Huge decision for Hugh Brasher
40th London Marathon 2020 still in the balance
Around 50,000 marathon hopefuls have just received the news that the 40th Virgin Money London Marathon is still scheduled to take place on the rearranged date of Sunday 4 October.
Event Director Hugh Brasher sent a personal note to every single entrant yesterday (27 July) explaining the latest situation, which appears to be balanced on a knife-edge. Brasher and his team at London Marathon Events have been working closely with Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; Mayor’s Office; UK Athletics; Transport for London; The Royal Parks; emergency services and many other partners in a huge effort to get the race on this year.
While there are many positive signs, with the green shoots of road race competition emerging in England from 1 August, there are still some hurdles to overcome before arrangements for London Marathon can finally be approved by all parties.
Referring to documents released last week by UK Athletics regarding the resumption of road race and multi-terrain events in England from 1 August, Hugh Brasher states: “There are areas within these documents requiring further consultation with local NHS Trusts, the emergency services and local authorities, which means we are still unable to confirm our plans for another 10 days when that consultation will have been completed. I realise that this uncertainty is far from ideal and I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding in these very challenging circumstances”.
Showing full awareness of the needs of so many anxious runners, not to mention elite athletes, who now have less than 10 weeks to bring their training to a peak, Brasher has set a deadline of Friday 7 August for the final decision, saying: “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. 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 7 August”.
It looks like 10 more sleepless nights for all involved before there is any certainty but given what is at stake and the overarching need to ensure everyone's personal safety that seems to be a small price to pay to get this momentous decision absolutely right.
The full statement from Hugh Brasher can be read at the VMLM website here
Image courtesy Virgin Money London Marathon