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London Marathon Runners Told They’ll Have To Take Part From Home

Sun Aug 09 2020

Only ‘elite’ racers will be able to take part in London’s 40th Marathon this October

London Marathon organisers have confirmed that their 40th ever marathon will still take place on the 04th October this year but won’t be conforming to the normal format.

In a recent announcement the organisers confirmed that only ‘elite’ athletes would be taking part, in an enclosed course around St James’s Park.

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Elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes will take place on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park in a secure biosphere (a contained safe environment like that of Formula 1 and England cricket) and times will be eligible for Olympic qualification.

London Marathon Statement

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Runners who have already booked a ticket have been told they can still take part by running at home or in a different location or instead, any runner or charity that wishes to can defer their place to the 2021, ’22 or ’23 Marathon.

Commenting after the announcement, many leading charities are concerned this will lead to ‘significant drops’ in the charitable funds raised by the annual event.


The London Marathon has already been moved from it’s normal date in April to try and accommodate as many runners as possible but the not-for-profit sector fears that the money raised for charity will be no where lasts years total of £66.4m.


Event Director Hugh Brasher has said that the organising committee has been working on numerous different alternatives to try and still deliver a mass participation event but that this format was the safest for all concerned.

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We have been working for months on a number of different scenarios with the health and safety of our runners, our charities, our sponsors, our volunteers, our medics, our communities and our city always our priority. However despite all our efforts [...] it has not been possible to go ahead with a mass socially distanced walk or run.

If existing runners do not want to take part in the 2020 Marathon their places will be offered to other runners who would like to raise vital funds for charity.

Hugh Brasher – London Marathon Event Director

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Mencap, the official NonProfit partner of the 2020 London Marathon discussed their disappointment around the new format on Twitter:

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As the official charity partner of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, we're obviously disappointed the usual event isn't going ahead. We had lots of exciting and creative ideas for race day. We wanted to use the partnership to greatly increase vital awareness of Learning Disability and raise £1.5 million for people with a learning disability. It is such a tough time for fundraising and more than ever we need everyone's support. We are so grateful to our incredible Team Mencap runners, including our brilliant runners with a learning disability.

We will raise as much money as possible to make positive change and tackle stigma around learning disability.

Mencap Statement

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It was Mark Brider however, Chief Exec of Children With Cancer UK that first raised concerns the new format would lead to significant drops in the levels of fundraising for charitable organisations.

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Bringing in over £3m worth of donations a year, the Virgin Money London Marathon is Children with Cancer UK’s largest single fundraising event, so we are of course extremely disappointed to hear the news that the Marathon will not be taking place in its usual format. While we hope many of our runners will still take part in the virtual run, it is very likely we will see a significant drop in the level of funds raised.

This large loss in income will greatly impact the work that we are able to support both this year and beyond.

Mark Brider - Chief Executive, Children With Cancer UK

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Sun Aug 09 2020

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