Mapping out the London Olympic Marathon course

With the world casting a critical eye over whether the London Olympics 2012 opening ceremony would live up to Beijing’s opening ceremony in 2008, London certainly did not disappoint in creating a show stopping opening celebration that impressed audiences across the world.

Similar to how the sensational opening ceremony creatively revealed the ‘best of British’; the London Olympic Marathon course will take runners and spectators past many of the capital’s iconic buildings and tourist hotspots, as highlighted on the A-Z best-selling London Visitors’ Map and they can also be viewed on the A-Z Visitors’ Map online.

The London Olympic Marathon course was confirmed in October 2010 and it is a completely different marathon course to the London Marathon route that we are all so used to.

The 26.2 mile course will start and finish at the Mall, approximately 400 metres from the symbolic Victoria Memorial. In fact there could not be a grander and statelier place to start and finish this prestigious event than the Mall, which, being surfaced in red gives the impression that it’s a giant red carpet leading up to the Palace.

From this poignant starting point runners will complete four laps, following the Victoria Embankment and passing several of London’s biggest tourist sites, including running through Admiralty Arch and past Nelson’s Column, as they head towards the City of London.

Turning on to Northumberland Avenue, on the first lap of the Olympic Marathon route runners will turn to the right and continue on the Victoria Embankment. On the second, third and fourth laps, instead of turning right, competitors will turn left and pass under the impressive steel trussed railway bridge known as Hungerford Bridge.

The London Olympic marathon course will then run parallel with the River Thames, which will be the longest straight stretch of the race. At Blackfriars station the course then begins to ascend eventually reaching its pinnacle close to St Paul’s Cathedral.

When reaching ‘the City’, what has up now been a relatively straight route will become much more winding as the Olympic marathon runners will continue eastwards to Tower Hill. On their way to Tower Hill, the course will take runners across St Bartholomew Square and past the historic church of St Mary-le-Bow.

At Tower Hill the London Olympic Marathon course will then take another U-turn as athletes begin the return leg. Shortly after running past The Monument, runners will then wind round an S-bend taking them back onto the Victoria Embankment. Turning left onto Westminster Bridge will then continue past Big Ben and Parliament Square as they race back towards Buckingham Palace, which on the last lap, will be the finishing point.

The London Olympic Marathon is sure to be an amazing spectacle with no doubt millions of supporters out on the route to cheer on the athletes.

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