The London Marathon organisers have announced plans for 50,000 competitors to run the marathon in the capital, with an additional 50,000 runners taking part virtually.
The event would break the record of 53,121 participants, which is currently held by the 2018 New York Marathon.
This year’s October event will only take place once most of the country has had their first Covid-19 vaccination, however.
But the event’s director, Hugh Brasher, is confident that the event will go ahead, and that they will break the record in the process.
“We are incredibly positive that we will be able to have 50,000 people running the London Marathon in person in 2021.” Brasher said. “The Government have been talking about the fact everyone will be vaccinated in the country by September. This is October 3rd, so we really hope that this is a beacon of hope in the future.
“Doubling the number of people doing the London Marathon will be a really important lifeline to charities in this incredibly difficult time for them.
“Allowing people to take part virtually also opens it up to those runners or walkers who might feel daunted by being in crowds, who need shielding, or simply want to break the challenge up into smaller bits throughout the day”.
Last year’s race did not take place for the first time in the event’s history, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has cancelled sport, entertainment and charity events across the country last year.
An elite-only race was held instead, with 37,966 runners taking part virtually. The event broke the Guinness World Record for the ‘most users to run a remote marathon in 24 hours’ - they will be looking to better that this time around.
This year’s marathon is set to better the event’s most participated marathon after 42,906 competitors ran in 2019.
Brasher added: “The world record-breaking success of the virtual event in 2020 and the incredible stories from participants across the globe showed how the world’s greatest marathon brought light and hope in the darkness of the pandemic.
“We want to offer that again and we have also accelerated the plans we have been working on for some years to increase the number of finishers on the streets of London to 50,000.
“People can run wherever they are in the world, they can run for charity, they can run for their mental or physical health, or run for the sheer enjoyment of it - whatever the reason, they will be part of a unique day in the history of the London Marathon on Sunday 3rd October.”
Author: Matt Slater