So that was something a little different! And whilst nobody can still say for sure exactly what sort of shape the 2021 London Marathon will take – this year was certainly one to remember: Brigid Kosgei winning her back-to-back titles, American Sara Hall working her way through the field and sprinting to a 2nd place finish; The three-way sprint for the line in the men’s race; And Brits Jonny Mellor (2:10:38) and Ben Connor (2:11:20) both running astounding Olympic Qualifying times. There was also the small matter of 45,000 marathon runners around the world attempting their own imagined London Marathons.
Regardless of where, who or how you were following the London Marathon you would be hard pressed not to feel a little inspired to take part and if that’s the case then you’ll be pleased to know that the ballot for next year’s race is already open! It opened online after yesterday’s race for all applicants. This is only the second time that the ballot system has opened on Race Day and it will remain open for six days to give everyone who would like to enter the event a fair chance to do. It will close at 17:00 BST on Friday 9 October 2020.
Applicants from the UK ballot should enter here.
International applicants (from outside the UK) should enter the international ballot here.
Runners from 109 countries entered the virtual marathon this year and each of them had 24 hours to complete a 26.2-mile course of their own choosing – they started from 00:00:00 BST on Sunday morning and needed to finish by 23:59:59 BST.
As of 18:00 more than 25,000 had completed their own unique London Marathons, including James Whaley, the Grimsby Town FC mascot, who ran 130 laps of the club’s home pitch at Blundell Park for the Make A Wish Foundation, which creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
A different marathon
“It was great to be part of such an amazing event with people taking on the same challenge across the country,” he said. “It was tough and particularly hard around mile 20, but I kept reminding myself of the kids who will benefit, which kept me going.
“Now I’ve finished it feels great and I can’t wait to get to the London Marathon proper next year.”
Anna Bassil also had a tough day, at one-point wading through a flooded section of her route at mile 14.
“The water was up to my knees for about a 300-yard stretch,” said the 40-year-old from St Albans, who was raising money for Save the Children dressed as a birthday cake and sporting bright pink hair.
“My costume and trainers got really heavy, and knowing I had to go back through it again at mile 18 was tough.
“But when people saw a big cake running past them, they couldn’t seem to help but smile and cheer me on, and that just filled me with happiness.
“Now I am letting the world know I completed it and have been part of a historic moment. When I receive my medal I will definitely celebrate with a glass of bubbly.”
Deborah James is also celebrating after completing her route around London’s Battersea Park. James hosts the You, Me and the Big C podcast and has been living with bowel cancer since being diagnosed in 2016.
“While we didn’t have the crowds, we had friends and family who were able to join us along the way, for 5K or 10K stretches. We couldn’t have done that in a normal year,” she said.
“Being able to see them along the way was amazing. Plus, we passed so many other people doing their own virtual races. That camaraderie with total strangers was very special.”
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “Our mission is Inspiring Activity, so we hope that everyone watching the coverage of the world’s greatest marathon on BBC Sport today is inspired to take on the challenge in 2021.”
“We hope that by opening the ballot on Race Day again, we will encourage viewers to get active, look after their physical and mental health, and take the first step towards joining us in London next year for the 41st edition of the event.”