WHEN IS THE LONDON MARATHON 2023 AND WILL MO FARAH BE RUNNING?

Mo Farah has insisted he would only have entered the London Marathon if he thought that he could be competitive after being forced out of the event last year with a hip injury following an impressive victory in the inaugural 'Big Half' race over 13.1 miles.

Farah was beaten over 10,000m by club runner Ellis Cross last May but was then matching Bashir Abdi, the Olympic marathon bronze medallist who eventually finished third in London, during training before injury struck. This year will see Farah's return to marathon running for the first time since 2018.

"I just want to give it one more shot and it all depends on my body to see what I can do," said Farah. "I'm not a spring chicken. I'd love to be able to finish at home. It's just nice to say 'goodbye' and I think it will be quite emotional. At the same time, I just kind of think in my mind: 'Now just get ready for London and see where I am'. It's not long to go now before I retire, for sure.

"I wouldn't want to compete unless I was competing with the guys. It's one race at a time. I don't think I'm going to go to another Olympics. But, at the same time, I'd like to be able to just see what I can do.

"2023 will probably be my last year. But, if it came down to it towards the end of the year, and you are capable and got picked for your country, then I would never turn that down."

When is it?

The London Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 23, 2023.

What time does it start?

  • 08.30am BST: Mini London marathon
  • 08.50am: Elite wheelchair races
  • 09.00am: Elite women's race
  • 09.30am: Elite men's race and mass start

What is the route?

The London Marathon route has remained largely unchanged since the inaugural race in 1981 and encompasses many of the capital's landmarks, old and new. The course is very flat with only one small rise.

The triple start winds out of Greenwich Park and Blackheath Park, loops through Greenwich and across Tower Bridge. Circling Canary Wharf, the course runs along the Thames past the Tower of London through Trafalgar Square and onto The Mall where you will finish in front of Buckingham Palace. The course is one of the world's fastest.

What TV channel is it on?

The elite races and the mass participation event on Sunday will be broadcast live on the BBC from 08:30am, as well as on the Red Button and iPlayer.

Is Mo Farah running?

Yes. Farah finished eighth in the Port Gentil 10km race in Gabon on April 8, in a warm-up for what is expected to be his final London Marathon.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist crossed the line with a time of 30min 41sec, two and a half minutes behind race leader Vincent Kipkemoi of Kenya who finished with a time of 28min 11sec in a field dominated by the East Africans – 10 of the top 12 finishers were from Kenya.

Farah, who announced his likely retirement from the sport in January for the end of the year, has been training in Ethiopia ahead of this year’s London Marathon.

After finishing third in London in 2018, the British runner has not been able to return to marathon running after sustaining a hip injury last year that prevented his participation.

The 40-year-old will be joined by an impressive line-up, including four of the five fastest men in history. Whilst four-time London Marathon winner and world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge will be absent, the likes of Kenenisa Bekele, Birhanu Legese and defending champion Amos Kipruto will all be competing.

What are the best viewing spots?

Here's what the official London Marathon website suggests...

If you want to follow your loved ones and try to get a glimpse of them as they pass, we suggest that you avoid very crowded areas, where it can be difficult to find a viewing spot, hard to move around and tough to get in and out.

Busy areas include Greenwich town centre and the Cutty Sark. While the ship is undoubtedly a beautiful backdrop for the race, the crowds that are attracted here can make spectating uncomfortable and transport in and around Greenwich becomes particularly busy. We strongly advise spectators to avoid this area.

Tower Bridge is always extremely busy, as is anywhere from mile 24 to the finish in The Mall. Obviously many of you will eventually end up in this area later on in the day as you head to the runner meet and greet area in Horse Guards Road.

What is the latest news on environmental protests?

By Tom Morgan

Police face an "immensely" tough task safeguarding the London Marathon from disruption, experts warn amid lingering worries that activists may yet plot sabotage. 

Fears of large-scale chaos eased on Wednesday after Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion indicated during meetings that they will not target Sunday's event. However, major climate change demonstrations are still due to take place elsewhere in London. 

Following chaos from Animal Rising at the Grand National and Just Stop Oil at snooker's World Championships in the last week, police will remain on high alert for potential disruption attempts. 

Security experts described how the 26.2-mile route through the capital represents a "much tougher" task for police than at Aintree last week. The Met Police has yet to comment on its plan, but Rowland Stone, a former Scotland Yard dog handling chief of 30 years, says the task this week is "hugely complex". 

Stone, whose Tyler Security firm works with a host of Premier League clubs, said. "Quite simply, it's really immensely difficult to coordinate everybody over such a huge amount of ground, 26 miles plus. 

"Look how difficult it was at the Grand National. In comparison to the London Marathon, they have a small amount of fences to cover. Anyone can run on this Sunday. 

"It's very difficult as you need to weigh up whether to prioritise the elite runners and you also have to prioritise what you think your vulnerable points are. Spectators are important in all this too. Everyone will have to be vigilant."

It is 10 years since the Boston Marathon bombing and Alex Bomberg, whose Intelligent Protection firm provides security for athletes and the celebrity world, added that, as always, "the main concern" is "of course, terrorism". 

"Dealing with protesters who may carry out their activities at multiple sites, is a different matter," Bomberg added. "Activist groups such as XR and Just Stop Oil present a real challenge to organisers and those carrying out security risk assessments due to their tactics."

"With a 26-mile route, plus other areas to consider, such as key routes around London on race day, the police and the organisers will need to assign extra assets to ensure that any disruption is dealt with quickly and that they have contingency plans in place." 

How will transport be affected?

Roads will likely be closed across south east and central London between 4am and 7pm, while buses in central London and Greenwich will probably terminate early, or be diverted, from 6.30am to 7.30pm. DLR runs a changed service until 5pm.

What are the current marathon records?

2hr 1min 9sec is the men's fastest time, set by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin in 2022.

Brigid Kosgei set the women's world record of 2hr 14min 4sec at the 2019 Chicago Marathon.

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