The London Marathon has been postponed until 4 October because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced.
The race was due to take place on 26 April but organisers had been under increasing pressure to delay the event because of the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The race is worth tens of millions of pounds to hundreds of charities each year and has for the past 13 years broken the world record for the highest amount raised by an annual single-day fundraising event.
Hugh Brasher, event director, said in a statement that he knew the postponement of the race would be disappointing news for many, including the charities that receive funds from it.
“We know that there will be many, many questions from runners, charities and others and we ask you to please bear with us as we work through the detailed planning process to deliver the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on its new scheduled date,” he said.
“We will email all runners and charities today and then update them via email by the end of next week at the latest. We will also post regular updates on our website and social media channels.”
Charities with runners who are unable to take part in the postponed race in October will be able to substitute other runners in their place for the event that day.
London Marathon Events, which organises the race, said it would contact charities to outline the process and timescales "in due course".
The news of the postponement came after the chief executive of the National Brain Appeal called for the event to be delayed because of the virus.