The mass participation London Marathon has been cancelled this year for good after being postponed due to the pandemic.
Organisers had previously delayed the event from April 26 to October 4 as the country was placed into lockdown. Now it looks likely that an elite athlete race around one of London’s Royal Parks will replace the event this autumn due to ongoing social distancing concerns.
The race will be headlined by the only two men to have completed the marathon in under two hours, two minutes, Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele, and there will be controlled access to limit fan numbers.
Organisers are expected to announce that the usual 26.2 mile event, which attracts around 40,000 amateur runners and huge crowds of supporters, will return in April 2021.
The Boston, Berlin, New York and Chicago marathons were also all cancelled this year, but London’s race director, Hugh Brasher, had been hoping the UK event could still go ahead. He pledged that a decision would be made by August 7.
The Virgin Money London Marathon has consistently raised millions of pounds for charity every year.
Kipchoge is currently the defending marathon champion and became the first man to complete the distance in under two hours at an unofficial race in Vienna last October, although the time was not included as a world record. He is now seeking a record fifth London title.
The Kenyan athlete has won 11 of the 12 marathons he has competed in, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and holds the official world record of two hours, one minute, 39 seconds.
He will be up against Bekele, who has three Olympic and five world championship golds under his belt for over 10,000 and 5,000 metres. He still holds the world record for both distances and has achieved 11 cross country world championship golds.
Last year he ran the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours one minute and 41 seconds, missing Kipchoge’s world record by two seconds.
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