In Depth

2019 London Marathon: route map, elite and celebrity runners, where to watch, race app, TV

Can Team GB star Mo Farah win the elite men’s race in London on Sunday?

2019 Virgin Money London Marathon
  • When: Sunday 28 April 
  • TV channel: live on BBC
  • Official website: virginmoneylondonmarathon.com
  • Start times: 9.05am elite wheelchair athletes; 9.10am World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup; 9.25am elite women; 10.10am elite men followed by the mass start

Team GB athletics icon Mo Farah will return to the streets of the capital on Sunday when he competes at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

The 36-year-old, a four-time Olympic gold medallist on the track, finished third in the 2018 race. After setting a new European record with his first marathon victory in Chicago last year Farah was delighted to confirm he will return to London.

He said: “I’ve often said how racing in London is very special to me and the London Marathon gives me the chance to run in front of my fans, on my home roads, where the atmosphere is like nothing else.”

Farah will be joined in the elite men’s field by world record holder Eliud Kipchoge. The Kenyan is unbeaten in three London Marathons and won last year’s race in a time of 02:04:17. Kenya’s Tola Shura Kitata, who finished second in 2018, will also return this year.

Cheruiyot is ready

In the elite women’s race defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot and New York City Marathon champion Mary Keitany will lead a high-class field.

They will be joined by 2018 Berlin Marathon winner Gladys Cherono and 2018 Chicago Marathon winner Brigid Kosgei.

Cheruiyot said: “It was a great moment for me winning last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon and I am very much looking forward to returning in April.

“The line-up for this year’s race is, once again, incredibly strong so I know I will need to be at my very best to repeat last year’s victory but it is a challenge that I’m really looking forward to. I will be ready.”

The BBC reports that Britain’s David Weir, an eight-time winner of the wheelchair race at the London Marathon, will compete for the 20th consecutive year in April.

2018 results
  • 2018 elite men’s podium: 1st Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) 02:04:17; 2nd Tola Shura Kitata (Ethiopia) 02:04:49; 3rd Mo Farah (Great Britain) 02:06:21 
  • 2018 elite women’s podium: 1st Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya) 02:18:31; 2nd Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) 02:20:13; 3rd Tadelech Bekele (Ethiopia) 02:21:40
Celebrity runners and famous faces

London Marathon organisers have announced that a number of celebrities, sportsmen and sportswomen will run the 26.2-mile route this weekend.

Eight actors from BBC soap EastEnders will form “Barbara’s Revolutionaries” and run for their former cast member Dame Barbara Windsor. They will raise money for Dementia Revolution - the official charity of the year of the 2019 London Marathon.

Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell will be joined by EastEnders cast members Emma Barton, Jamie Borthwick, Natalie Cassidy, Tanya Franks, Kellie Shirley, Jane Slaughter, Jake Wood and Adam Woodyatt.

Among the many sports stars joining the 42,000 field are French tennis star and 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo, Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Dani Rowe, former England international footballer Katy Chapman and rugby league legend Jamie Peacock.

Other famous faces set to tackle the marathon are radio host Chris Evans, TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher, Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown, comedian Ed Gamble and BBC Radio 1 presenter Cel Spellman.

Murray to be the official starter

It has been confirmed that British tennis star Andy Murray will be the official starter of the event.

The 31-year-old, who is currently recovering from hip surgery, said: “It’s an honour to be asked to start the London Marathon. It’s such an amazing race that means so much to so many people. It raises millions each year for charity and helps inspire people to get active. I have nothing but admiration for everyone who runs - I may even run it myself one day.”

Hugh Brasher, event director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, added: “Andy Murray is one of Britain’s greatest sporting superstars and it is so fitting that he will be the official starter for one of the country’s greatest sporting events and the world’s greatest marathon.

“Andy is renowned as one of the toughest and most competitive sportsmen on the planet and someone who does not recognise barriers in sport.

“We are delighted that he will be with us on Sunday 28 April to start the field of 42,000 runners undertaking the legendary 26.2 mile challenge – including both the very best marathon runners in the world and thousands of first-timers who have been inspired to get active and raise money for charity.”

2019 London Marathon route and race guide

More than 40,000 runners will join the elite athletes in London. We look at the start times, the route maps, spectator information, where to watch and which TV channel will broadcast the race. Here’s everything you need to know... 

What time does the London Marathon start?

Elite wheelchair athletes set off first at 9.05am, followed by the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races at 9.10am. The elite women’s race starts at 9.25am, while the gun goes for the elite men at 10.10am. The main body of the race continues behind them.

Where does it start from and what is the route?

As ever, the London Marathon will begin from Blackheath, in Lewisham. The mass race starts at 10am from Blackheath and Greenwich Park. There are colour-coded starts for different groups (blue, green and red). The route has stayed more or less the same throughout its 39-year history, although the race now finishes on The Mall rather than Constitution Hill. A PDF of the route map can be found here.

London Marathon runner information

How do runners get to the start?

You can find an update on train and boat times on the Virgin Money London Marathon website, which can also advise on coach passes for groups.

Can you drive to the start?

Marathon organisers strongly advise against driving to the start, for obvious reasons - with 40,000 competitors, jams are inevitable. However, there is limited parking available at Blackheath, but none at the finish.

How do runners get their number?

All competitors must pick up their race numbers from the 2019 London Marathon Running Show at the ExCel centre, which is open from 11am on Wednesday 24 April until 5pm on Saturday 27 April. There is more info here

What days and times is the Running Show open?

The 2019 London Marathon Running Show opening hours are:

  • Wednesday 24 April April: 11am-8pm 
  • Thursday 25 April: 10am-8pm 
  • Friday 26 April: 10am-8pm 
  • Saturday 27 April: 8.30am-5pm

London Marathon spectator information

Where is a good place to watch the race?

The pub is always a popular choice. The BBC warns runners: “People use your marathon to start drinking very early. A 10am lager is nice for them. It’s nice for the pubs making a killing. You’ll be livid.” 

Can you recommend a pub?

Of course! The Royal Standard in Blackheath (SE3 7JQ) is a good choice for the start of the race. The Mudchute Kitchen (E14 3HP) will keep kids entertained with its nearby working farm. Then there’s The Parlour in Canary Wharf (E14 5FW), Brown Butlers Wharf in Tower Hill (SE1 2YG) and – for the finish – the Bucking Arms in St James’ Park (SW1H 9EU). Be warned, though, they will all be very busy. The London Evening Standard has also picked out its best pubs, bars and restaurants on the marathon route.

Which are the busiest spectator areas on the marathon course?

The London Marathon website says that the crowds will be busiest at Greenwich town centre, the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and “anywhere from mile 24 to the finish in The Mall”.

London Marathon app: how to track runners

The official race app for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon has been launched for Apple and Android mobile devices.

Users can access the app to track runners, donate to official charity Dementia Revolution, see the ones to watch and find out key information for participants and spectators.

Hugh Brasher, event director of London Marathon Events, said: “We’re proud to be leading the way and embracing technology to improve the Virgin Money London Marathon each and every year.

“Our new and improved official race app will give our participants, their supporters and spectators the best possible service and help us to say #ThanksaBillion to everyone who has supported us since the first race back in 1981.”

How to watch on TV and online

The BBC will broadcast live from the 2019 London Marathon on Sunday (all times BST). 

  • 8.30am-10am and 2pm-2.30pm: BBC Two 
  • 8.50am-12.20pm: BBC Red Button 
  • 10am-2pm: BBC One 
  • 6pm-7pm: BBC Two London Marathon highlights

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