London Marathon director Hugh Brasher still ‘hopeful’ race can go ahead in October

Hugh Brasher insists he is still “hopeful” the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will go ahead after growing speculation that the race will be cancelled.

Coronavirus forced the iconic race to be postponed with 4 October now the revised date.

But with uncertainty surrounding races still due to Covid-19 and other major races such as the Great North Run conceding defeat and cancelling this year’s edition, runners have been clamouring for more information surrounding London.

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The Great North Run’s founder Brendan Foster claimed it would be “extremely difficult” for London to go ahead in under four months.

But Event Director Brasher insists the decision made by the Great North Run has not influenced the London Marathon and that he remains “hopeful” the race can go ahead as planned in October with the team working hard to find a solution on how they can “socially distance the event”.

“The team at London Marathon Events has been looking at the logistics of the Virgin Money London Marathon and coming up with innovative ways to socially distance the event,” Brasher said.

“We have also been working with other mass participation event organisers in the UK, including the Great Run Company and Human Race, to make recommendations to the UK Government on how mass participation events can return.

The next update from Brasher will come in five weeks on 28 July.

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Why new London Marathon date might be a blessing in disguise

 

Hugh Brasher letter in full

Dear Runners

The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon

I hope all has been well with you over the past month and that you, your families and loved ones are fit and healthy.

I am sure earlier this week you will have seen the news that the Great North Run was sadly, but understandably, cancelled.

There has been much speculation that this means the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will also be cancelled. However, it doesn’t.

All road races have unique challenges. These might be transporting people to the start; transporting them from the finish; the density of runners on the course; the density and movement of spectators; providing runners with appropriate medical care and facilities such as loos and drinks; dealing with the logistics of road closures and reopenings – the challenges are always different for every race.

The team at London Marathon Events has been looking at the logistics of the Virgin Money London Marathon and coming up with innovative ways to socially distance the event.

We have also been working with other mass participation event organisers in the UK, including the Great Run Company and Human Race, to make recommendations to the UK Government on how mass participation events can return.

As I write, there are currently just over 15 weeks before the planned date of our 40th Race on Sunday 4 October. Therefore, on the usual timescale for our event, we are currently at the equivalent of the first week of January.

That means there is still plenty of time to train and there is neither a need, nor should there be a desire, to be at your peak fitness yet.

We still don’t know whether we will be able run together, walk together and be together on that journey of 26.2 miles on 4 October. Almost every day we hear hopeful news from other countries and we hear tales of despair.

However, what we do know is that we have hope, desire and ingenuity. Hope that the world will have found a way through Covid-19 by October. Desire to show the positive effects of running a marathon, running for communities and good causes. Ingenuity of thought, technology and people.

So please, focus on your own health and the health of those around you. Focus on running and exercise. It is great for you physically and mentally.

I assure you that whatever decision we take about 4 October, it will be taken in line with our values and with the responsibility we have to you, our runners, our charities, our sponsors, our volunteers, our medics, our communities and our city.

Just over 40 years ago, on 26 October 1979, my father Chris Brasher, the co-founder of the London Marathon, started his column in The Observer with these words:

To believe this story, you must believe that the human race can be one joyous family working together, laughing together, achieving the impossible…

From those words, the first London Marathon was born.

While some may think what we are trying to do on Sunday 4 October is impossible, we will not give up hope.

The 40th Race should be a day that shows the best of humanity. A togetherness, a joy and a celebration of everything we treasure.

I look forward to that day.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will be in touch again on 28 July.

Take care.

Best wishes from all the team at London Marathon Events

Hugh Brasher

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