Coronavirus: Decision on staging London Marathon 2020 delayed until next month

The event, originally scheduled for April 26, was postponed to October 4 after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the international sporting calendar in March.

The London Marathon routinely attracts close to 40,000 participants and this year's race was set to pit the world's fastest runners Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele against one another. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)   -  REUTERS

A decision on whether this year's London Marathon can be held has been pushed back until August 7, the organisers said on Monday.

The event, originally scheduled for April 26, was postponed to October 4 after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the international sporting calendar in March.

In an open letter to all participants on Monday, event director Hugh Brasher said the delay was due to a need for further consultation with local NHS Trusts, the emergency services and local authorities.

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“We know how important the Virgin Money London Marathon is to you, to charities and in showing the world the wonderful spirit of London, of Great Britain and of our running community,” he said.

“So please bear with us while we finish the extensive work we have been doing to try to enable us to run together, safely.

“I will be in contact with our final decision and the options available to you no later than Friday, Aug. 7.”

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The cancellation of September's Great North Run raised concerns about the London Marathon going ahead due to the challenges faced by organisers in implementing social distancing protocols.

The London Marathon routinely attracts close to 40,000 participants and this year's race was set to pit the world's fastest runners Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele against one another.

The event is last of the World Marathon Majors still hoping to be held this year after Boston, Berlin, New York and Chicago shelved plans for their 2020 races.

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