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London Marathon 2024 guide: When is it, route, records and how to watch today’s race

London Marathon runners on the Mall/London Marathon 2024: Your ultimate guide
Last year's London Marathon welcomed a record number of starters - For the Telegraph/Heathcliff O'Malley

The London Marathon, a fixture of the spring sporting calendar returns today after a record-breaking number of entrants in the 2023 edition.

The race will be the first London Marathon held since the death of Kelvin Kiptum, last year’s men’s winner and world record holder, in a car crash in Kenya.

When is the 2024 London Marathon? Time and date

The London Marathon 2024 takes place this Sunday, so April 21.

The elite and wheelchair races set off at staggered times, with the elite wheelchair men’s and women’s races getting under way at 9.05am (BST). The elite women’s race starts at 9.25am, while the elite men hit the road at 10am. The masses also start at 10am, in waves until 11.30am.

The London Marathon route for 2024: where does it start and finish?

The London Marathon route follows its usual course, starting in Greenwich and Blackheath where entrants are split into three lines which converge at the three-mile mark. The route heads east into Woolwich, then back west towards Greenwich town centre, through Rotherhithe and Bermondsey. From there it crosses north over Tower Bridge, which signals the approximate halfway mark. Athletes then complete a circuit around Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs before the course runs west along the north bank of the Thames past the Tower of London towards Trafalgar Square and onto the Mall where it finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.

To download a map of the course, click here.

Some of London’s most famous landmarks feature on the course.

  • Cutty Stark, mile six

  • Tower Bridge, mile 12

  • Tower of London, mile 22

  • London Eye, mile 25

  • Big Ben, mile 25

  • Buckingham Palace, mile 26

What are the best viewing spots?

The busiest spots on the course are usually Greenwich, Tower Bridge and Westminster. There are ordinarily many fewer spectators from mile 9-12 (Rotherhithe and Bermondsey) and mile 14-21 (Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs). For the chance to see the runners pass by twice, head to The Highway in Wapping which is used first from West to East and then again from East to West, although this tends to be a popular viewing point.

Runners pass Tower Bridge during the London Marathon
Tower Bridge is one of the London Marathon course's busiest spots, as runners approach the halfway mark - Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

How many people run the London Marathon?

Last year 49,272 runners started the race with 43,965 finishing it (that’s 5,307 people who did not complete the course).

London Marathon prize money

This year for the first time equal prize money will be offered for the wheelchair and able-bodied races. The winner of each elite race will take home £43,500.

London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher said: “We have made great strides in recent years towards our ambition to make the London Marathon the most diverse and equitable marathon in the world and this is another important step towards achieving that goal.”

What TV channel is the London Marathon on?

The London Marathon will be shown on BBC as well as BBC iPlayer and the Red Button. This year’s broadcast will start at 8.30am on BBC One and then move to BBC Two at 2pm until 3pm. Highlights will be shown on BBC Two at 6pm.

The BBC iPlayer will be showing footage from 11.30am to 6pm. There will also be two live streams from Tower Bridge (11.30am-2.30pm) and the finish line (1pm-6pm) on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport app.

BBC commentators will be Andrew Cotter, Steve Cram, Paula Radcliffe and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, with Steve Brown, JJ Chalmers and Jeanette Kwakye reporting from the route.

The production involves about 200 people, 40 cameras and half a dozen motorbikes. Multiple helicopters are used to help broadcast the elite races.

Stars to look out for in this year’s London Marathon

Celebrities such as comedian Romesh Ranganathan, musician Tom Grennan and actor Phil Dunster will make their London Marathon debuts on Sunday. They will be joined by Birmingham City interim manager Gary Rowett, EastEnders stars Emma Barton and Jamie Borthwick and Sky Sports’ Natalie Pinkham.

Returning participants include: James Cracknell, Mark Wright, Adele Roberts, Louise Minchin and Chris Robshaw.

James Cracknell OBE completes the 2021 London Marathon
Former Olympic rower James Cracknell will take part in this Sunday's London Marathon - Jeff Gilbert

What is the average London Marathon time?

Last year, competitors completed the London Marathon in an average time of 4hr 6min, a 12-minute improvement from the 2022 average of 4hr 18min.

Who is in the men and women’s elite races?

Women (20)
Tigist Assefa (Eth) 2:11:53
Brigid Kosgei (Ken) 2:14:04
Ruth Chepngetich (Ken) 2:14:18
Tigist Ketema (Eth) 2:16:07
Almaz Ayana (Eth) 2:16:22
Megertu Alemu (Eth) 2:17:09
Peres Jepchirchir (Ken) 2:17:16
Joyciline Jepkosgei (Ken) 2:17:23
Yalemzerf Yehualaw (Eth) 2:17:23
Sheila Chepkirui (Ken) 2:17:29
Tsige Haileslase (Eth) 2:22:10
Susanna Sullivan (US) 2:24:27
Manon Trapp (Fra) 2:25:48
Becky Briggs (GB) 2:29:04
Alice Wright (GB) 2:29:08
Anya Culling (GB) 2:34:45
Rachel Hodgkinson (GB) 2:34:46
Helen Gaunt (GB) 2:35:38
Mhairi Maclennan (GB) debut
Lucy Reid (GB) debut

Men (43)
Kenenisa Bekele (Eth) 2:01:41
Mosinet Geremew (Eth) 2:02:55
Alexander Mutiso Munyao (Ken) 2:03:11
Tamirat Tola (Eth) 2:03:39
Dawit Wolde (Eth) 2:03:48
Kinde Atanaw (Eth) 2:03:51
Leul Gebresilase (Eth) 2:04:02
Geoffrey Kamworor (Ken) 2:04:23
Seifu Tura (Eth) 2:04:29
Daniel Do Nascimento (Bra) 2:04:51
Addisu Gobena (Eth) 2:05:01
Milkesa Mengesha (Eth) 2:05:29
Henok Tesfay (Eri) 2:07:12
Emile Cairess (GB) 2:08:07
Callum Hawkins (GB) 2:08:14
Hassan Chahdi (Fra) 2:08:19
Mahamed Mahamed (GB) 2:08:40
Brian Shrader (US) 2:09:46
Weynay Ghebresilasie (GB) 2:09:50
Andrew Heyes (GB) 2:13:52
Alexander Lepretre (GB) 2:15:01
Hiko Tonoas Haso (Irl) 2:15:01
Norman Shreeve (GB) 2:16:17
Alex Milne (GB) 2:16:30
William Mycroft (GB) 2:17:02
David Bishop (GB) 2:17:06
Adam Bowden (GB) 2:17:18
Kieran Walker (GB) 2:17:30
Alexander Lawrence (GB) 2:17:41
Daniel Hamilton (GB) 2:17:59
Dominic Jones (GB) 2:18:15
Fraser Stewart (GB) 2:18:34
Tom Frith (GB) 2:18:35
James Hoad (GB) 2:18:38
Ryan Thomson (GB) 2:18:46
Martin Hoare (Irl) 2:18:57
Charlie Sandison (GB) 2:19:22
Paulos Surafel (GB) no time
Daniel Mateiko (Ken) no time
Jacob Allen (GB) debut
Kieran Clements (GB) debut
Marc Scott (GB) debut
Sean Tobin (Irl) debut

Who won the London Marathon in 2023?

Kelvin Kiptum won the men’s race last year, breaking the course record with a time of 2hr 1min 25sec. Kiptum, 24, was killed in a car crash in February. The London Marathon will honour the Kenyan in a series of tributes this Sunday.

The women’s winner in 2023 was Sifan Hassan, who was running her debut marathon. Hassan lost touch with the leading group when she stopped to stretch but caught up again and prevailed in a sprint finish.

Kelvin Kiptum wins 2023 London Marathon
The London Marathon will pay tribute to 2023 men's winner Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a car crash in February - AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali

London Marathon records

Kelvin Kiptum broke the course record, with a 2hr 1min 25sec run last year. Paula Radcliffe holds the women’s course record, with a time of 2:15:25, set in 2003.

When was the first London Marathon?

The first London Marathon took place on March 29, 1981. Inspired by the New York City Marathon’s launch in 1970, Olympic steeplechase medallists Chris Brasher and John Disley created the London edition with hope to “provide some happiness and sense of achievement in a troubled world”.

Only 7,741 runners set out from Greenwich Park for the first London Marathon, a fraction of the 50,000-plus expected to cross the start line this Sunday.

How to enter the London marathon

There are six ways to secure a place at the 2025 London Marathon: through the ballot, charity entry, good for age entry, British Athletics Club entry, deferred entry or through a tour operator, for those who live abroad.

The TCS London Marathon MyWay also allows people to complete a 26.2-mile route of their choosing, wherever they are in the world.

London Marathon ballot: when is it and how does it work?

London Marathon hopefuls can enter through the ballot for free, with successful applicants selected at random. The 2025 draw opens on Saturday, April 20 and closes on Friday, April 26. Winners will earn a place in next year’s race, which will be held on April 27, 2025.

Those who choose to donate at a reduced entry fee of £49.99 - the regular fee is £69.99 - will have access to an exclusive second ballot, more than doubling their chances of getting selected.

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