London Marathon to be held in October

River Thames, Buckingham Palace, London Eye and London Marathon. The long distance race held in United Kingdom’s capital city is now considered among the most significant athletic events. The 40th edition will take place on October 4th, as London’s authorities decided not to postpone it due to COVID-19 pandemic. The event will go on as one of the rare World Athletics Platinum label races during 2020 and it will be an elite-only event.

Under normal conditions, the race has several components: A mass race for the public, professional races for men and women long distance runners, even elite level wheelchair races  for men and a women and a mini marathon event for young athletes (under the age of 18). The mass race is the largest marathon event in the United Kingdom. There is a significant charity running aspect to the marathon, with participants helping to raise over £1 billion since its founding, including £66.4 million at the 2019 edition, which was the highest amount for a single-day fund-raising event.

The 2020 race will take place on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park, in a area described as a secure biosphere by the organizers. This is a contained safe environment like that of Formula 1 and England cricket, with performances eligible for Olympic qualification.

Despite the absence of tens of thousands mass amateur runners, this is one of the most important races held during this bizarre athletic year: The long-awaited head-to-head between Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia will headline the men’s race while world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya heads the one held for women. Of course, there will be no spectator access. However, BBC Sport, the country’s main sports channel, plans to broadcast more than eight hours of coverage.

The race is currently organised by Hugh Brasher, son of founder Chris, as Race Director and Nick Bitel as Chief Executive. Previously co-founders David Bedford and Bitel had overseen a period of great change for the race, including amendments to the course in 2005 which saw the cobbled section by the Tower of London replaced with a flat stretch along the Highway. Brasher said that the organizing committee has been working for months on a number of different scenarios with the health and safety of runners,  charities, sponsors, volunteers, medics and communities. They already have detailed plans to deliver a socially distanced mass participation event, either a run or a walk, and they’re planning to use new technology in order to do this.

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