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With cancellation looming, London Marathon faces uncertain fate in 2021

After already postponing their event until October of this year, organizers are worried that the London Marathon might not be able to run until the fall of 2021

Photo by: Paofit

Even as the other World Marathon Majors crumble because of COVID-19, organizers of the London Marathon are holding onto hope that their event can go ahead as planned in October. But that hope seems to be quite thin, because according to a report from The Telegraph, race organizers are not only worried about this year’s event not being run, they’re also concerned that the April 2021 race date may not be feasible. The race has already been postponed once this year from April to October, and cancellation has seemed inevitable for a while now. Calling off next spring’s race would be a massive blow to the London Marathon, but without a vaccine, it looks like a very real possibility. 

Holding onto hope 

At the start of the pandemic, many spring races were postponed until the fall. The Boston and London marathons, both scheduled for April, were moved to September and October, and for a while, it looked like the fall racing schedule would be one of the most packed and exciting in the history of the sport. But as COVID-19 persisted and the odds of any races going ahead in the fall dwindled, one by one, races began to be cancelled.

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The Boston Marathon was first. A month later, New York City and Berlin were cancelled on the same day. On Monday, it was announced that Chicago will not be run in 2020, and now only London remains. Hugh Brasher, race director of the London Marathon, penned a letter to racers in June to address their concerns regarding the fate of the event. 

“The team at London Marathon Events has been looking at the logistics of the Virgin Money London Marathon and coming up with innovative ways to socially distance the event,” Brasher wrote. “We still don’t know whether we will be able run together, walk together and be together on that journey of 26.2 miles on October 4.” 

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Brasher went on to say, “While some may think what we are trying to do on [Sunday, October 4] is impossible, we will not give up hope.” 

Photo: Twitter/runnersworlduk

2021 uncertainty 

Brasher told The Telegraph that he and his team are “exploring all options for 2021 with our stakeholders.” This isn’t a good sign for any athletes holding onto hope that the event will be run in October. If London Marathon organizers are uncertain whether April 2021 will be a viable option for their race date, then it’s hard to believe that they seriously think that their October 2020 event, which is just a few months away, has a legitimate shot at being run. 

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Race organizers have said they will make an official announcement regarding the fate of the London Marathon on July 28.