London plans first 100,000-runner marathon
Ambitious and unprecedented plans to allow 100,000 people to take part in this year's London Marathon have been announced.
A record 50,000 people are set to run in central London on October 3 with another 50,000 running 26.2 miles at a location of their choice for an accompanying 'virtual' event, organisers said on Thursday.
Hugh Brasher, the marathon's event director, said he was confident the mass run could go ahead after British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday all adults would be offered a first vaccination dose by September.
Brasher told the PA news agency: "It is difficult in a way for a lot of people to imagine from where we are now about what October might look like but the Government has said that everyone in this country should be vaccinated by September."
Mr Brasher, whose father Chris Brasher co-founded the London Marathon in 1981, said the vaccination programme meant "we believe we can deliver something that once again will show humanity and mankind at its best.
"And that's what the London Marathon has done over the last 40 years and that's absolutely what we hope to deliver on October 3, 2021.
"There's still lots of unknowns. We do know that. And we will change our plans, develop the plans, to be able to deliver what we are announcing today."
Last year's London race was postponed from April to October due to the coronavirus pandemic and then changed to an elite race supported by a 'virtual' event where 38,000 participants ran the distance from home.
"The world record-breaking success of the virtual event in 2020 and the incredible stories from participants across the globe showed how the marathon brought light and hope in the darkness of the pandemic," said Brasher.
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