Runners at the ready and spectators steady for one of the UK’s most famous and exciting sporting events. Approximately, the London Marathon enters 30,000 participants a year to run the challenging 26 mile race through scenic London and this year looks like it’s going to be just as big as always! For this week’s blog, we thought we’d get involved with the experience of the participants and name some notorious sites that they might get the chance to see on their travels (unless they are dressed as a giant chicken, then their view might be a bit restricted).
The first part of the route begins from Blackheath through to Woolwich and Greenwich. Around mile 6, the runners will catch sight of the 1869 clipper ship that is a true landmark of London and an icon of maritime history in Britain. The Cutty Sark will be sitting elegantly awaiting its spectators with outstanding architecture that combines old and modern design and will also be open from 12.30pm should spectators want to jump aboard. Also on the same mile, runners will come across the National Maritime Museum which still stands as the largest museum of its kind in the world. The impressive exterior boasts a palace-like appearance with a brilliantly white surface that will be sure to catch the attention of the runners.
The second part of the race carries on from Greenwich through to the Tower Bridge and to the Isle of Dogs. As already mentioned, the runners will be crossing the fascinating structure that is the Tower Bridge at around mile 12, which is the half-way point (a relief for some). Whilst speeding or plodding over the ginormous suspension bridge which is considered as another iconic monument of London, participants might look up to see the spectacular Tower of London close by. The historic castle is home to the Crown Jewels and is notorious for its rather gruesome past, however the venue is awe-inspiring and is worth at least a quick glimpse. We cannot forget also the huge ferris wheel that overlooks the whole of the city will be watching over the runners below and what a fantastic view that will be!
Next up on the landmark show will be one of the tallest buildings in the country and one of Britain’s main financial centres. The Marathon route will weave across the modern and beautiful Canary Wharf district, passing the remarkable skyline which reaches an incredible 235 metres as well as the striking ground-level architecture. Participants will then pass by Cleopatra’s Needle which stands tall as a phenomenal landmark that was presented to the UK by the ruler of Egypt and Sudan in 1819. The captivating attraction is one of three others that are located in Paris and New York and all are genuine Ancient Egyptian obelisks, although they strangely have nothing to do with Queen Cleopatra as they were created a thousand years after her time!
Coming up to the finish line at mile 25, the runners who have made it while it is still daylight will get a wonderful view of more renowned landmarks of London, such as the most famous golden clock on the planet that is now over 150 years old. Participants can gaze upon the prodigious structure of Big Ben (that interestingly leans very slightly to the north-west) and who knows, maybe we shall hear it chime! Next door sits the all-important Houses of Parliament that are responsible for law-making, tax-deciding and all other kinds of political goings-on. The building is magnificent, displaying 1000 years of history where Guy Fawkes was tried for his crimes and Nelson Mandela spoke out to Parliament, the site is simply full of stories! The race is at last completed in front of Buckingham Palace and we are pretty sure that at this point you are all citied-out and want to put your feet up. Remember to pause for a quick moment to take in the beauty and sheer Englishness (if that is a word) of the landmark that is just around the corner from our front door. With its stunningly elegant exterior and its picturesquely preserved gardens, it is the perfect place to complete the race and to rejoice in your fantastic achievement, you have earned it!