The London Marathon ‘will be postponed until next year with organisers still hoping to stage a showdown between Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele in one of the Royal Parks.’
The Covid-19 pandemic had already forced the postponement of the hugely-popular marathon from April 26 to October 4 and 40,000 amateur runners are expected to be told this week they will now race next year.
But, according to The Times, there are hopes that Kipchoge and Bekele, two of the best marathon runners in history, will be able to compete over a short course in a central London park.
The 35-year-old Kenyan Kipchoge holds the world record for the 26.2-mile race, which he established with a time of 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
Last year, he ran the first sub-two hour time of 1:59:40 during a challenge event in Vienna but this didn’t count as an official record as it wasn’t in open competition.
Ethiopian athlete Bekele, 38, holds the second fastest marathon time, just two seconds behind Kipchoge’s and set at the Berlin Marathon last year.
The Times report that organisers are hopeful a Government exemption will be granted so elite runners can come to London providing they follow strict Covid protocols.
Both athletes are reportedly keen to compete, with the pandemic eliminating their opportunities to race and earn any money for most of the year. It helps organisers that they share the same agent.
The news of the postponement will nonetheless come as a disappointment for the amateur runners after hours of training. They are, however, likely to be offered a place for next year’s race.