The best places to watch the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon on April 23

RunnerS pass through Parliament Square during the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. Picture: DOMINI

RunnerS pass through Parliament Square during the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. Picture: DOMINIC LIPINSKI - Credit: PA

It is one of London’s biggest events, and it feels like we all know someone who is taking part this year. Here is our round-up of the best places to cheer on those running in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon on April 23.

It’s best to avoid the most popular spots along the route such as the Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge. Everyone will want to be at these iconic parts of the route.

Spectators are also strongly advised to avoid Greenwich town centre as it will be heaving and anywhere from Mile 24 to the end of the race - public transport will be very busy in those areas and it will be particularly difficult to get around. But if you really want don’t want to miss the start of the mass race at 10am, get down early to stake your spot.

So that’s where NOT to watch the London Marathon. But where’s good?

Runner pass through Parliament Square during the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. Picture: Dominic

Runner pass through Parliament Square during the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. Picture: Dominic Lipinski - Credit: PA

Crowds tend to gather near the start line at Greenwich Park, but if you head a bit further down to the areas around John Wilson Street and Evelyn Street you can get some good views of the runners.

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The crowds thin out a bit by Mile 9, where the route gets into Docklands. The area around Canary Wharf is easily accessible by the DLR and the pubs and bars will be open if you need refreshment. Nearby Westferry Road has the same benefits and you can also see the runners twice as they loop back on themselves.

The best place for wheelchair users to watch the race is The Highway. There is free, secure parking in the playground of the Bishop Challoner School and a level walk of about 300m with ramps under The Highway to get to good viewing points on both sides of the Marathon course. You’ll get two chances to spot your runner as the race doubles back on itself here - first between Mile 13 and Mile 14 and again between Miles 21 and 22. However, make sure you get there early - the road closes at 8am and will be busy with spectators by 9.30pm.

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Other top tips

When you’re trying to meet your runner after the race, remember it might be difficult to contact them by mobile as so many people will be trying to make calls near the meet and greet area. It is much better to plan a meeting point in advance.

A good place to meet is Horse Guards Parade, where there will be designated meeting points for each letter of the alphabet so runners can be found by surname. Remember it takes runners around half an hour to reach the meeting point when they’ve crossed the finish line.

Don’t forget you can find out where your runners are by using the live tracking page. It will show up here on race day - just enter their surname or running number to see where they are on the course. The location is based on their running pace and when they last crossed the timing points, dotted along the course at 5km intervals.

All the roads near the course will be closed, so public transport such as the Underground, Overground and DLR are the best ways to travel.

Make sure you travel light and wear comfortable clothes and shoes - you will be doing a lot of standing and walking around, and the weather could be very changeable.

Expect it to be as busy as rush hour - you will have to queue and some stations may be forced to close temporarily to control the crowds.

Need some timing hints?

There is a complete guide to roughly where groups of runners will be during the race here.

But for a quick, approximate guide, for anyone watching what would probably be considered a medium-paced runner (around a 4hour 30minute pace), we’ve pulled out some key markers below.

Five miles – 10.51am; 10 miles – 11.42am; 15 miles – 12.34pm; 20 miles – 1.25pm; 25 miles – 2.17pm; 26.2 miles (finish) – 2.30pm.

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