Virtual TCS London Marathon | 5 reasons to run this major event

Whether or not you entered the ballot for the TCS London Marathon, the virtual edition is a fantastic event with plenty to offer. We ran it and can highly recommend getting involved!

The Virtual TCS London Marathon
The TCS London Marathon is the biggest 26.2-mile race in the UK and one of the most famous running events in the world, so it's fair to say that getting a place in the ballot is far from guaranteed. Although 40,000 people run through the streets of London each year, many more apply to be part of this incredible experience, which is why the organisers created another brilliant event: the Virtual TCS London Marathon

Occurring at the same time as the main event in London, the virtual edition can be run anywhere, from city streets to remote trails. Using the official app, runners log their miles and gain exclusive access to live commentary, messages of support and expert advice. While your run may be missing the crowds in the capital, there are some major advantages to joining the Virtual TCS London Marathon, as our very own Elaine Aronson discovered in October.

"Having enjoyed both the St. John Ambulance's 5K-a-Day and Barnardo's Olympic iTri, I was on the lookout for a new goal when a charity place in the Virtual London Marathon came up. Bingo! The build-up put me on a real high - not just through increased fitness but supporting a worthy cause too."

#1 The official app

Entrants to the Virtual TCS London Marathon gain exclusive access to the official app, which allows you to record your progress, access expert advice, track other participants and view your fundraising page, if you're running for charity. What's more, you will receive updates about the course as you run - if you're listening to music, the updates will simply be layered on top of your chosen soundtrack!

"On the big day itself, the app (which was super-easy to use) helped shape the miles with motivation and fun facts, kicking off the challenge with a fan fair and bringing you in to applause. Words of encouragement from famous voices were a great reminder of the scale of the achievement."

#2 24 hours to run

While many people will want to run their marathon in one go, perhaps in pursuit of a PB, there is no obligation to do so in the virtual marathon. In fact, you will have 24 hours to record your 26.2 miles, which can be broken up into as many sections as you like. This means that people who have never run a marathon or are unsure if they could finish the race have the opportunity to get involved. 

"One of the key highlights of the virtual edition is that you have 24 hours to complete the distance - which, in my case, was ideal for briefly resting-up a long term injury and making a marathon a possibility."

#3 Pick your route

Its central London route, peppered with famous landmarks, is one the main reasons that people want to run the TCS London Marathon. Amazing as it is, the virtual edition provides you with the chance to join in on the action while running anywhere you like! You might choose to run a familiar loop on local roads or venture into the great outdoors for a trail marathon - the choice is yours. That flexibility is a real draw for many runners.

"I chose a mix of road and trail with plenty of gritty ascent to keep it interesting. Three 14K laps did the trick - the first an exciting head torch run finishing with a golden sunrise and a huge cup of tea! The second and third with running buddies by my side."

#4 Join in the occasion

Through the official app, by running at the same time as the marathon and by having the opportunity to raise money for charity through your efforts, signing up for the Virtual TCS London Marathon provides an opportunity to be part of one of the biggest running events in the world. You may be running on your own or with a few friends, but through that connection to tens of thousands of other people, every step you take has much greater significance.

"I'd always wanted to take part in this world-renowned event. Two work colleagues were taking part for real, so it felt great to be involved in the buzz!"

#5 Receive the medal

Logging your miles in the official app means that so long as you complete 26.2 miles in the allocated 24 hours, you will receive the official TCS London Marathon medal, which is exactly the same as the one awarded to runners in the capital!

"If you weren't successful in the ballot, or you're looking to increase your mileage, I'd recommend the virtual event as a cracking option. You get the official medal too!"

Sign me up for the Virtual London Marathon