London Marathon 2014 tips and experiences.

I am running London this year. It is my fourth marathon but by far the biggest and most daunting! I wondered if people would be happy to share any tips and experiences about the event?Eg Toilets....availability, queues, when to time your queuing etc  Also I usually run with an i pod. I will be running for up to 5.5hrs so it helps keep me going. But from what I have heard the atmosphere and support at London is so good it is best not to run with music. What do others feel?

I would love to hear peoples stories, tips etc.

Thank you!




  • Last year they had she wees - a bit odd at first but no queueing so worth the weirdness of a load of bare bums. Dont even consider an ipod that would be such a waste

  • StiltsStilts ✭✭✭

    Hi Lily, VLM is really just like any other race just on a much bigger scale.  Only runners can go into the start area, then you drop off your bag and queue for the toilet - there are loads of toilets and loads of queues.  If you're used to having your iPod take it, you can always take out the headphones but it's there if you want it or want a break from the crowds - be prepared to be surrounded by huge crowds every inch of the way, I found it a little overwhelming and this year will have iPod and sunnies so I can withdraw from it a little if I feel the need.  Good luck and enjoy image

  • Lily London will be wall to wall support enjoy it. If you’ve done marathons before you know the score but for anyone lurking don’t set off to quick. A lot of people will leave the start line like a heard of wildebeest. Don’t let yourself get court up with them or after a few miles you’re going to be knackered.


    The exbo to pick up your number beforehand is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. Allow yourself a few hours to walk through it if you want. Will be lots of shiny things there and a few freebee’s.


    For toilets on the day they have a few before and on the route but won’t be enough, frankly it’s impossible to have enough toliets at an event like this. Don’t be afraid to burst into McDonalds or something to use the loo if you have to all the business’s on the course will know the score and most of them will be fully supportive of the race it’s in their own best interest to be.


    I’d make sure you know which tube you need to get there and give yourself plenty of time in the morning. Depending on your start pen and where you’re travelling from could be a mile and a half walking and it’s going to be very busy. Once you’ve finished there are a few pubs past horse guards you can get a drink from but all will be busy so if your meeting family or friends I’d meet them at horse guards if you can. Getting home can be a pain depending on what tube lines you need to give yourself plenty of time and give yourself plenty of time after the race to soak up the atmosphere. All races are special but this one is a party. Enjoy it. image

  • Hi lily

    Be prepared for lots of discarded bottles, jumpers, food wrappers, banana skins on ground for lot of the route - it was an absolute obstacle course last year!!
  • The energy gel that the St John's Ambulance people hold out is really good.

  • image Bad bad bad man. I've fallen for this myself. St Johns will hold out handfuls of vasaline. Don't eat it.

  • But if you do run out of vaseline, a handful of energy gel down the shorts works just fine.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    At least you won't get chapped lips.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Cheerful Dave wrote (see)

    But if you do run out of vaseline, a handful of energy gel down the shorts works just fine.

    Does this also work the other way round?


  • Millsy try it and find out?

  • SlowkoalaSlowkoala ✭✭✭

    I did London last year as my first marathon and loved it! I started at the green start which I think is much less crowded so the queues for the loos and baggage was not an issue. The crowds are very supportive but I agree a bit overwhelming sometimes so I did use my ipod at times. There's a bit around the twenty something mark where the Garmin receptions go and so I had no idea what my pace was. But it came back after about half a mile. I'd say think now about what you'll wear and have a couple of options. Last year was a bright sunny day (not unlike today) and was much warmer than all my long runs in training. So glad I opted for shorts at the last minute. Best tip is to enjoy it and soak in everything! And smile for the picture at the end - I felt a bit tearful when I finished and look so grumpy in all the pics!

  • SlowkoalaSlowkoala ✭✭✭

    I thought the Vaseline was ice and took a huge dollop! 

  • Bear's annual tips

    1 Don't put all your stuff in the kit bag provided and lug it to the start.  It gets heavy and uncomfortable very quickly.  Instead put kit bag in rucksack or sports bag and at the start get your gear sorted then place rucksack/bag into kit bag.

    2 Go right along the platform to where the front of the train will be.  It gets much less crowded and you might even grab a seat. 

  • That's a top tip from Bear about the kit bag.

    I agree with Stilts about the iPod and the sunglasses too. Take both with you in case you need to zone out for a while. It can be a bit relentless, especially if you hit a bad patch.

    Make sure you pack a salty snack in your bag for after the race. Crisps are good.

    Keep an eye out for the course showers - they are bliss!

  • Some of these tips are completely alien to me . Heavy kit bags??? My top tip would be not to drink water two hours before the start and don't worry that everyone else seems to be doing just that. Otherwise your time at the start will be spent in one long toilet queue. 

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭

    buy a cheap pack-a-mac type thing from the pound shop just in case it is raining. Then just chuck it away when are race starts. 

  • Don't worry if you seem to be going unfeasibly fast or slow in the Canary Wharf area. The tall buildings around there may mess with your Garmin signal. It'll sort itself out once you're past that bit.

  • When you finish it will be impossible to contact anyone in the area via mobile as the system is overloaded. So prearrange a meeting point. Or as an alternative have someone at home on a landline who you can call and get them to call who ever you are trying to make contact with and the they can call you back. This has worked for me when I haven't been able to get through to find my family at the finish.

    Think about getting your name put on the front of your t-shirt so spectators can shout out your name.



  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Try to avoid listening to the popular '60s hit "Keep on Running" by the Spencer Davis Group between now and mid April.  On April 13th you'll get a year's worth.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Apologies if that last tip backfires somewhat.  I can't get it out of my bloody head now!

  • Make sure you have your name on your t-shirt - the crowd support is amazing.  There are loads of toilets, so the queues move quickly.  Sit down in the start area and rest your legs as much as possible before you have to go to your start pen. Take a pair of flip flops to put on afterwards. Your kit bag will feel really heavy after the race, so pack light. Maybe have a protein milkshake in your kit to drink as soon as you finish.



    Philomena Cunk wrote (see)

    Some of these tips are completely alien to me . Heavy kit bags??? My top tip would be not to drink water two hours before the start and don't worry that everyone else seems to be doing just that. Otherwise your time at the start will be spent in one long toilet queue. 

    Not so much heavy as awkward. A big plastic bag with a cord is not as easy to carry as a rucksack.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Also, Ms Cunk is not a genuine lady, and therefore probably has less crap to carry around anyway.  image

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    She probably doesn't have to queue quite as long to have a wee either, as she can just use the gents' urinals.

  • marrowsmarrows ✭✭✭

    yes but she must find it awkward with the greenwich meridian cluttering up her middle parts

  • True Phil and true Kate. What do you need in the kit bag anyway. You will be wearing the clothes you put in it and food and drink will be given out at the end. Shouldn't weigh hardly anything. 

    I've spent ages in the past waiting to meet up with people and walking miles to get a lift in a car but the last time I just jumped on the tube at Charing Cross and was in the bath 30 minutes later with a cold glass of Champagne. Catch with everyone down the pub later.


  • imageimage You been watching weekly wipe to much lately?

    PhilPub wrote (see)

    Apologies if that last tip backfires somewhat.  I can't get it out of my bloody head now!

    image I can't get it out of my head now. Dam you sir dam you to scumthroupe! image

  • It was either that or Barry Shitpeas Cakeimage

  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭

    Only run one marathon (London last year), but second the name on the shirt thing. I couldn't believe the support from the crowds all the way round, I was struggling big-style towards the end and wouldn't have finished without this. The fact that you can hear your name being shouted somehow means so much more than a general "c'mon".

    Re the ipod, there are big sections of the course where you wouldn't be able to hear it anyway, the crowds are so vocal!


  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    What I liked the most about having my name on my vest was how irritating it must have been for all the blokes running alongside me (nameless) between about miles 18 and 24 to hear COME ON KATIE over and over again. image

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