Every year thousands of people line the streets to watch the Virgin Money London Marathon. It’s a great experience – but with these insider tips, it’ll be even more special for spectators.
With a rush of adrenaline
The Thames Rush tour
Spectators who want to get their own pulse racing on marathon day should book a seat on the Thames Rush tour, a high-octane speedboat experience. Things start sedately enough as you make your way from Westminster Pier to Tower Bridge, but then the river opens up and you hurtle towards Canary Wharf at 30 knots (roughly 35mph). The runners, trudging their way through mile 23, may not welcome the sight of a speedboat full of people having fun and whizzing past them, but there’s no more thrilling way to travel the Thames.
With furry friends
There are goats, llamas, rabbits and pigs at Mudchute City Farm, not to mention a cafe famed for its hearty breakfasts, so it may be a challenge for spectators to pull themselves away for long enough to catch thousands of runners as they pass right by its tree-lined fences. It’s the perfect race-watching spot for families – and when the race loops round the Isle of Dogs around the 17-mile mark, this charming working farm is just a hare’s breadth (yes, that’s an animal pun) from the action. mudchute.org
With the ultimate London view
The London Eye
Up there with Tower Bridge and Big Ben among the capital’s most postcard-friendly tourist assets, the London Eye comes into its own on race day. Spectators will be too high in the sky to catch the grimaces on weary runners’ faces but during the Eye’s serene 30-minute circuit they’ll get plenty of time to take in the snaking lines of Lycra down below.
With a pint of Pride
Fuller’s The Banker
Sitting on the waterfront half way between London Bridge and Southwark Bridge, this beautiful boozer offers prime marathon views just before the 24-mile mark. When the world’s running elite fly by around mid-morning it’ll be a bit early for a pint of London Pride, but when the masses trickle past at lunchtime, spectators can raise a glass to the craziest costumes and not feel the teeniest bit guilty. banker-london.co.uk
With a Full English
If a grueling 26-mile run doesn’t sound like the ideal start to a Sunday morning, how about a glass of champagne and a full English breakfast instead? From the enviable vantage point of the terraces at Boisdale of Canary Wharf specators can get stuck in to freshly baked croissants, scrambled eggs and posh black pudding while close to 40,000 runners pound Cabot Square below. Brunch is served from 10am-noon (£30 including glass of champagne or bloody mary) and booking is essential. boisdale.co.uk
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