Many may say that the London Marathon FINALLY canceled the event as organizers had kept pushing the date out for an announcement over the last couple of months. By the time organizers finally canceled the marathon last week, many runners had already planned on skipping this year’s London Marathon, primarily due to the uncertainty of the race.
The 2020 London Marathon is Canceled
However, even though the official London Marathon is canceled for all regular participants, the 2020 London Marathon will go on as an elite-only event. This is likely due to the fact that all eyes were on London to see the head-to-head battle by the two fastest marathoners in the world, Eliud Kipchoge (who ran an official marathon time of 2:01:39 but also broke the two hour time in an event just for him) and Kenenisa Bekele (who ran his best of 2:01:41 at the 2019 Berlin Marathon, one year after Kipchoge).
Instead of running the regular London Marathon course, this elite-only race will be done as loops at St. Jame’s Park. No spectators will be allowed by the park will remain open for those who want to use the park.
Virtual Marathon for All Others
Unlike the many, many marathons that are providing virtual options, the London Marathon is only allowing the virtual race to take place in a single 24 hour period – from midnight to 11:59PM on October 4, the date the race would have been run on. Also, the virtual marathon is only open to previously registered participants.
The fee for the virtual marathon, which will offer participant t-shirts and finisher medals, will be £20. Again, this will only be open to those who had previously been on the list for the actual October 4 or those that had deferred to 2021.
The London Marathon 2021
London does not want to take any chances on things not being fully back to normal by the normal April start date. So, they are pushing the 2021 London Marathon to October 3, 2021. This will give participants more time to plan for this event as well after travel resumes to normal and borders again open.
Refunds and Deferments
As other major marathons have done, the London Marathon is allowing runners to get a full refund on their race fee or to defer, at no charge, until 2021, 2022, or 2023. This is very generous since the fees typically go up every year or two. So, you could kick it down the road and wait until you think things may be more normal without losing your money.
Since the London Marathon is a lottery event, it may be a good idea for many to simply defer their marathon fee rather than take a refund and try to get in again another year.