London Marathon 2023: Route, timings and who is racing?

Everything you need to know ahead of the event

Harry Latham-Coyle
Saturday 22 April 2023 15:51 BST
The London Marathon is one of the United Kingdom’s most famous sporting events
The London Marathon is one of the United Kingdom’s most famous sporting events (PA Wire)

The London Marathon returns in 2023 as one of the signature events on the distance-running calendar.

After a pandemic enforced shift in timing, this year sees the race revert to its traditional springtime place.

Thousands of entrants will aim to complete the 26.2 mile course, taking in the sights and the sounds as they weave through some of the city’s most famous streets.

And the elite racing crowns are set to be as hotly contested as ever, with strong fields named.

Here’s everything you need to know.

When is the London Marathon?

After three years of being held in October during the Covid-19 pandemic, the London Marathon returns to a traditional date, with this year’s event taking place on Sunday 23 April.

What time does it start?

8.30am BST: Mini London marathon

8.50am: Elite wheelchair races

9.00am: Elite women’s race

9.30am: Elite men’s race and mass start

How can I watch?

Viewers in the United Kingdom will be able to watch the London Marathon on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with coverage commencing at 8.30am BST and continuing until 2.15pm.

Who is competing in the elite men’s and women’s races?

The men’s field for the 2023 London Marathon contains four of the fastest five male runners in history, with Kenenisa Bekele, Kelvin Kiptum, Birhanu Legese and Mosinet Geremuw all set to compete. They will hope to challenge Amos Kipruto, who returns hoping to defend his title. Tamirat Tola, last year’s world champion over the distance, may also contend, while Mo Farah will bid farewell to his home event.

Equally star-studded is the list of entrants for the elite women’s race. World record holder Brigid Kosgei is one of ten runners with a personal best better than two hours and 19 minutes, a list that also includes the immensely promising Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who took victory last year. Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir will hope to add a London title to marathon crowns already won in Boston and New York, while Eilish McColgan and Sifan Hassan are eye-catching converts from the track set to make their 26.2 mile debuts.

What is the route for the 2023 London Marathon?

The course for the event remains largely unchanged since the first running of the race in 1981. Entrants will start in south of Greenwich, embarking on a largely flat course to the east before folding back towards the centre of London on Woolwich Church Street.

From there, runners weave past the Cutty Sark by the Thames, hugging the river as they travel through Bermondsey and crossing Tower Bridge. A right turn will take competitors into the heart of the old Docklands, winding through Canary Wharf before doubling back to begin the final stretch through central London. A dip through an underpass at Blackfriars will take runners down to the Embankment with the Thames to their left, turning right at Westminster Bridge.

Two more right turns on the edge of St James’s Park will take the field on to the famous finish on The Mall near Buckingham Palace.

What are the current marathon world records?

Eliud Kipchoge holds the men’s world record of 2hr 1min 9sec, set in Berlin last year, while Brigid Kosgei’s women’s record is 2hr 14min 4sec and was achieved at the 2019 Chicago Marathon.

What time do runners need to get a medal?

Runners who finish in a time of more than seven hours will not receive a medal.

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