The official statement states the following:
After months of intense work and consultations with London authorities, organizers today confirmed plans for the 40th race on Sunday, October 4, 2020.
The elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes will take place in a closed circuit at St James's Park in a safe biosphere (a safe environment like that of Formula 1 and England cricket) and the times will be eligible for the Olympic classification.
The long-awaited matchup between Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) and Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) will headline the men's race and world record holder Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) heads the women's field. Manuela Schär (Switzerland) and David Weir lead the wheelchair fields. There will be no spectator access to maintain the biosphere, but BBC Sport plans to broadcast eight hours of coverage during the day. (Please note: Access to most St James's Park will be maintained for local residents and park users.)
Everyone with a place in the 2020 event will still have the opportunity to participate in The 40th Race by running the famous 26.2 mile marathon distance from home or anywhere in the world in the course of their choice. All finalists will receive the coveted finisher medal and New Balance jersey. In addition, all runners and charities may also defer their place for a future London Marathon, in 2021, 2022 or 2023.
In 2021, the London Marathon will go from its usual April date to Sunday, October 3, to give the best chance for the massive race to return in 2021.
"We have been working for months in different settings with the health and safety of our runners, our charities, our sponsors, our volunteers, our doctors, our communities and our city always as our priority," said Hugh Brasher, Director of Events of the Virgin Money London marathon. "We had detailed plans to offer a socially distanced mass participation event, be it a race or a walk, and we were planning to use new technology to do this. We were looking to use a revolutionary technology with Bluetooth and ultra-wideband range, which is about to be launched worldwide.
"This would have allowed us to accurately monitor each participant's distance, determine if the participant spent more than 15 minutes at 1.5 meters (or whatever distance we establish) from anyone else, and then contact them after the event if someone had informed us that they had hired Covid-19 in the two weeks after the event.
Despite all our efforts, the fantastic support of all our partners, and the progress that has been made in planning for the return of smaller mass participation events that are not on the road, it has not been possible to move forward with a mass socially walking or running at a distance.
In parallel with working on the plans for the massively socially distanced event, we had a team working on planning the elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes in a biosphere setting in St James's Park and another team creating truly inspiring Virgin Money. The London Marathon, which means that participants across the UK and abroad can still be part of the 40th Race from home or wherever they are on October 4. "
Participants in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will have 24 hours to complete the 26.2 miles, from 00:00 to 23:59 on Sunday, October 4. They can run, walk, take breaks, and record their run in a new London Marathon app developed by event partner TCS. Runners can also use their time, with supporting evidence appropriate, to apply for a Good for Age or Championship spot in 2021.
"We know how disappointing the Covid-19 pandemic is, which means that this year it is not possible to run the famous course on the streets of London," said Brasher. "But we are offering everyone who has a place this year, or who has already been postponed to April 2021, the opportunity to participate in the 40th Race and all eligible runners also have the opportunity to run on the streets of London in 2021, 2022 or 2023. If existing runners don't want to participate in The 40th Race, we will offer their places to other runners who want to raise vital funds for charity. "
In 2019, the Virgin Money London Marathon raised a world record of £ 66.4 million for good causes. Current estimates indicate that the charity sector faces a £ 10 billion funding gap at a time when services are needed more than ever (source: probonoeconomics.com).
"The London marathon is much more than a marathon," said Brasher. “It brings society together in a moment of celebration of all the good of humanity. We believe Sunday October 4 will be a London marathon like no other, and The 40th Race will bring the spirit of the world's largest marathon to every corner of the world, with runners raising vital funds for charities that have been seen as severely affected by the economic effects of the pandemic."
London Marathon Events would like to thank the fantastic support of the London Marathon from the London Mayor's office, Transport for London, emergency services, BBC Sport, The Royal Parks, the City of Westminster, the City of London, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Canary Wharf and many other partners and stakeholders.
Runners with a spot at The 40th Race, or who had already been postponed until April 2021, will be able to confirm that they still want to run the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon starting Wednesday, August 12.