green start in 2009 - I lost a reasonable amount of time off my planned pace  in the first 3 miles in 2008 due to the congestion at the start but made it up gradually over the next 7 or so miles . Off green there was no congestion .... I went off too fast and suffered for the last half of the race... I am sure the crowds on blue helped me to a better time image.

  • Is it too late to tie up with the runners world pace makers????
  • Nope just look for them on the day.

    For the OP

    On the blue start two years ago, they took the marshalls out of the pens with a few mins to go and people just advance about four pens forward anyway.

  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭

    Some people exaggerate the congestion and blame it for a poor result. there's no congestion on the embankment where you will just need your guts!

  • I ran 3.40 from pen 6 on my first London marathon. I think I put about 5 hours down as I had no idea. I don't think you'll have a problem really.
    Starting slower is a good idea anyway.
  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    The first 2-3 miles will be slower due to congestion but don't panic and put in a couple of fast miles to make up. Just take 5-10 sec off your planned pace and take it steady and you will pick up the time. Run an even pace and you will start to overtake lots of people in the last 6 miles (hopefully!)- that always gives me a psychological boost.
  • In 2002 (last and only other mara) I managed to go to the loo come back and found everyone had moved forward and I ended up in the same pen as the fancy dress rhinos and folk chained together etc.  I still managed 3.52 even though the first 6 miles were unspeakably slow. I ran a blinder of a half marathon up to 19 miles and struggled after that but still well under the 4 hour mark I planned.
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