London Marathon still looking to hold race on Oct. 4: race director

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - London Marathon - London, Britain - April 28, 2019 Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge celebrates winning the men's elite race and setting a new course record REUTERS/Paul Childs/File Photo

(Reuters) - London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher said on Friday that organizers are working to ensure the rescheduled race is held on Oct. 4 despite the cancellation of September’s Great North Run due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cancellation of the annual half marathon had raised doubts about the London Marathon going ahead due to the challenges faced by organizers in implementing social distancing protocols.

Brasher added that they would be providing a further update on the status of the race on July 28. The marathon was initially postponed from its original April 26 date due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“There has been much speculation that this means the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will also be canceled. However, it doesn’t,” Brasher said in an open letter to runners.

“The team at London Marathon Events has been looking at the logistics... and coming up with innovative ways to socially distance the event.

“We have also been working with other mass participation event organizers in the UK, including the Great Run Company and Human Race, to make recommendations to the UK government on how mass participation events can return.”

Brasher also urged runners to maintain their fitness goals ahead of the event with 15 weeks to go before the race.

“There is still plenty of time to train and there is neither a need, nor should there be a desire, to be at your peak fitness yet,” he added.

“I assure you that whatever decision we take... it will be taken in line with our values and with the responsibility we have to you, our runners, our charities, our sponsors, our volunteers, our medics, our communities and our city.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis