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News / City Life

Six dos and don’ts for watching the London Marathon

Spectators at the London Marathon
Dillon Bryden for Virgin Money London Marathon

Watching an event as historical as the London Marathon can either be the best or worst way to spend a Sunday. If you plan on catching the action up close and personal, make the most of it by following our handy tips for spectators. 

Do… pack snacks

Unless that pal you’ve come out to cheer is Mo Farah, you’ll probably be on your feet for ages. It won’t be long before hunger strikes and you’ll soon wish someone would win the race already so you can nip off and murder a roast. But there’s that small matter of your mate – they’ll still running. Knowing how hard they trained, they’ll hate you for ever if you’ve missed the opportunity to give them a fist bump as they fly past you, fist at the ready. Spare your relationship and pack some snacks that’ll sustain you for a few hours.

Don’t… walk out into the race

If you ever wondered what it’s like to be knocked down by a bus, just imagine getting hit by a runner fuelled on Lucozade, bananas and sheer ambition. It’ll hurt – a lot – not least because that runner will curse you relentlessly and make you regret the day you were born. Never mess with a runner and their PB: just stay out of the road.

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Do… cheer for everybody

Sure, you’ve come out to support your friends but contrary to everything they’ve said over the course of their training, they’re not the only person running 26.2 miles. It’s a slog for everyone and you’d be surprised what a smile or a high-five can do for someone running with a fridge on their back or dressed up as a flamingo. It’s practically life-giving. 

Don’t… forget to tell your marathon friend where they can see you

They’ll waste their much-needed energy trying to pick you out in a crowd when, really, they need to focus on the race and avoid crashing into the guy with a fridge on his back. Nobody wants that.

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Do… bring a noisemaker

There’s nothing like cheering to give your precious vocal chords a serious workout – but you don’t want to lose them. Cowbells, whistles and even trumpets can do the trick – or even the ol' vuvuzela. Everybody will be too caught up in the occasion to care about your ongoing devotion to the 2010 World Cup. 

But don’t… shout ‘nearly there!’

...especially if you’re cheering around Mile 6. It’s a lie. They know it, you know it. A ‘well done for being an absolute legend’ is more than adequate.

Check out these runners sharing their marathon stories.

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