Central London will be more chaotic than usual tomorrow as more than 35,000 runners descend on the capital to take part in the 35th London Marathon.
Among those taking part tomorrow will be elites such as defending men's champion Wilson Kipsang and world record holder Dennis Kimetto, as well as the “Fantastic Four” in the women's elite race, including last year's winner Edna Kiplagat, Florence Kiplagat and previous winners Mary Keitany and Priscah Jeptoo.
This edition will also be the last for Paula Radcliffe - the British distance running star is running her last race, at the venue where she set her colossal world record of 2:15:25 back in 2003.
What time will it start?
The first race to set off is the elite wheelchair race at 9am. Then the ambulant athletes take off from the blue start at 9:05am.
Elite women will begin at 9:20m, while elite men will start at 10:10am, along with the mass start.
Trust me, it'll be busy (Source: Getty)
The forecast for Sunday is just out and while it might be shaping up for a bad day for spectators, runners should be happy.
After our "mini heatwave" of the last week, Saturday and Sunday are looking distinctly cooler - around 8 degrees at 10am, when the mass runners set off, rising to 11 degrees throughout the afternoon. Factoring in the wind, the Met Office says it should feel a degree or two cooler than that.
There is also a 60 per cent chance of rain, though it seems likely the day will be cloudy with light rain, rather than a total wash out.
The London Marathon is 26.2 miles of tourist heaven (plus some other places).
Admittedly things start slow. The kick off is at Blackheath and runners will snake out around Charlton before passing the Cutty Sark and heading back towards Bermondsey.
The athletes cross Tower Bridge shortly before the half-way point and then head out towards the Docklands, and Canary Wharf and One Canada Square. Runners back on themselves to go past Tower Bridge and the Tower of London at mile 22.
Then runners head along the riverside, past the City, down the Blackfriars underpass and along the Victoria Embankment towards the Houses of Parliament for another three miles.
At mile 26 the runners will reach Birdcage Walk – Buckingham Palace will come into view, as will the finish line. Runners just have to get to the other end of The Mall and the endurance race is over.
But so worthwhile (Source: Getty)
Where is the best place to watch?
If you want to see the runners looking more spritely than sweaty, you should plump for a viewing spot in the first six miles. These are likely to be less busy than some of the points towards the end of the route so you should get a good position.
TfL is advising non-runners not to travel to the start line but there are plenty of other places along the first third of the race you can head to instead.
Mile six/seven (Trafalfar Road/Creek Road) will include views of the Cutty Sark, while crowds are generally quite thin at mile nine (Docklands).
Tower Bridge, where the race passes twice, is easily one of the busiest parts of the route – but also one of the most atmospheric – and you have two chances to see your friends/family/celebrity runners go past. There are also plenty of good pubs nearby.
All along Victoria Embankment is also fun to view – being near to the river there are naturally plenty of pubs and other sights to keep you occupied after you've waved on your 34,999th runner.
But of course if you want to spur people on to keep going at the finish line, you need to get to the Mall (just get there early, because you won't be the only one).
Where are the best pubs on the route?
Nearby British Oak is also popular, offering real ale and Sunday roasts.
Then there's The Princess of Wales, which also offers real ale, speciality beers and ciders as well as Sunday roasts.
If you're heading towards the Cutty Sark, there's the nearby Admiral Hardy or the Greenwich Tavern slightly back towards the park. There is also the Mitre Hotel, which boasts a “rousing” Bloody Mary among its drinks line up as well as good food.
You might find the pubs at this section too busy to even make it to the bar, but why let that stop you trying.
There's the Draft House on the run up to the bridge, which serves good beer and burgers, or the Perkin Reveller on the other side of the river. Away from the route there is Turner's Old Star – which was once actually owned by the artist – and the 16th century riverside pub the Prospect of Whitby.
If you're going to watch, Tower Bridge is probably the buzziest part of the route (Source: Getty)
Heading towards Canary Wharf is Thameside gastropub The Narrow (Limehouse) and 16th century pub The Grapes, while there is the Cat and Canary by Poplar. If all that running is making you hungry you could try Boisdale of Canary Wharf. Heading back towards central London the route will go past Wapping, where the Town of Ramsgate could be a good riverside option.
There are plenty of pubs along the final few miles along the river or just set back, including The Blackfriar, The Banker, The Old Bell, Ye Old Cock Tavern, The Lyceum, and of course Gordon's Wine Bar.
The Finish Line
If your runner can manage a little further, The Phoenix offers a seasonal menu to refuel and a celebratory glass of champagne. Meanwhile there is Grade II listed pub St Stephens on Parliament Square or the Bag O'Nails close to the finish line.