A test run of the London Marathon route

28 March 2014, 15:44

One advantage of running a race in your home city is that you can scope out the route ahead of time if it’s in a part of town you’re not familiar with. My first two marathons were in cities I either hadn’t been to in ten years, or hadn’t been to ever, so the best I could do ahead of time was study Google Streetview and videos of the course.

But for London marathon, I knew that I wanted to run the route at some point before the day – specifically, the second half when I knew the exhilaration would’ve worn off from the start, and when the route starts to twist and turn through Docklands. I hadn’t really picked a date to do this, but last weekend my blisters from the Spitfire 20 were still open and therefore not up to a muddy hill run, so I took the opportunity to run the London marathon route from Mile 12 to 26.2 instead!

London marathon training run

Luckily, my friend “Pistol” Pete was up for joining me, so we set off from mine to the end of the road to pick up the course just before Mile 12. We were armed really only with a printoff of my friend Daniel’s excellent turn-by-turn directions of the London marathon course, but I did have my phone in case we got truly lost! Pete had also run London before, but he was also relying on the directions as much as me, as he said things look so different on race day!

The Shard from Docklands

We only managed to get lost in the Canary Wharf section, but that’s mostly due to poor street signage than Daniel’s directions (and Canary Wharf in general feeling like some anonymous Midwest business district!). So that added a little bit of distance onto our route, plus we had to detour to the river near London Bridge where the actual route goes through a tunnel that’s normally closed to pedestrians.

But even with those few deviations, I have to say that I feel so much better about the second half of the course now – I know how the Isle of Dogs meets up with Canary Wharf, how the route goes through Poplar and Limehouse, where RDC’s famous “Mile 21” will be, and that, for me, mentally, once I get back onto The Highway, it’s just a straight shot all the way down to Westminster. I have a feeling that the last mile, where we turn up at Westminster Bridge and run the length of St James’s Park, is going to feel really long on the day. I’m hoping by that point I can ride the wave of the crowd!

If you’ve got an hour or two of an easy run planned for this weekend, I highly recommend running a portion of the route if you can – the areas which seemed a bit desolate and scary now seem familiar to me!

If you’re not a follower of my sewing blog, you may have missed that I released a new sewing pattern this week! The Duathlon Shorts are perfect for running or cycling with integrated pockets and optional crotch padding. If you don’t sew, I also do custom orders!

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