Prince Harry will open the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Expo at ExCeL London at 11:00 on Wednesday 19 April, where thousands of runners will register over the following four days for this Sunday’s 37th edition of the race.
Prince Harry is Patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust and, together with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is spearheading the Heads Together campaign to end the stigma around mental health and start a national conversation on mental wellbeing for everyone.
As the Charity of the Year for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, Heads Together is supporting eight charity partners who are raising awareness and providing help for people with mental health challenges.Once Prince Harry has cut the ribbon on Wednesday morning, around 39,000 runners are expected to visit the Expo before registration closes at 17:00 on Saturday 22 April. They will collect their race number, Ipico Sports Timing Tags and a goody bag and have the chance to visit numerous stalls, displays and exhibitions dedicated to marathon running.
This year, every runner will receive a blue Heads Together headband, along with a note from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, wishing them luck and encouraging them, no matter which important cause they are running for, to help Heads Together to make this the mental health marathon.
Prince Harry will also meet Heads Together runners to thank them for helping to change the conversation on mental health and for raising funds for the vital mental health support provided by the Heads Together charity partners.
In total, some 70,000 people visit the London Marathon exhibition each year, and this year’s Expo is expected to be the biggest ever. Visitors will be able to wander around the many exhibitors’ stands, including all the major running brands, charities and international races, numerous athletics magazines, and a vast range of health and fitness products and services.
Britain’s favourite running mum Jo Pavey is just one of a number of elite athletes who are scheduled to appear on the Centre Stage during the Expo. The 2014 European 10,000m champion is aiming to break her personal best in this year’s race and gain selection for Britain’s London 2017 World Championship team. Men’s race favourite and Ethiopian running legend Kenenisa Bekele will also be interviewed, as will Kenya’s two-time London Marathon winner Mary Keitany and British wheelchair star David Weir.
Other famous names who will be passing on their hopes and tips include TV’s Gogglebox favourite Baasit Siddiqui, four-time Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington, and double Olympic rowing champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, plus comedians Paul Tonkinson and Rob Deering.
There will be plenty of last-minute advice available too at the Experts’ Show where marathon coach Martin Yelling will be speaking. Pacing expert Katherine Kendall from Runner’s World wil also be available, as will sports scientist Anita Bean offering nutrition and hydration tips.
Visitors will be able to watch inspiring video footage from the history of the London Marathon, along with #ReasonToRun interview clips, while there’s also a dedicated massage area and a t-shirt printing service.
More details, including opening hours, can be found on the official website here.