Photographing the 2018 London Marathon

The time went by so fast, and I didn't realize it was almost a year since the last event. This year the Virgin Money London Marathon was set on 22 April 2018. I wasn't watching the date, so almost by accident, I found out that it will happen on the last Sunday. Of course, I couldn't miss it.

I couldn't decide whether I should go to the same place like last year, or try to check some new spots. After looking at the course map, I decided to pick a different location and maybe get there earlier, to reserve the spot. It turns out, it wasn't that easy.

Map of the Virgin Money London Marathon route, miles 8 to 22
Map of the marathon route, miles 8 to 22 that I used to navigate

Mile 9, near Canada Water station

I arrived at the station around 9 AM and walked a bit along the street. The weather was gorgeous, it was warm and sunny, it seemed like quite a challenging day the marathon runners. I've settled for the spot a the corner of Canada Street & Quebec Way, thinking that I'd get a good view of runners running towards me. Sadly, later I saw that this wasn't the best choice.

First, there were couple waves of handicapped runners: on the wheelchairs, visually impaired and others.

2018 London Marathon
Wheelchairs athletes approaching

It is quite a powerful feeling when you realize that those people had to overcome their disabilities, train hard and be able to compete in such race!

2018 London Marathon
Visually impaired runner from Japan accompanied by her guide runner

Then, we had elite runners, women & men running past me very swiftly. Unfortunately, they were covered by the two cars with the crew & pro-photographers, and a bunch of people on motorcycles. It was really just a few moments as they ran and to be honest I didn't catch any spectacular photo.

2018 London Marathon
Mary Keitany, elite women runner accompanied by pacers and motorcycles
2018 London Marathon
Elite runners: Tola Shura Kitata, Daniel Wanrjiu, Kenenisa Bekele, Mo Farah on the course of 2018 London Marathon

Mile 11-12, Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge

I spend 2 hours waiting at the first spot, so I decided to cut through the neighborhood and check nearby part of the route, around mile 11.

When I arrived at the area of Rotherhithe, I realized that there's no chance of snapping good photos there. The street was pretty crowded with many, many people on both sides of the road.

2018 London Marathon
Rotherhithe area, literally packed with people on both sides

I knew that there's a tunnel nearby, Rotherhithe Tunnel - I initially planned to use it to get to the other side of the Thames river and see the 2nd part of the course around miles 14 & 21. Unfortunately, I couldn't check exactly where, because the network in this area was completely overloaded. Looks like everybody was sharing photos and videos from the race.

2018 London Marathon
Cheering crowds everywhere

But the atmosphere was great, people cheering the runners in many different ways so I decided to enjoy the rest of the walk maybe along the road and see if I find anything interesting. There were couple bands with live music, drums performance and both sides of the streets literally packed with spectators.

2018 London Marathon
Viking on a marathon route!

Mile 23, London Bridge to Temple

I thought I can cross the river along the route, at the Tower Bridge. When I arrived nearby, I realized how crowded it is! At least 50+ people were queueing to enter the stairs!

So, I went further along the south bank of the river towards The Shard & London Bridge and reached mile 23. This area was less busy, and I've got close access to the street.

2018 London Marathon
Runner 1764 on the course of London Marathon

I continued walking, taking occasional shots of the runners. It was still a front pack, around 3h-3:30 mark but definitely, the heat of the day had an impact on them. You could see many faces twisted into a painful grimace.

I have tremendous admiration for those folks running at such fantastic pace, which to me, its still beyond reach.

2018 London Marathon
You can see almost every muscle working towards next step

Own story to share

I finished at the Temple station as the further area was getting more crowded again and I was also feeling quite tired from the sun.

When I look at the photos from last year, however, I've got now some regret that I didn't stay longer photographing also regular runners.

Probably each of them has its own story to share. What pushes those runners to train for longs hours and challenge themselves to run for 26.2 miles?

2018 London Marathon
Declan - "Running For My Wife Teresa, Breast Cancer Survivor"

Many of them wear charity shirts, fundraising money for various causes. Who do they help? Each organization has their own team of volunteers and agenda. Each of them deserves a story…

Here is to you all, runners of 2018 London Marathon!

If you want to see all photos from the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon, feel free to visit my Flickr gallery.

Written and maintained with ♥︎ — Jan Kraus, 2007 — 2019