Team Strava at the London Marathon

Guest post by Andy Waterman

With over 36,000 runners and an estimated million roadside spectators, London is secure in its status as one of the world’s foremost marathons. With stacked fields in both the men’s and women’s elite races, 2014 looked set to be a vintage year – and when Sunday 13 April dawned bright and warm, the atmosphere was bound to be electric.

Strava followed the race by bike, stopping in the best spots to watch the race, soak up the sun (a rare treat for Londoners) and enjoy seeing London in its best light, with runners rather than traffic clogging up the roads.

London_Marathon_AndyWaterman-4Greenwich Park was packed for hours before the race began at 10am. Runners use it to access the start area at the top of the hill on Blackheath, and then they pass back through at mile six, making it easy for spectators to hang out and wait for their friends and family. It’s also a nice spot to warm up, with great views of Canary Wharf (top).

Spring is in full swing in London right now. This time of year can just as likely bring snow as it can a heatwave – we didn’t hear many people complaining about temperatures of 16deg and clear blue skies.

With so many runners, there’s a lot of time spent hanging around in pens getting cold. A simple – and popular – solution was the disposable garbage bag, to be discarded when the race begins.

London draws runners from all over the world, and not just in the elite field – this lady had come all the way from Chile.

Once they start, it’s hard to imagine they’ll ever stop – there are runners as far as the eye can see, repeated across three different start routes.

The athletes pass Tower Bridge twice, at mile 12 and again at 22, making it another popular spot for spectators – it was three or four deep on the north side of the river.

Every piece of real estate that offers elevation is utilised by spectators wanting to glimpse the action, whether that’s a subway vent like this, a pillar or just a fence.

Kipsang and Biwot couldn’t be seperated at mile 23 – by the finish the gap was 26 seconds and Kipsang had broken the course record.

 This year marked the first race for partially sighted athletes. They were out on course before the main fields and ended up coming in alongside some of the wheelchair athletes.

Runners come under the 26mile marker – which marks 385 yeards to go – in front of Buckingham Palace.

While some runners went straight to the nearest pub after the finish, the sensible athletes had a stretch first.

In the seven days between the London and Boston marathons, Strava is challenging you to run a total of 42.2km (26.2mi). Unlike a real world race, you can break this Challenge up over multiple activities throughout the week.  Even if you can’t be at the start in Hopkinton or Greenwich Park, you can still celebrate your love for running and these iconic events by covering the marathon distance on your own between April 14th and April 20th.

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