People love running on closed roads in London and with good reason. There is no better way to see the capital than when it’s free of motorised traffic, if only for the sake of your lungs. The only downside of how enjoyable central London running events are is that they are incredibly popular, so it can be hard to secure your place. The London Marathon disappoints hundreds of thousands of ballot applicants each year, but it’s far from the only capital-based event to turn away legions of hopeful runners and even relatively new events quickly become oversubscribed.
Last year saw the launch of the London Landmarks Half Marathon, set right in the heart of the city. Despite being just a year old, the demand for places is such that a ballot is required this year to select the participants, with over 55,000 people having already registered their interest in claiming one of the 13,000 spots in the race. The ballot opens at noon on Monday 2nd July and runs until noon on Monday 9th July, with the results announced on Thursday 12th.
We were lucky enough to participate in last year’s event and would strongly urge you to throw your hat in the ring for this excellent race. For starters, it’s free to enter the ballot. You pay only if you get a spot, and the cost of entry (£55) goes to the primary charity partner, Tommy’s.
Then there’s the route, which packs in more sights than you can shake a stick at. From the start on Pall Mall to the finish on Downing Street, not a kilometre goes by where you don’t get a clear view of a top London landmark. Sure, that route has to take a few twists and turns to hit all these sights, and an especially bendy section in the City of London might hamper a PB attempt, but the course is flat enough to run fast times on.
The atmosphere around the course was also impressive in 2017 and this will only get better as the event becomes more established. Bands pepper the route to provide some musical inspiration for those who haven’t opted to plug their ears with headphones, and if you are taking it easy rather than racing hard, you can stop at the mile markers to read historical facts.
If you do strike out in the London Landmarks Half Marathon ballot, you can also try to get a charity spot. As well as Tommy’s there are 150 partner charities for the event, giving plenty of options. llhm.co.uk