The countdown is on – it’s just one week until #the40thrace, London Marathon’s 40th anniversary event. Over 45,000 will become history makers in what will be the race’s very first virtual event. Taking place on Sunday 04 October, runners will be lacing up and completing the 26.2 challenge in their very own way. From the Whitsundays to Manhatten, Covid-19 survivors to headline charity Mencap fundraisers, the class of 2020 are an incredible bunch. Here’s just some of the superstars:
Saying thank you to the NHS
61-year-old Simon Gallo is running the virtual London Marathon after being treated for coronavirus at Ipswich Hospital. He was treated by NHS staff in March when he developed complications from a weak immune system and almost had his leg amputated. Now recovered, Simon has committed to running laps of Ipswich Hospital to raise money for the NSPCC and the NHS, an organisation he believes, “is the best thing in the world.” Originally due to run in April, this will be his 25th consecutive London Marathon.
Grimsby Town fan to run 120 laps of his team’s pitch
Grimsby Town fan James Whaley, 33, will run more than 120 laps around his team’s home pitch at Blundell Park for the charity Make A Wish Foundation, which creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
Don’t let anyone stand in the way of your dreams: 20-year-old Aaron Plummer, from Walthamstow, London, is running for Mencap, the official 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year. Aaron, who has a learning disability, has been helping his community throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Mencap supported Aaron into his dream job in the hospitality industry and even during lockdown he took on shifts serving food at his local hospital. He is one of 312 people running the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon – Your Way for Mencap. To view the campaign video of Aaron and his teammates from the learning disability running squad, click here.
Ever Presents 40th Race
The London Marathon would not be complete without the presence of The Ever Presents – ten men who have run every single London Marathon since its inception in 1981. All ten members will take part in their local areas, including oldest member Ken Jones, 87, and youngest member Chris Finill, 62. Jones will run with his daughter Heather in his hometown of Strabane, Northern Ireland, while Finill has secured the use of the famous Top Gear racing track in Dunsfield Park, Surrey. He will be joined by fellow runners who will accompany him for sections of the race including Martha Wightman – sister of British middle-distance international Jake Wightman. Not quite an Ever Present, but impressively close, is Barbara Ralph, who will complete her 30th London Marathon when she runs eight laps of her local area in the Chilterns, Buckinghamshire.
All around the world
Runners from Australia to the USA will be taking part in The 40th Race. One of the first to get under way will be Timothy McQuoid-Mason who will be doing laps of the Whitsunday Islands in Australia while 43-year-old Charlie Osmond, who has been stranded in New York since the start of lockdown in March, unable to fly home to the UK. He will be running laps of Manhattan Island and hopes to finish in a time of 2:55. Meanwhile 61-year-old Australian Jeremy Wright will complete his 38th marathon when he runs his race in two parts: the first half from 7pm to 9pm AEST on Sunday 4 October (10am BST on Sunday 4 Oct) and the second leg at 5am AEST on Monday 5 October (7pm BST on Sunday 4 Oct). In total, runners from 106 different nationalities will be taking part in The 40th Race.
How will the 40th Race be different?
Participants have 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds to run, jog or walk the 26.2 mile distance on the course of their choice, anytime from 00:00 to 23:59:59 BST on Sunday 4 October. A new app, powered by TCS, will enable participants to log their 26.2 miles and earn the unique finisher medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt.
General entries were snapped up by runners from 81 different countries, 51 per cent women and 49% men. Outside the UK, the biggest number of entries came from Australia, Hong Kong and the USA.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director for the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “The response has been amazing and the spirit of the London Marathon will shine brightly across the globe on Sunday 4 October.
“London is the most popular marathon on the planet with more than 457,000 people applying in the ballot for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. This first virtual London Marathon, The 40th Race, has offered a unique chance for runners around the world to earn that coveted finisher medal and T-shirt and we believe it is the biggest virtual marathon ever staged. It is also the most inclusive race in our history with runners having 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds to complete the 26.2 miles.
“We hope that millions will be raised for charities by our participants.”
To find out more about The 40th Race and how you can track your loved ones and cheer on friends through the virtual event, visit www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com