Running - Event

The Virgin London Marathon 2018: Gear Up for The Suburban Everest Run!

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Are you ready to run the world’s largest fund-raising event? The London Marathon, currently known as the Virgin Money London Marathon is a long-distance running event held in London, United Kingdom.

As an important part of the World Marathon Majors, the London Marathon has been applauded as the largest annual fundraising event in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. Not only are runners interested in the exciting course route of the London Marathon, but they also run this race for a good cause. Since its inception 36 years ago, London Marathon athletes have raised more than £770 million for charity.

The Virgin London Marathon witnesses a diverse range of runners starting from 17-year-old students to 90 years old pensioned citizens. In fact, seventeen runners over eighty ran last year's race. The oldest male runner to take part in the 2015 Virgin London Marathon was 90-year-old Paul Freedman while the oldest female runner was 87-year-old Iva Barr.

About the London Marathon

london marathon
London marathon - World's marathon majors!

The Virgin London Marathon 2018 is being held on the 22nd April 2018 (Sunday) in the city of London.

The London Marathon is clearly the most popular event in the UK athletics calendar and is loved by city runners worldwide.

The race is a 26-mile course having witnessed over 40,000 athletes who participated in the 2017 race. The marathon has been renamed as the Virgin Money London Marathon after authorities associated with Virgin Money, a newer sponsor of the event since 2010. The original sponsors of the marathon included Gillette, Mars, ADT, and Flora. A number of other companies and organizations have also used the marathon event for brand identification and marketing, including Adidas and Abbott Laboratories.

The London Marathon poses runners a challenge with its unpredictable weather as the hottest London Marathon on record was in 2007 with 21°C and the chilliest one was in 1994 with a low temperature of 7.6°C.

A Brief History

The marathon has a long history with London but is not the first long-distance running event in the city. The Marathon was founded by the former Olympian champion and journalist Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley in 1981.

london marathon history
Chris Brasher and details about the marathon (source)

The marathon staged several runners and spectators from New York who graced the event and was astonished to see the level and sheer numbers in the marathon.

The first London Marathon was held on 29th March 1981 where more than 20,000 applied to run. Over 6,747 runners were accepted out of which 6,255 crossed the finish line on Constitution Hill. The Marathon's popularity has progressively been on a steady rise since then.

The 2010 event saw 36,549 people cross the line which marked this event as the biggest feat since the race had begun. The first wheelchair marathon race was held in 1983 which honored the disabled race participants.

Entry & Registration

London marathon
London Marathon 2018

The entry to London Marathon is surely the toughest to accomplish as compared to all the other Marathon Majors around the world.

The entry is done following different criteria for different categories and the details are as follows:

Ballot Entry

This entry system is for people who wish to participate in the marathon. The public ballot entry system for the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon now stands closed. The ballot was open for five days giving all the athletes a fair chance to be a part of this event and closed at 17:00 on Friday 5 May 2017. The same Ballot entry is allowed to overseas runners as well.

Charity Entry

Certain charities have guaranteed places in the marathon through their ballot listings and silver/gold bonds. This can be checked out on the official website of the Virgin London Marathon 2018.

Good For Age Entry

If you are awesomely fast in your running and have qualified a full marathon earlier in great timing, you might be eligible to enter through this category of the marathon.

British Athletics Club Entry

The London Marathon also accepts club entries for Athletics clubs associated with British Athletics. If one is a member of this club and has recently achieved a qualifying performance, the runner also becomes eligible for the championship entry.

Wheelchair Entry

The 2018 Virgin Money London Wheelchair Marathon is open to elite disabled athletes and the entries will be open in the due course of 2018.

Visually Impaired Runners

Runners who are visually impaired and have been successful at the ballot can run the race with a guide. For visually impaired runners, you can email at [email protected]

Deferred Entry

You can also back an entry in the Virgin London Marathon 2018 through the deferred entry system. If you had backed an entry in 2017 race but were unable to attend due to an injury or illness, you can apply to enter through this category.

If you secured a place in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon but were unable to take part on the day because you were ill or injured, find out about deferred entry and what to do to run in 2018.

Wheelchair race
Wheelchair participants in the marathon

Once the official registration and entry process is complete, you will receive the registration form at the end of April with the final instructions magazine. The overseas runners are sent their registration forms by email. The registration form needs to be presented at the Marathon expo along with photo identification.

Details of Races and Particulars

london marathon logo

Though the huge London Marathon hosts enormous events around and in the main marathon event, the two races that grace the runners are the Full Marathon Run and the London Mini Marathon race.

The full Marathon run is a 42.2 km run race and courses around different historical places in and around London city. The championship entry to this race has already been closed and participants for this year’s run have been selected. The applicants, after being selected and approved, will be sent a link to complete their registration and successfully pay for the entry.

Every race has a qualifying rule, and this race has the ultimate time; so here are some notes on the London Marathon qualifying times.

If you're a member of an athletics club allied with British Athletics and you have previously achieved a championship-qualifying performance for a marathon or a London half marathon in 2016 or 2017, you can apply for a championship entry place in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2018.

These are the official championship qualifying performance times for both men and women.


Time (in hours)


Time (in hours)

Full marathon

sub 2:45

Full marathon

sub 3:15

Half marathon

sub 1:15

Half marathon

sub 1:30

Please check with NGB for your registration with your National Governing Body (i.e. England Athletics, Scotland Athletics, Welsh Athletics, Athletics Northern Ireland) to get your application approved.  

The Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon is the official British Athletics three-mile road finals for young sportspersons aged between 11 and 17. This marathon run is the best new challenge for you to run against the new talent in Britain and around.

The course stretches from London’s Old Billingsgate to the mall and is 3 miles long. The event includes teams from all 33 London Boroughs and is open to entrants from around nine regions of England, Scotland and many more.

To know more about the marathon, you can visit the official website Here!

Route Map

The Virgin London Marathon route 2018 is extended over 42 km and is quite flat, coursing around the River Thames. The only race course that starts at different points, the Virgin London Marathon is mile oriented with timing splits.  

london marathon
Route for London Marathon 2017

The course begins at three separate points: the 'red start' in southern Greenwich Park on Charlton Way, the 'green start' in St John's Park, and the 'blue start' on Shooter's Hill Road.

london half marathon

The Marathon Schedule

The Virgin Money London Marathon race is taking place on the 22nd April 2018. Each participant is mailed their final instruction magazine by post (overseas runners via email) which contains all the running schedule, training information, race timings and all the other details a runner would need.   

Every athlete is supposed to pick up their timing chip, bib number and race packet from the event expo which is held at ExCeL, the international exhibition and conference center in East London.

Please Note: The London Marathon scheduled for 2018 is not out yet.

For runner reference, the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Expo opening hours were as follows:

  • Wednesday 19th April (11:00-20:00)

  • Thursday 20th April (10:00-20:00)

  • Friday 21st April (10:00-20:00)

  • Saturday 22nd April (09:00-17:00)

You can keep following the official event website for the final schedule.

Training for London Marathon

Whether you are an amateur or an experienced runner, every marathon athlete would require some basic training before running a long run race; and especially with this 42 km run, you need to step up with your running shoes on.

The Virgin London Marathon 2018 has put together some training plans and you can choose from an assortment based on your ability.

Their run/walk programme is meant for new runners who wish to increase their endurance and running ability for long timings. You also have the opportunity of running with top coach Martin Yeling for preparing for your 26.2-mile challenge.

Logistics, Travel, and Parking

Once you are in London to run, you don’t need to worry about your car parking or your hotel stay. The official hotel partner for Virgin London Marathon 2018 is Holiday Inn who are offering various hotel packages to the marathon runners in and around London. The packages are also designed for IHG Hotels which include a champion’s breakfast and coach transfer to the Start Line so that you get energetically ready to run for the victory.

You can travel to London via road, sea, and air. The city is well connected to all the other places in the world and this definitely should not create a hassle for any runner. The city is also well equipped with public buses and train systems in place to support the travel of general public.

The Virgin Money London Marathon has a free, secure, dedicated parking area in the playground of the Bishop Challoner School. The Glamis road is a 300m walk from the car park approximately. This road sides a subway under the highway with ramps on both sides making the marathon course clearly visible.

Charity event
Run the London Marathon 2018

Charity Programmes

Sometimes it’s not just about money, it’s about hardcore charity. If you wish to fundraise money, you can do so with Virgin Money Giving which is the official fundraising website of the London Marathon 2018.

The Virgin Money London Marathon is claimed to be the leading annual fundraising event in the history of all marathons events ever run. This marathon is witnessed to have raised more than £890 million for good causes since the race began in 1981.

London Marathon Winners and Qualifiers from 2017

The marathon has set its record in various world records and is especially known for breaking its own records as well. In last year’s elite race Kenyan runners dominated the victory stage with Daniel Wanjiru and Mary Keitany winning the men's and women's elite races respectively.

Keitany had set in a new women’s-only world record in this race, crossing the finish line in 2:17:01 which is recorded as the swiftest time ever since men and women started racing distinctly.

Wanjiru, meanwhile, won his first ever London Marathon, holding off the tough competition. David Weir set a record of seven London Marathon victories in the men's wheelchair race by crossing the finish line in a time of 1:31:06, only a day after changing his mind about this race being his last.

There are several such records in the history of this legendary marathon that have won accolades par excellence.

London marathon winners
London Marathon winner 2017


  1. When does the registration open for the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon?
    A: The public ballot entry system for the Virgin Money London Marathon 2018 stands closed for now. The ballot had opened up on 1st May 2017 and ended on the 5th May 2017. Some of the other entry systems are still open.

  2. How are participants chosen from the Ballot draw and is there a London Marathon lottery?
    A: The ballot works similar to a random lottery system with no partial base.

  3. When can I pay for the marathon?
    A: All the runners who are selected for the race through the ballot and are provided a provisional place, will be sent a link to pay the entry fees.

  4. What is the cost to enter the ballot?
    A: UK standard entry into the ballot costs around £39 and if you are a member of a UK-affiliated running club, the costing comes to around £35. Cost of any overseas runner entry is £80.

  5. How old must a runner be on the Race Day?
    A: An athlete must be 18 years old or over on Sunday 22 April 2018.

  6. Which start will a runner be allotted?
    A: Every runner will be sent information about the starting point with the final magazine. These will be sent over in March 2018.

  7. What time does the race start?
    A: The official London Marathon starting time will be announced in due course.

Do you have all your sports gear ready for the run?

The exciting course of the Virgin Money London Marathon awaits your presence. So either run or see people run - the fun is unmatched worldwide!

Cover image source!

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