Skip to main content

Entry Is Now Open For The Virtual London Marathon 2020

London Marathon
(Image credit: Unknown)

Photograph: courtesy Virgin Money London Marathon

The London Marathon is not normally an easy race to get into. Every year hundreds of thousands of people are left disappointed by the ballot process, and with more and more entering the ballot each year, the chances of getting a place on the start line aren’t improving.

The virtual race (opens in new tab) taking place in 2020 is, then, a unique opportunity to get hold of a coveted London Marathon medal. While it won’t be the same as completing the route itself alongside 40,000 other runners, the event organisers have made every attempt to create a special day on Sunday 4th October when entrants can complete the marathon distance however slowly they like and wherever they want.

You have from midnight to midnight on the day to complete your marathon, so you can take all day about it and walk the distance if you like. Or, if you have been training hard just in case the event went ahead, find a nice flat route and go for your best time. If you’re fast enough, you will be able to qualify for a Good For Age or Championship place at next year’s London Marathon through this virtual event.

A new app is being developed by the London Marathon and its partner TCS to officially log your 42.2km so you get a place on the list of finishers for the 2020 event. You will probably need to carry your phone with you for this, so a running belt or backpack is going to be useful, especially because you’ll also need to take all your hydration and nutrition with you since there won’t be people handing out water.

It costs £20 to enter the virtual London Marathon (opens in new tab), with all profits going to the London Marathon Charitable Trust. You get a race medal and finisher’s T-shirt if you complete the virtual event.

If you’ve not started training yet, we’d strongly recommend opting to take the marathon on the 4th October nice and easy, and walk it in a silly costume with friends (at an appropriate social distance of course).

Whenever and wherever you run, we also urge you to watch the elite London Marathon race on the 4th, which is taking place on a short, closed loop in St James’s Park and features the two fastest marathoners of all-time – Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele – going head to head, as well as the female world record holder Brigid Kosgei. The short version is, it’s going to be fast.

Enter the 2020 virtual London Marathon (opens in new tab) | £20

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.