London celebrations

A rainbow carnival to welcome London Marathon runners after mile 21

London Marathon runners will be greeted by a rainbow carnival as they tackle what may be one of the toughest parts of the famous 26.2-mile course.

Rainbow Row, just past mile 21, will celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, promote inclusivity and create a party atmosphere to give attendees a boost at a time when some will be flexing mentally and physically.

“We should have done this years ago because London is an incredibly dynamic city and the London Marathon should really embrace that vibrancy,” event director Hugh Brasher told the PA news agency.

Mr Brasher said celebrating London’s diverse communities was “absolutely the right thing to do”.

The marathon has become part of the city’s culture, he said, adding: “I really think we can do more to show the diversity of this amazing city.”

He said London never really considered whether she wanted a marathon when the event was founded in 1981 by her father Chris Brasher and fellow athlete John Disley.

“What we have a duty to do is to represent London well,” he said, adding that everyone in the city should be able to feel part of it: “Rather than going through the communities, we want to be the community”.

Rainbow Row will be located on what is usually Butcher Row in Limehouse, a 250-metre stretch of road that is just past the 21-mile (33.8 km) mark on the course.

Event Director Hugh Brasher (Adam Davy/PA)

Mr Brasher said it “will be full of energy and fun, giving our participants great motivation at arguably the toughest part of the marathon”.

“But, more importantly, Rainbow Row continues our ongoing commitment to making the TCS London Marathon a truly inclusive event for all,” he said.

“I just think it’s going to be a joyful part of the course when people need a bit of joy because that’s one of the hardest parts and of course because that’s where the wall.”

A runner is said to have hit the wall during a marathon if they have depleted their glycogen stores, which are used for energy, and feel tired and often have negative thoughts.

Serpentine Swimming – Hyde Park
GAY club owner Jeremy Joseph helped set up Rainbow Row ahead of his 12th London Marathon (John Stillwell/PA)

Rainbow Row was planned with members of the LGBTQIA+ community, including Jeremy Joseph, the owner of GAY and Heaven nightclubs in London, who has run the London Marathon 11 times.

He will run his 12th London Marathon on October 2 and is aiming to raise £110,000 for 10 charities that represent the diversity of Rainbow Row, as well as the official TCS London Marathon of the Year charity, the British Heart Foundation.

He said: “Rainbow Row is so important because the participants come from all walks of life, including sexualities and gender.

“The love and support we show each other on marathon day is incredible and now we have a focal point where love wins before the painful final stretch to the finish line.”

Radio 1’s Adele Roberts is among the DJs who will be motivating participants with music on marathon day.