Is VLM really a "great" marathon?

Just musing really as it seems to be the Holy Grail of marathons for some people and  want to know, is it really "worth it"? (as in getting a Charity place). 


  • Ran it last year, great experience, but no better than edinburgh was.

  • Sorry but I think it is.

  • I don't think it is - I wouldn't do it again. 

    I think the fact that it is so hard to get a place makes it seem much more desirable - people tend to value something which is hard to obtain.

  • Think ts a great day out, good fun, amazing support,

    But a great marathon? probably not - too many people to allow many to run well, course (if you took away crowds) is actually not that great and getting away at end can be difficult. On other hand great organisation, very slick.

    So a great event but not a purist great marathon IMO

  • Are there many PBs set at London? It's not too hilly, but then there are 40,000 other runners to get in your way, so not sure how that racks up against others, e.g. Berlin which seems to be a PB favourite for some.

  • Lots of PBs set at Berlin and London (roughly same numbers of runners take part in both)

    No significant "hills" in london. Main challenge is coping with the crowds, starting in right place and not getting carried away.

  • Definitely worth it. Being one of the 5 World Majors makes it pretty special for a start. The crowds are fantastic and the organisation is second to none. Obviously whether you get stuck in amongst too many other runners and the issue of getting away at the end depends on your starting position/time. I have done it 6 out of the last 7 years. The course is pretty flat and you pass by many of the sights. Turning the corner and seeing the support on Tower Bridge is pretty special as well as the finish in the Mall 

  • although it was my first one and very hard work, even taking that into account, i didnt really like it. Everyone told me that the atmosphere was great and i would love it but i didnt. Too flat and it all looked the same in the end apart from the last couple of miles. wish i'd taken my ipod.

  • runnersbeen wrote (see)

    Sorry but I think it is.

    Sorry - for what? having an opinion?

  • I really enjoyed it. I wouldn't like to do the big city overcrowded ones every week but every few years for the atmosphere then why not.
  • its a great day out yes and something every runner should do

    But and dont get me wrong its been taken over by Charities and people who are walking around to claim they have done London. I am looking at doing Loch Ness next

  • Put in a London application for old times sake but got rejected.

    To be honest apart from elites it turned into a charity parade not a lot to do with running anymore

  • London is fabulous. The atmosphere makes it fabulous - say what you will about the crowds, the walkers, the crappy bits through Docklands - the atmosphere makes it fabulous.

  • I agree, the atmosphere along the ENTIRE route makes the VLM the ultimate, fun marathon you will ever take part in! I think everyone should experience it.

    Yes it's crowded and full of charity runners, but what's wrong with that?

    So many people each running for a cause very close to their hearts.

    Camaraderie is outstanding!
  • Definitely! I can't imagine there are many other marathons with such fantastic support - the VLM is pretty much a 26.2 mile party, the atmosphere is incredible.


    Of course it has been overtaken by charities and so-called celebs and plenty of people do it who are undertrained etc etc. BUT, if I had the chance I would do it again every year. For me a race isn't necessarily about getting a PB.

  • Popped an entry in this year - first time - and got accepted! Much the shame I also entered the 2nd Marathon of the North which is the Saturday after lol. Ahhh well. Won't be chasing a PB in either (Will be my 2nd and 3rd mara's) but will be a great week!

  • can imagine it is similar to the GNR which I enjoy doing as a "fun run" but truly cannot imagine going all out trying to get a PB there, too much hard work forcing your way past people.  Is London the same?  If you are a mid paced runner, are you constantly having to overtake a lot of walkers etc?  

  • If you're a slow runner, you're constantly having to overtake a lot of walkers. From what I've heard of the GNR, it's very similar.

  • Way better than GNR as pb potential, IMO.

    I love VLM as an event and as a race, but if I had to pick one marathon to do again, it would have to be Boston.

  • I don't fancy London. Have done a couple of quiet marathons and much prefer nipping behind a bush for a quick pee than queuing up for ages to hover uncomfortably in a portaloo where someone's already managed to crap on the seat!

    Did Loch Ness for the second time last weekend, and it was fab!

    Though I suppose it depends if you're a runner who enjoys massive support from the crowds or actively dislikes it. I much prefer running round a quiet course with one or two bubbles of support. Really don't fancy being shouted at for 26 miles...

  • I loved running New York alot more than London. Far too busy in London to run properly. New York has a really good vibe before, during and after in the city. Choice between london and NY, NY wins by miles.

    London has got really good organisation, good crowds. Alot more charity runners doing crazy things. Get charity runners in NY but it seems dont get the charity carrying fridges etc. 

  • Yes i would say it's a great marathon & certainly second to none for atmosphere.Plus points for me is the build up to the event, staying in London on a mini break, the Expo & making your way to the start with thousands of others.Negatives would be that too many seem to be using it has a  "be seen" event rather than a running event & the course is a bit drab, in large parts but all in all it's something special.

  • I would love to run London, but have also found so many others. I have just been rejected for a second time from VLM. Last year I ran Manchester which was my first marathon but still a marathon. On more than one occasion I was asked, is it as long as Londonimage grr, could not believe it! I am now deciding between the Marathon of the North or Brathay Windermere for my 2013 marathon. I would appreciate any feedback from forum members who have run either of these, thanks!image

  • I have done 10 marathons so far

    London Marathon x 3
    Edinburgh Marathon
    Paris Marathon
    Robin Hood Marathon
    Barcelona Marathon
    Shakespeare Marathon
    Liverpool Marathon
    Chester Marathon

    In order i will put them as

    Paris - Loved the city and course, champs elysees, Eiffel Tower etc.

    London - Loved the atmosphere, tower bridge and mall. - did set a PB here at one time

    Barcelona (Was ill on this marathon so hard to remember the great sites on route)

    Chester (PB here) - (Did this sunday, great organisation, course etc)

    Liverpool - Good course, loved running through tunnel, Sefton park seemed to go on forever - did set a PB here at one time)

    Shakespeare (Shakespeare being two laps puts it at bottom for me but would still recommend -  - did set a PB here at one time)

    Robin Hood (Great first half through city but didnt like the lake - did set a PB here at one time)

    Edinburgh (Had a nightmare on this my fault but went off to fast and didnt like the out and back when i had blown up, seeing for miles ahead and no site of turning round plus not really run in Edinburgh you are straight out of the city)

    I'm not too bothered about crowds etc but i love running through citys than country roads but to be honest i like to run any marathon.

Sign In or Register to comment.