London Marathon organisers say they have not given up hope of staging the event on October 4.

Earlier this week the 2020 Great North Run was cancelled because it was deemed impossible to hold the race while social distancing measures designed to limit the spread of coronavirus remain in place.

The London event, which was postponed from April to October, had been expected to follow suit, with Great North Run founder Brendan Foster telling the PA news agency it would be “extremely difficult” for any mass participation races to go ahead this year.

However, event director Hugh Brasher says his team is still looking at “innovative ways to socially distance the event”.

Brasher added: “We still don’t know whether we will be able run together, walk together and be together on that journey of 26.2 miles on October 4.

“Almost every day we hear hopeful news from other countries and we hear tales of despair.

“However, what we do know is that we have hope, desire and ingenuity. Hope that the world will have found a way through Covid-19 by October.

“Desire to show the positive effects of running a marathon, running for communities and good causes. Ingenuity of thought, technology and people.

“I assure you that whatever decision we take about October 4, 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.

Brendan Foster, left, has spoken about the difficulties of staging mass participation races amid the coronavirus pandemic (Jane Barlow/PA)
Brendan Foster, left, has spoken about the difficulties of staging mass participation races amid the coronavirus pandemic (Jane Barlow/PA)

“While some may think what we are trying to do on Sunday, October 4 is impossible, we will not give up hope.

“The 40th race should be a day that shows the best of humanity. A togetherness, a joy and a celebration of everything we treasure.

“I look forward to that day. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will be in touch again on July 28.”

Foster spoke about the difficulties faced in staging the Great North Run, saying that with social distancing in place the start line “would have stretched from Newcastle to Berwick”.

“Mass participation events in the form that ours takes, and the London Marathon takes, are clearly going to be extremely difficult to hold and it’s going to be up to us to find a formula for the future,” he said on Monday.

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