London Marathon 2021: What is the route, what roads will be closed and what to do with my kit bag?

Everything you need to know about the London Marathon this Sunday.

Following an exciting summer of sport at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, thousands of runners will take to the streets this weekend to take part in the iconic London Marathon.

More than 50,000 runners are expected to participate in the ultimate test of endurance this Sunday, with organisers putting in a number of Covid-safety measures.

From routes to road closures, and the celebrities taking part, here is everything you need to know about the 2021 London Marathon.

When is the London Marathon?

This year’s London Marathon will take place on Sunday October 3.

It is the second year in a row that the race has been moved from its traditional April date due to the Covid pandemic.

Last year, only elite runners were allowed to take part, so this is the first time normal participants can run since April 2019.

What is the route?

The 26.2 mile challenge will begin at one of three start lines near Blackheath, in Greenwich, and finish on The Mall.

Runners will make their way through Charlton and Woolwich, then turn west through Greenwich and Deptford, looping around the Cutty Sark.

Participants will then cross the River Thames at Tower Bridge, then circle through Mudchutes and Docklands before coursing west again along The Highway, Tower Hill and Victoria Embankment to Parliament Square and Birdcage Walk.

The runners will then pass Buckingham Palace and run the final stretch of The Mall to reach the finish line.

London Marathon Route. Credit: Mark Hall

Can you still buy tickets?

Unfortunately all general entries for this year’s London Marathon are sold out, including the virtual marathon.

However some charities have spaces for runners wishing to take part in the virtual event.

What does the virtual marathon entail?

The virtual Virgin Money London Marathon was first introduced last year due to the pandemic, with a Guinness record breaking 37,966 runners taking part.

The virtual marathon gives participants the chance to take part, running a 26.2 mile course of their choice on October 3 wherever they are in the world.

This year 50,000 people are expected to take part in the virtual marathon event.

What Covid measures are in place?

A number of measures have been implemented for this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon to ensure the safety of all participants as well as staff, contractors and volunteers.

This includes a requirement for all participants to show proof of a negative Covid-19 lateral flow test before participating and measures to stop crowds congregating and to reduce touchpoints.

Participants have been asked to follow a Six Steps to the Start Line policy to help ensure the event can go ahead safely.

The London Marathon returns this weekend in the Capital for the first time since April 2019.

What are the new kit bag drop rules?

The major change for runners this year is to do with kit bags.

There is no bag drop at the start of the race.

Instead, participants leave their kit bag at the London Marathon Expo, at the ExCel Centre, in Royal Victoria Dock, when they pick up their bib number.

The Expo is on until 5.30pm on Saturday.

The London Marathon says: “Please don’t overfill your kitbag as we’ll need to add your souvenir medal, New Balance finisher’s T-shirt, Buxton Natural Mineral Water and Lucozade Sport to it once you’ve dropped it off.”

The bags then get taken to the finish line.

You need to have a negative Covid-19 lateral flow test to attend the Expo, and if you can’t go, someone can attend on your behalf.

What if I haven’t received my kit bag?

Participants in the actual marathon should have all be sent their kit bags by September 24.

In the virtual marathon packs are being sent out in batches, and all should have arrived by Monday September 27.

If you haven’t received your kit bag by now, email [email protected]

Mo Farah of Great Britain runs as a pacer during the Elite Men€’s race during the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. He is not running this year’s race due to injuring his foot. Photo by Adam Davy - Pool/Getty images

Is Sir Mo Farah running the London marathon 2021?

Sir Mo Farah is not running the London Marathon this year due to a stress fracture in his foot.

However it is thought that the Olympic hero will take part in marathon events in the future.

Race director Hugh Brasher said: “We absolutely would love to have him back in the future so we wish him well on his recovery and look forward to working with him in the future.

“When he is back, we will be having conversations with him.”

Sir Mo didn’t race in the elite event last year, but took part as a pacer.

What celebrities are taking part?

A number of famous faces are expected to take part in this year’s event.

Heart FM radio DJ, and 2019 Strictly Come Dancing contestant Dev Griffin is running the London Marathon for the second time for Global’s Make Some Noise campaign.

Former TOWIE star-turned-TV presenter Mark Wight is running his first Virgin Money London Marathon in partnership with Flora’s Get Towns Active initiative.

Former England cricket captain Sir Andrew Strauss is running his second London Marathon, this time in memory of his wife Ruth, who died of non-smoking lung cancer in December 2018.

What are the road closures?

The first road closures around the main route will begin at 04.00 and end at 20.30 on 3 October. The roads closed during this period are as follows.

Charlton Way, Shooters Hill Road, Little Heath, Artillery Place, Woolwich Church St, Woolwich Rd, Trafalgar Rd, Creek Rd, Evelyn Street, Surrey Quays Road, Salter Road, Brunel Road, Jamaica Road, Tower Bridge, The Highway (south side),Narrow Street, Westferry Road, Westferry Road, East Ferry Road, Marsh Wall, North Colonnade, Poplar High Street, Commercial Road,The Highway (north side), Byward Street,Upper Thames Street and Victoria Embankment.

Birdcage Walk (eastbound) will be closed from 06.00 2 October till 06.00 4 October and Birdcage Walk (westbound) will be closed from 06.30 3 October to 06.00 4 October.

How can I watch the London Marathon?

This year organisers are asking spectators to follow the event virtually to avoid people gathering in large crowds.

You can follow the London Marathon live on the BBC and on social media following the @LondonMarathon on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.