U.S. Markets closed

London Marathon tracker 2019: How to follow your friends' and family's running progress

Telegraph Sport
Here is how to keep track on your friends and family on April 28 - AFP

The London Marathon is very nearly with us again, one of the biggest distance-running events in the world, bringing together people of all ages and abilities on one course.

Such an epic 26-mile undertaking means that entrants need all the support they can get, and thanks to advances in technology it's now a great deal easier to track your friends' progress than it was back in 1981, when the Marathon was born. 

So whether you're at home, on the go, or spectating around the course, here are a few tips on how to follow your runners throughout the day. 

Official app and online tracker

The Virgin Money London Marathon ran its own mobile app, powered by TCS, for the first time in 2015, to make it easier for friends and family of participants to track the race as it progresses. 

The service was available on Android for the first time in 2017, having previously been an iPhone exclusive, while last year's was downloaded 360,000 times.

New features for 2019 including tracking an unlimited number of friends and family, with progress monitored every five kilometres.

Credit: VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON

People will be able to donate directly to their runner's chosen charity through the app. Spectators will also be able to keep an eye on the world's best athletes through the 'Ones to Watch' segment.

Split times and race times will be regularly updated, as well as the overall leaderboard. Updates are calculated using timing mats that runner cross every five kilometres. 

The android version is available here and the iPhone version here.

Running apps

There is a range of other apps available on both Apple and Android that use GPS tracking and automatically deliver live updates to followers online.

These smartphone apps can provide more detailed and personal way to follow a friend than the official website. Set up before the marathon starts, the smartphone will send progress reports via email and social media throughout the race.

Some of the running apps are free, but to access the live-tracking facilities with the likes of Garmin Fit and RunKeeper you’ll have to sign up for the paid subscription service. 

To avoid the battery running out mid-race, make sure you pull back to the Home screen so that the app is only operating in the background.  

It’s also best to be aware that during past London Marathons, these mobile means of tracking have had problems with overload.

Arithmetic

If you’re out on the course looking to spot a specific runner, you can also use good old-fashioned mental arithmetic to ensure you’re in the right place at the right time. 

Provided your charge has done a modicum of training – enough that they can take a stab at their average minutes-per-mile – and you know what time they start, you can make a fair guess what time they’ll hit each mile marker around the course. 

Three hours 48 minutes is the average time for male racers, while four hours 23 mins is the average time for female finishers.