6 ways to watch the London Marathon and actually enjoy it


Like any normal tea-slurping, self-deprecating Brit, we love watching the London Marathon.

With the annual race around the capital taking place this Sunday and almost 11 hours of coverage planned by the BBC, it could end up dominating your weekend.

Here are the best ways you can enjoy this year's frantic dash around London.

1. In your pyjamas on the sofa.

London Marathon

Where better to gorge on hours of other people's marathon exploits than on the sofa in your pyjamas? Ensure your phone is fully charged so you can add Twitter commentary as BBC presenters throw entry-level humour into the mix, and of course make sure the cupboards and fridge are full. The Sunday roast should be ready just in time to watch weary runners crossing the finish line. Perfect.

2. Running it from the comfort of your own home.

A woman runs a marathon on a treadmill

If, foolishly, you find running the marathon an attractive idea but failed to get a spot in the race then fear not. Marathon organisers have arranged for those feeling left out to run the race with an innovative virtual reality experience. Developed by London Marathon Events in partnership with digital fitness company RunSocial, it offers runners anywhere in the world the opportunity to download and experience the entire world famous London Marathon course.

The route was filmed in HD video during the last two races and has been converted into an interactive "mixed reality" video, which runners watch as they run on a treadmill. The video playback matches the running speed and runners can also see, and run with, virtual reality avatars of runners from around the world who are also using the download.

3. Drinking game

Alcohol stock

Watching the marathon with friends and housemates? Why not turn it into a drinking game - the rules are pretty simple, and flexible. The basics include drinking every time you see a London landmark on TV, finishing your drink as soon as the BBC starts interviewing marathon regular and football commentator Jonathan Pearce, oh and you're not allowed to use the toilet during the race. Feel free to add a few more rules and turn the day into a marathon drinking session.

4. Watching - and running it - from the middle of space.

Tim Peake

Getting into space by Sunday is probably not going to happen but it could be something to aim for in future marathons. Astronaut Tim Peake will be taking part in the race using the virtual reality experience on a treadmill whilst on board the International Space Station.

5. From the sidelines.

London Marathon

Not many countries do watching a fairly mundane race in bitter weather on a Sunday morning better than Britain. The atmosphere in London during the marathon is pretty special and watching the runners from Tower Bridge - where it does get extremely busy - can be a magnetic experience. Other good spots are near the Cutty Sark in Greenwich or at the finish line on The Mall. You never know, it might even be sunny.

6. Find a pub.

London Marathon

The marathon route is littered with good watering holes which you can either see the runners from or watch on a big screen. Notable stops are the Royal Standard, Blackheath, where you can see the race commence, the Parlour, Canary Wharf, or the Buckingham Arms, St James's Park, where you can meet the finishing runners for a pint afterwards.