The Virgin Money London Marathon today confirmed the full fields for the historic elite men’s and women’s races on Sunday 4 October.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the elite races at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will be held on a closed-loop circuit around St James’s Park in central London with the iconic finish on The Mall remaining the same as in previous years.
The races, which will also include a wheelchair race, will be held in a secure biosphere as has been the case with other major sporting events such as Test Cricket and Formula 1. No spectators will be allowed on the road-side to watch. BBC Sport, however, is planning eight hours of live coverage of the event.
The women’s race
Among the leading domestic women confirmed to race are Steph Twell, who ran a personal best (PB) of 2:26:40 in Frankfurt last year to go sixth on the British all-time rankings, and 2018 British marathon champion Lily Partridge.
The elite women’s field is headlined by world record holder Brigid Kosgei (KEN). Confirmed today are five other women who have run inside 2:20: current world champion Ruth Chepngetich (KEN), 2019 Valencia Marathon champion Roza Dereje (ETH), 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN), 2019 Frankfurt Marathon winner Valary Jemeli (KEN) and 2019 Amsterdam Marathon champion Degitu Azimeraw (ETH).
Ashete Bekere (ETH), the winner of last year’s BMW Berlin Marathon, Alemu Megertu (ETH), the 2019 Rome Marathon champion, plus Sarah Hall (USA) and Sinead Diver (AUS) are also included in a star-studded race.
The elite men’s race – headlined by Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) and Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – will include eight athletes who have run sub 2:05 marathons, including Mosinet Geremew (ETH) and Mule Wasihun (ETH) who were second and third respectively at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
The news that World Athletics will lift its suspension of the Olympic qualification system for marathon races from 1 September means there will also be athletes racing with the ambition to achieve the Olympic standard of 2:11:30. Sir Mo Farah will be a pacemaker for this group of Olympic hopefuls.
Those with a place in the mass-participation 2020 event will still have the chance to take part in The 40th Race by running the famous 26.2 mile marathon distance from home or anywhere in the world on the course of their choice. All finishers will receive the coveted finisher medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt. General entries open on Wednesday 26 August. In addition, all runners and charities will have the chance to defer their place to a future London Marathon – in 2021, 2022 or 2023.
The full elite wheelchair fields will be released next week.