A virtual marathon is to be staged for runners disappointed that the flagship London event is for elite athletes only this year.
The Lon-dun Marathon is being organised by the Kendal-based Jogging Pals team, and invites runners to take part by completing 26.2 miles over seven days.
The actual race, which normally attracts 40,000 runners – many of them fundraising for charity – was due to be held in April, and was then postponed to October 4 due to the pandemic.
Organisers last week announced that the event would be for elite men, women and wheelchair athletes, on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park in a contained safe environment, and their times would be eligible for Olympic qualification.
Jogging Pals director Wayne Singleton, a UK Athletics Coach whose athletes and customers were among those due to run at London, said that he shared the disappointment of the many thousands but entirely understood the decision.
“It was the only safe way to proceed in the circumstances. But we want runners anywhere in the country to be able to experience the excitement of the event, and to put their training to good use,” said Wayne.
The Lon-dun virtual event allows those who might not be able to complete the full 26.2 mile distance in one go to achieve their own personal targets by taking up to seven days to run their own marathon.
Said Wayne: “We’re also aware that a great many charities depend on the sponsorship raised by fun runners and club athletes at the London marathon. By organising a virtual event like this, those runners can still approach their friends and colleagues to raise money for the charity of their choice.”
The Lon-dun Virtual Marathon can take place over the seven-day period from Monday September 28, to Sunday October 4. Entrants can run on as many days as they wish to clock up their 26.2 miles, and they can run on any terrain – road, trail or fell.
To qualify for a certificate, commemorative token and a runners’ buff, they must record their distances and times on Strava or Garmin and submit to Jogging Pals by the end of the following week (Sunday Oct 11).
The entry fee is £20 and details are here.