Gfa vlm 2019 - what’s the start like?

hi all,

I've got a gfa place for next year (chuffed). Now, am wondering if it’s worth going all out training wise, I’d eventually like to do 3.20. For a time like that, I would be really in need of it all coming together nicely.

Would it be too crowded around that pace to run a pb? I’m aware it’s not super fast, but would be fast for me. Or does it help having a gfa start? 


  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    you'd probably be in pen 2. It is crowded and more so if on green start. People pb at London all the time though. I'd guess you'd have a better chance somewhere like Manchester.

    I've done London 4 times and Pbd each time (though one was my first mara). 
  • Ah cool. What kind of times did you manage? Wondering if congestion is worse at different paces - or if it’s worth just enjoying experience and toddling around slowly v shooting for a pb ...

  • Christine, first of all well done, GFA is quite an achievement (especially since last year!), The Green GFA start isn't as busy as the other start lines, but it is still busy for the first couple of miles. Will you get held up - maybe for those first 3 miles. Will this stop you getting the time you're looking for - definitely not. Ok so you're kind of held up for the first mile or so, but after that it opens up and you'll easily be able to catch this up. It may even help you to set off at an easy pace. At 3:20-ish pace, you will have plenty of space and your time will not be compromised by crowds of people, you'll be ahead of most of them. If you were on 4-hour pace, then it might be a different story, but you'll be absolutely fine.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    I have run 3.18, 3.08 and 3.04 in London. I don't recall it being any less crowded in the 3.04 area than the 3.18.

    My first mile in London is always a good 20 seconds off target. No point wasting the energy fighting the crowds.

  • Sol2Sol2 ✭✭✭
    Don't worry about it - a slower first few miles will only pay you dividends 20 miles on
  • Great! thanks for all your responses, Sol2, DT1999 & rodeoflip. Really helpful to know.

    I've been a bit like a metronome in the 2 marathons i've run - within a few seconds every km. So the starting fast has not been an issue. the marathon i did in denmark was totally dead for the second half (2 loops, of a half marathon course). i barely saw a spectator or another runner! London will be a contrast :) 
  • Hello! I've done London 6 times in times ranging from 2:52 to 3:39 and the most annoying pace to be running in terms of crowds was marginal sub 3-hour pace because there were a lot of people chasing that time. When I was a fair bit faster than sub 3 it was gloriously clear and you could run on the blue line all the way, but pacing a friend at 3:30 pace (we revised it after half way as that seemed sensible and still got her a GFA) was also fine - I was able to run in a little group with all my mates and we were pretty much on our target pace the whole way. 3:20 should be fine too once you're away from the start, because I don't think it's a major 'round number' goal.
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