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Ever Presents ‘disappointed’ by London Marathon postponement

The 10 strong group of men are the only runners to have taken part in every London Marathon since its launch in 1981.

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Ever Presents (left to right) Terry Macey, Ken Jones, Roger Low, Malcolm Speake, Jeff Aston, Chris Finill, Mike Peace, Charles Cousens, David Walker and Bill O’Connor (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Ever Presents (left to right) Terry Macey, Ken Jones, Roger Low, Malcolm Speake, Jeff Aston, Chris Finill, Mike Peace, Charles Cousens, David Walker and Bill O’Connor (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Ever Presents (left to right) Terry Macey, Ken Jones, Roger Low, Malcolm Speake, Jeff Aston, Chris Finill, Mike Peace, Charles Cousens, David Walker and Bill O’Connor (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The veteran runners who have taken part in every London Marathon so far remain optimistic about this year’s event despite a five month postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision to delay the 40th London Marathon from April 26 until October 4 was announced on Friday.

Event director Hugh Brasher said he knew the news would be disappointing for runners, charities and spectators but added that “public health is everyone’s priority” during “an unprecedented situation”.

2020 Virgin Money London Marathon
Ever Present Terry Macey, with his London Marathon medals at his home in Blackheath, south east London (Yui Mok/PA)

Terry Macey, who is one of the 10 men who have run every London Marathon since the race’s launch in 1981, told the PA news agency: “I was disappointed to hear the news.”

The 71-year-old solicitor, whose home and office are near the event’s start line in Blackheath, south-east London, added: “Switching to the positive I am looking forward to training through the summer.

“Of course I shall take part!”

2020 Virgin Money London Marathon
Roger Low, 76, has competed in every London Marathon since the event started in 1981 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Fellow Ever Present Roger Low said the date change may mean he drops out of the New York Marathon which is on November 1.

Mr Low, 76, from Camden Town, north London, told PA:  “In my youth, four weeks between runs would have been quite adequate but, now, I doubt that I will attempt NYC, after running London on Oct 4 2020.”

Mr Low, who works in investor relations, added: “I’m sorry to hear about the postponement but I understand that these are unique times and require dramatic action, for the public good.

“On a personal basis, I’ve been building up my training but that’s never ‘wasted’ and I can, now, take it a little easier, for a while.

“I do regret, however, that running my 40th has been delayed as, at age 76, I just wanted to nail this one, get it over, and, then, in a year, review whether I would continue running marathons, or not.”

2020 Virgin Money London Marathon
Chris Finill at the finish line of the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon (Jonathan Brady/PA)

School bursar Chris Finill, 61, from Cranleigh, Surrey, told PA: “I’m obviously disappointed.

“However, I also know  that Hugh Brasher and the London Marathon team would  have put a  lot of thought and care into this very difficult decision.”

Mr Finill, who fell and broke his arm in 2018 but still finished in three hours and 54 minutes to retain his Ever Present status, added: “One of the main reasons for taking part in the marathon is to improve or maintain health so we all have to view  the postponement through that particular prism.”

2020 Virgin Money London Marathon
Dr Malcolm “Mac” Speake shows off his race medals at his home near Ipswich (Joe Giddens/PA)

Charles “Len” Cousens, 77, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, is one of the group who has said the 40th event may be his last, previously telling PA: “Forty is a good round number.”

Following the date change, the gentleman’s barber said: “I understand the situation but I just hope we are not over reacting.”

More than 40,000 people run the marathon each year while around 750,000 spectators line the streets to cheer them on.

Organisers said all runners with a place in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will be able to take part in the rescheduled event without any further payment.

Those who choose not to take part, or are unable to do so, on the rescheduled date can choose to have their entry fee refunded or can donate it to The London Marathon Charitable Trust.

PA