Anyone who has run a marathon will know that things don’t always go to plan, especially trying to run at a steady, consistent pace.
That makes it tough for on-course spectators to know when the runners they want to support will be passing them. There’s a risk that they’ll miss them entirely, especially when dealing with the crowds at the London Marathon.
Fortunately, the London Marathon app makes it easy to track where the runner, or runners, you’ve turned out to support are on the course. It can also help people watching from afar who want to see if a runner is in with a chance of reaching a time goal. The app predicts a runner’s finish time so you can be ready to watch them cross the finish line on BBC iPlayer, or using the red button.
Here’s everything you need to know to track a runner using the London Marathon app.
How can you track a runner in the London Marathon?
Search by name or race number in the tracking section of the London Marathon app, and add runners to a list so you can check on them all. Then you can track them around the interactive map in the app, which also provides predicted times for when they’ll reach certain points of the marathon based on how fast they’re running.
You can add an unlimited number of runners to your tracking list and get notifications when they hit each 5km marker, along with the halfway point. If participants run with their phone, they can also enable live GPS tracking in the app and allow up to three people to see their precise location.
How can runners turn on live GPS tracking?
For runners to get the most out of the app, and enable live GPS tracking, they need to log in to the My Marathon section using their booking reference number, email address and date of birth. These details are in the official email sent to runners about the app’s launch.
We also recommend enabling live GPS tracking before arriving at the start line because the mobile data signal can struggle.
When will the 2023 London Marathon app be available to download?
Update Wednesday 19th April: The app is available to download now.
Is the London Marathon app free to use?
Yes. There is no charge for the London Marathon app and it can be found on the app store on your phone.
How accurate are the course times and location tracking on the London Marathon app?
Coach spoke to Gowri Prabhu, project manager for the TCS London Marathon app, and Michelle Taylor, head of global sports sponsorships at TCS, to discuss the accuracy of course times and location tracking.
“Course times are 100% accurate,” says Prabhu. “We get information about each of the splits that the runner does during the marathon.” This information comes from the chip in the bibs each runner wears.
“Spectators can see their exact location on the map if a runner switches on GPS live location tracking in the app and runs with their phone,” says Prabhu.
More Reasons To Download The London Marathon App
Before the race, you can submit a 30-character message of support that may display on the digital gantry as runners finish. You’ll find the feature under the Belief Booster section of the app.
The Belief Boosters feature first appeared last year and Taylor encourages all supporters to submit one. “They are really powerful for runners to see,” she said, noting that around 163,000 were submitted in 2022.
Runners should also ensure they download the app, because it provides all the key logistical information needed to get to the London Marathon Expo as well as QR code you need to collect your bib at the Expo.
The app also suggests trains to take for individual arrival times on race day, although we also recommend checking our London Marathon travel guide nearer the time, and it will also be the fastest way to check your official time after you’ve finished the race.
More Helpful Information
- The Best Places For Spectators To Watch The London Marathon
- The Runner’s Guide To The London Marathon Route
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
- Lois MackenzieFitness writer