Events Around London – The Virgin London Marathon

With April bringing some long-awaited sunshine, it seems that spring might finally be around the corner for Londoners! The prospect of some sun has brought excited discussion to the Clinic, as we envisage picnics, city strolls, and cycling in Regent’s Park: if you’re looking for an alternative London experience, however, what better way to enjoy some warmer weather than by spectating at one of the city’s most famous events, the London Marathon?

Taking place this Sunday, 21 April, the London Marathon is just around the corner. The race – which, since 1981, has played host to thousands of runners – has quickly become one of London’s most popular and prestigious events, promising an exciting and memorable way to experience the city. Competitors come from all walks of life, and comprise those wanting to improve their fitness or raise money for a cause close to their hearts, as well as those simply looking for a personal challenge. A challenge it certainly is, however – and if, as for many of us, the 26-mile slog itself isn’t quite your cup of tea, you can still experience the Marathon from the side-lines, whilst enjoying some of London’s most historic sites.

Founded in 1981, after British athletes Chris Brasher and John Disley were inspired by the success of the New York Marathon, the London Marathon had several aims, from promoting Britain as a leader in sport (and in the organisation of international events) to simply “provid[ing] some happiness and a sense of achievement in a troubled world” and “show[ing] mankind that, on occasions, they can be united.” These goals are as relevant now as they were in 1981 and, in the wake of the enthusiasm surrounding the 2012 London Olympics; the city has never been in a better position to celebrate sport as a way of bringing people together.

Some of London Vision Clinic’s very own patients are participating in the Marathon this year, and we are pleased to provide some of their tips for first-time Marathon runners:

  • To keep energy levels up, make sure you eat a carbohydrate-heavy diet the week before the race.
  • Carry your phone in a water-proof zip-lock bag to avoid it getting wet in case of bad weather.
  • Carry an extra pair of socks so that you have the option of changing later in the day, and take a spare set of shoelaces in case of emergencies.
  • Warm up with stretches and a light jog before the race, but also take every opportunity to sit down!
  • Prepare yourself mentally for the race: expect a large crowd so you’re not overwhelmed on the day, and plan your opportunities for breaks and refuelling every few miles.
  • And, regardless of your experience of the British spring-time, don’t forget to use sun cream!

So, if you’re a runner yourself, or if you simply like the idea of spending a Sunday in the city, combining some sight-seeing with supporting one of Britain’s most important and popular sporting events, head to for all the details, as well as hints and tips for spectators. An interactive map provides useful information to help you get around the city on the day, detailing road closures, as well as convenient spots to stop in for refreshments. And, with fitness tips on nutrition, training, injury-prevention, and equipment, as well as a links to motivating music, there’s loads of inspiration to get in shape and get running. You never know, you might find yourself signing up for 2014!