The Olympic Marathon events start and finish in The Mall. There is a men’s event and a women’s event.
Athletes complete a first loop of 2.2 miles, which takes them to the River Thames, south to the Houses of Parliament, and back up to The Mall past Buckingham Palace. After this they run back to the river, and this time head east, towards the City of London and beyond to the Tower of London, in an eight-mile loop that is repeated three times before crossing the finishing line.
The Marathon is a straight final – the first athlete to cross the finish line is the winner.
Keys to success
Marathon running takes incredible reserves of mental as well as physical strength. The pace will be punishing and only a very few will be able to maintain it and save a final push for the finish.
Any number of factors can affect an athlete’s performance in the Marathon, from the conditions on the day that will suit some but not others, to the quality of preparation in the previous days, weeks and months. An athlete’s body and mind must be working in perfect harmony if he/she is to put in a good performance.