| 6.1°C Belfast

Changed field as London Marathon restricted to elite athletes for 2020

 

Close

The 2020 London Marathon will be an elite-athlete only event, organisers have announced.  (Dominic Lipinski) (PA)

The 2020 London Marathon will be an elite-athlete only event, organisers have announced. (Dominic Lipinski) (PA)

PA

The 2020 London Marathon will be an elite-athlete only event, organisers have announced. (Dominic Lipinski) (PA)

The 2020 London Marathon will be an elite-athlete only event, organisers have announced.

Elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes will take place on an enclosed looped course in a secure biosphere in St James's Park on October 4, with the times counting towards Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification.

No spectators will be allowed at the 40th London Marathon, encompassing 19.8 laps around the park and finishing in the traditional place on the Mall.

"Today is a day of sadness, but also I think it's a day of certainty," event director Hugh Brasher said.

"It's a day where we're announcing what is appropriate - we think - for the 40th race. It's certainly not something we ever expected to do."

He added: "We hope people will get inspiration from the gods of our sport still battling it out over those 26.2 miles in the only world marathon race that is taking place in the fall."

Those who had planned to take part in the event - originally postponed from April 26 to October due to the coronavirus pandemic - have been offered the option to defer their places to the 2021, 2022 or 2023 events.

The 41st race in 2021 is also set to take place in the autumn, on October 3, to give people more certainty and confidence in the event going ahead.

Additionally, 45,000 people who were supposed to take part in the event in the spring will take part in a "virtual race" across the world, receiving a finisher's medal and T-shirt for completing the 26.2-mile distance from home anywhere in the world within 24 hours on October 4.

Belfast Telegraph