The London Marathon scheduled to take place on April 26 has been postponed to October 4 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The organisers made the announcement on Friday, with event director Hugh Brasher citing health as a priority as the world continues to battle with containing the virus.
“The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of COVID-19 and public health is everyone’s priority,” Brasher said.
World record-holder Eliud Kipchoge was among the first top athletes to react to the news of the cancellation of the marathon on social media, expressing his disappointment while still sharing a message of positivity.
It is unfortunate news that the @LondonMarathon has been postponed but I fully respect the decision made by the organization as safeguarding the health of the world always takes our top priority. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/q6ZYFXEgzt
— Eliud Kipchoge – EGH???????? (@EliudKipchoge) March 13, 2020
“It is unfortunate news that the London Marathon has been postponed but I fully respect the decision made by the organization as safeguarding the health of the world always takes our top priority. To the thousands of runners who with me, have devoted the last months of our lives towards this goal I would like to say: Be proud of the work you have put into this journey, keep smiling and seek your next goal on the horizon to continue running in a smooth and positive way. I hope to share the starting line with you again soon,” said Kipchoge.
Kipchoge and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele were set to go head to head in a contest for the ages, as was Kenya’s women’s record-holder Brigid Kosgei.
Kipchoge broke the two-hour marathon barrier in Vienna last October in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.
The marathon was intended to be an Olympic qualifying event for Team Great Britain. British Athletics said it would hold a separate marathon trial for the Tokyo Games “in a closed location, with limited numbers” potentially around April 25 to 27.
The Boston Marathon, another one of the six World Marathon Majors, has also been postponed to mid-September.
These developments come days after the Kenyan Ministry of Sports banned athletes from travelling to any international sports events for the next month following the global outbreak of Covid-19.
The decision to push this year’s London Marathon to October 4, means the race will now take place on the same day as the Cardiff Half Marathon.
Brasher, thanked every institution that came to support them during this time and expressed optimism of finding the best dates for future races.
“We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received from City Hall, the London boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, the City of Westminster and the City of London, Transport for London, the emergency services, the Royal Parks, BBC TV and many others as we worked to find an alternative date. The 40th race is scheduled to go ahead on Sunday, October 4, 2020.”
Here are the new major marathon schedules:
Boston Marathon – September 14
Berlin Marathon – September 27
London Marathon – October 4
Chicago Marathon – October 10