London's hidden gems will be celebrated when the capital’s latest half-marathon is held later this month.

Organisers of the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon, on March 25, will bring lesser-known cultural and historical attractions and past events to life through games, tours and plays for both runners and spectators to enjoy.

A total of 10,000 runners will start the race, which will finish by Downing Street.

While the route will take participants past major sites including Big Ben, the Tower of London and the London Eye, less recognised ones like Dr Johnson’s house, a secluded park outside the former Post Office headquarters and Roman baths will also be given the spotlight.

The race has been organised by children’s charity Tommy’s — with £4 million predicted to be raised for about 100 good causes. At the start on Pall Mall, runners will be given a “bowler hat send-off” by volunteers. The headwear was designed in London in 1849 by Thomas and William Bowler.

At mile five, Dr Samuel Johnson, who compiled A Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755, will be honoured with lawn games at his house in Fetter Lane, Farringdon.

At mile six, Postman’s Park — the green space outside the former GPO headquarters in St Paul’s — will host postal vans from across the years.

The Bow Bells will chime at St Mary-le-Bow church as runners pass it. In Guildhall Yard at mile seven there will be a “Roman Reception” featuring performances and activities plus a light history lesson, ahead of the hidden Roman bath house three miles further on at Billingsgate. 

Shortly after mile 12, the history of the suffragist movement will be brought to life. Not far onwards a Harry Potter Party will be in full swing.

And the final straight will see a “Historic Finish” with characters such as Henry VIII, Dick Whittington and Shakespeare greeting  runners.

Spectators on the closing stages in Whitehall will also enjoy a singalong by Pearly Kings and Queens.

Race director Lia Bowman said: “It was Tommy’s aim to not only create a great half-marathon with a fantastic route, but also showcase London’s fascinating history, vibrant culture and amazing people. We believe it will be the most exciting and interactive running event ever seen in London.”


Full article can be read here on the Evening Standard website.