2020 London Marathon: Delayed race will feature only elite runners and take new route

·4-min read

The 2020 London Marathon will use a different route and will only include elite runners when it takes place on 4 October.

The event, which has been pushed back from April, will not take the usual London road course and will instead take place on a looped 26.2 mile (42.2km) course around St James's Park.

No spectators will be permitted as the runners complete 19.8 laps of the park, which will also not involve the 45,000 "mass-event" runners due to coronavirus concerns.

Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele are expected to take part in the men's race.

Meanwhile, the women's race will be headlined by world record holder Brigid Kosegi, while Manuela Schar and David Weir will feature in the wheelchair event.

Athletes' times will be eligible for qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, which had to be rescheduled to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's London Marathon will be the 40th edition of the race.

Next year's London Marathon has already been pushed back from April to 3 October 2021 to maximise the possibility of a mass race returning.

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London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher said the increased likelihood of a second spike led to the recent cancellation of spectator trials at major events.

He said: "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."

Chloe, 29, was due to run the London Marathon to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.

Here, she tells Sky News that postponing the marathon could deprive charities of much-needed donations.

My name is Chloe. I'm 29 and I've been running for around three years now. I've conquered two marathons and London was set to be my third.

In February last year, I received the devastating news that my oldest friend had lost her battle with her mental health and as a result had taken her own life. She was 27.

Lisette was the most beautiful, friendly, bubbly, kind and thoughtful soul that I had the pleasure of knowing.

I spent the majority of my childhood with her growing up, from kids playing in the garden, to getting through exams, graduating uni and being "adults".

There was often mischief involved and when Lisette was around you were guaranteed to have fun.

She was always a shoulder to cry on and despite her own personal tragedies she would always be there for others, a true friend.

Life isn't quite the same without her now and she is missed endlessly by her family and friends.

For that reason, and with the blessing of her father Geoff, I decided to run the London Marathon for the mental health charity Mind in her memory. So that other people in Lisette's situation could get the support they need.

I believe that we are breaking barriers when it comes to mental health but there is still so much work to be done.

As a children's nurse I regularly see young people admitted with low mood, self-harm, anxiety, and suicide attempts. The waiting lists for community support is sometimes months. It simply isn't good enough. No one should have to feel like this and go through it alone.

I know that the postponement of the London Marathon this year will be a huge financial loss to so many charities and on a personal level it is disappointing not to be able to run.

Charities like Mind are essential for supporting mental health which has been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was able to boost my fundraising and exceed my target by completing the marathon over 4 days on the original marathon weekend in April.

I hope that other fundraisers won't lose hope and continue to raise much needed donations for their charities. I look forward to being able to run next year and continue to support the incredible work Mind do.