London Bridges Half Marathon

For a few years I imagined a half marathon that follows the Thames Path in London crossing every bridge along the way. On a chilly day in November, with only minor route planning on Google Maps, I gave it a go.

The route starts at Westminster Bridge, heading east towards Tower Bridge. The rules are that every accessible bridge must be crossed and each side of the river covered. This means a zig-zagging route up to Tower Bridge, then the opposite zig-zag back to Westminster and onwards to Chelsea Bridge. This marks the final turn back eastwards, finishing at County Hall on the South side of Westminster Bridge.

My Garmin read 14.1 miles at the end, 1 mile over a true half. Staying tighter to the river would have carved off most of that extra mile. I made this first attempt on a busy Saturday afternoon, and the crowds around Tower Hill and County Hall meant that a diversion was needed at times. My run took nearly 3 hours, mostly due to lack of carbs the day before and a very crowded route that became a slow walk in some parts. An early-morning crowdless route would be do-able in under 2hrs.

Its a great route for views of London and never boring. Its unlikely to be practical to be run as a large organised event due to the many road crossings and narrow alleys, but it works well for small groups.

Here's the details... (N) and (S) indicate North or South direction of travel across the bridge.

Section 1

  • Start at Westminster Bridge North side by the Houses of Parliament
  • Head east along the Embankment towards Tower Bridge
  • Cross Hungerford Footbridge (S), head east
  • Cross Waterloo Bridge (N), head east
  • Cross Blackfriars Bridge (S), head east
  • Cross the Millenium Footbridge (N), head east
  • Cross Southwark Bridge (S), head east
  • Cross London Bridge (N), head east
  • Cross Tower Bridge (S), now start heading back towards Westminster

Section 2

  • Cross London Bridge (N), head west
  • Cross Southwark Bridge (S), head west
  • Cross the Millenium Footbridge (N), head west
  • Cross Blackfriars Bridge (S), head west
  • Cross Waterloo Bridge (N), head west
  • Cross Hungerford Footbridge (S), head west
  • Cross Westminster Bridge (N), head west
  • Cross Lambeth Bridge (S), head west
  • Cross Vauxhall Bridge (N), head west
  • Cross Chelsea Bridge (S), now start heading east back towards Westminster

Section 3

  • Cross Vauxhall Bridge (N), head east
  • Cross Lambeth Bridge (S), head east
  • Finish at Westminster Bridge, south side by County Hall
Richard gowerComment