Space experts and Guinness World Record chasers Dr Jonathan Scott and Libby Jackson will open the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon Expo at London Docklands' ExCeL Exhibition Centre at 11:00 on Wednesday 20 April, where around 38,000 runners are expected to register for this Sunday’s 36th edition of the race over the following four days.

Scott, who leads the Medical Projects and Technology Team in the Space Medicine Office at the European Space Agency, and Jackson, the Astronaut Flight Education Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency, will run the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon from Greenwich to The Mall on Sunday 24 April while their colleague Tim Peake runs the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon on a treadmill aboard the International Space Station.

Scott and Jackson worked closely with Peake on Earth to prepare him for his mission, but will compete against their friend on Sunday as they attempt to break Guinness World Records for completing the 26.2-mile race in space suits (male and female records, respectively). Peake, meanwhile, is aiming to become the first man to run a marathon in space.

Both have been an integral part of Peake’s team in the build up to his space mission. Scott was responsible for designing an exercise programme to counter the effects of living in microgravity and to get Peake in top condition for his digital marathon challenge. 

Jackson has used her experience as a former flight director on space missions to prepare Peake for his mission.

Once the pair have opened the giant metal doors on Wednesday morning, around 38,000 runners are expected to visit ExCeL before the Expo closes at 17:00 on Saturday 23 April. Runners will pick up their race numbers and Ipico Sports Timing Tags, and visit numerous stalls, displays and exhibitions dedicated to marathon running.

Some 70,000 people visit the London Marathon exhibition each year, and this year’s Expo is expected to be the biggest ever. Visitors will be able to wander around the many exhibitors’ stands, including all the major running brands, charities and international races, numerous athletics magazines, and a vast range of health and fitness products and services.

A number of elite runners and well-known faces will be appearing on the Expo’s Centre Stage, including Britain’s Paralympic champion wheelchair racer David Weir, London Marathon course record holder Wilson Kipsang, men’s world record holder Dennis Kimetto and women’s world champion Mare Dibaba, not to mention Britain’s double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes and BBC commentator Steve Cram.

There will also be plenty of last-minute advice available at the Experts’ Show where marathon coach Martin Yelling will be on hand, along with pacing experts from Runner’s World and sports scientists offering nutrition and hydration tips.

For more information on the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon Expo, including opening hours, please click here.