An open letter from Virgin Money London Marathon Event Director Hugh Brasher
The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon
The London Marathon has always been so much more than ‘just a marathon’.
From the first year in 1981 when Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen crossed the finish line hand in hand, it has symbolised and represented one of its founding aims: ‘to have fun and provide some happiness and a sense of achievement in a troubled world’.
Those words of our founders Chris Brasher and John Disley ring so true as we live in these challenging days of lockdown, social distancing and a society trying to readjust to a new world.
As you know, the rescheduled date for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon is Sunday 4 October. At this point, we cannot be certain if the event can go ahead or, if it can, in what form it can take place.
We know that you would like certainty. We understand and acknowledge that you want to know if you should start serious training or restart your fundraising campaign.
However, much as we would like to, we cannot offer you certainty.
We announced the postponement on Friday 13 March. Back then, which now seems a lifetime ago, we were confident that we would be able to stage The 40th Race on our new date of Sunday 4 October. But this is a world where things are changing so rapidly on a day to day basis and that is now far from certain. The London Marathon Events team is working hard on many different possible scenarios and, as circumstances change, we come up with new ideas.
We know we have a huge responsibility to you, our runners, but we know that responsibility goes much further. It extends to our charities which, through the sweat of a record 42,549 finishers, raised an incredible £66.4 million in 2019. It extends to our staff, our elite athletes, our volunteers, our medics, our communities and our city.
Every decision we make will be in line with our values. This is about far more than putting on a marathon. We need to be sure it is right for society.
The last three months have taught many of us a resilience and adaptability that shows our human spirit at its best. We believe that the next three months will further underline that and we hope that you remain fit, healthy and safe.
Together as runners, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, we should continue to support each other and we all look forward to the day when running the 26.2 miles from Greenwich to Westminster again embodies that founding aim: to provide some happiness and a sense of achievement in a troubled world.
Thank you for your understanding and please take care of yourself. We will update you next on 21 June.
Best wishes from all the team at London Marathon Events
Event Director, London Marathon Events
Our vision: Inspiring Activity
Our values: Inspiration, Excellence, Integrity, Together and Fun
- To have fun and provide some happiness and a sense of achievement in a troubled world
- To show mankind that, on occasions, the “family of man” can be united
- To inspire more people to take up sport
- To maximise revenue for charities
- To improve the overall standard and status of British distance running
- To raise money for the provision of recreational facilities in London, the areas where we organise events and across the UK
- To help London and Surrey tourism
- To prove when it comes to organising events, “Britain is best”
- To inspire and deliver innovation in mass participation event sustainability