Charity runners might not be able to take part in rescheduled London Marathon

The event was put back to 4 October because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it might not be able to go ahead as normal if social distancing measures remain in place

Runners at last year's London Marathon (Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Runners at last year's London Marathon (Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

The London Marathon might have to be reserved for elite runners only, meaning thousands of charity runners would not be able to take part, its race director has admitted. 

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Hugh Brasher said that organisers still hoped to hold a full version of the postponed race in October, but there were concerns this might not be possible if social distancing measures persisted. 

About 45,000 people are expected to take part in the 40th edition of the marathon, which was originally due to take place yesterday, raising tens of millions of pounds for good causes. 

Charities have been concerned about the effects of delaying the huge amounts of funds that are raised for good causes through the marathon each year. Last year’s event raised a record £66.4m.

Marathon organisers helped to put together the 2.6 Challenge, which began over the weekend, in a bid to raise funds to help charities that faced delay to any London Marathon proceeds. 

Brasher said the “flame was still burning” and the rescheduled marathon could take place on 4 October. 

But when asked whether the postponed event might have to be for elite athletes only if social restrictions had not eased completely in October, he said: “Honestly, I don’t know. But in today’s society, you can never say never. We are trying to stay really agile and to keep scenario planning. And at the moment, I don’t want to discount anything until it becomes really impossible.”

He said a final decision would be made by the end of August at the latest, based on government guidelines and what organisers and society thought was the right thing to do.

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