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News06 Aug 2020

London Marathon to go ahead as elite-only race


Runners cross Tower Bridge during the London Marathon (© AFP / Getty Images)

After months of intensive work and consultation with London’s authorities, organisers of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum label race, today confirmed that the race's 40th edition will go ahead on Sunday 4 October as an elite-only event.

The race 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, with performances eligible for Olympic qualification.

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 women’s.

There will be no spectator access to maintain the biosphere but BBC Sport plans to broadcast eight hours of coverage during the day.

“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,” said Hugh Brasher, the marathon's Event Director.

“We had detailed plans to deliver a socially distanced mass participation event – either a run or a walk – and we were planning to utilise new technology to do this.

“Despite all our efforts, the fantastic support from all of our partners and the progress that has been made on planning for the return of smaller mass participation events that are not on the roads, it has not been possible to go ahead with a mass socially distanced walk or run."

Full details of the elite races and the elite fields will be announced later this month.

Organisers for World Athletics