The organisers of the 2021 London Marathon are ‘optimistic’ that the race will be opened to runners of all abilities this year.
Last year’s edition of the marathon only featured elite athletes due to COVID-19 guidelines, which restricted the number of participants. A total of 457,861 people entered the ballot to participate.
For the 2021 marathon, organisers are targeting a potential record of 50,000 runners. This would top the previous record of 49,906 athletes in 2019.
In addition to the participants, it is estimated around 750,000 spectators will be able to watch the marathon, with roughly 6,000 volunteers needed to organise the event.
However, the plans hinge on whether or not government-mandated restrictions have eased by the race’s scheduled date of 3 October. This also makes the 2021 Marathon the second in a row to be held in October instead of the traditional month of April.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the London Marathon, told BBC Sport that he was hopeful the rollout of the vaccination programme would enable organisers to move ahead with preparations.
“The government has been talking about the fact that everyone will be vaccinated in the country by September,” Brasher remarked.
“This is 3 October, so we really hope that this is a beacon of hope in the future. And that we really are living in a different world to what we are now in.
“We’re talking to scientists, we’re talking to other organisers around the world, where events are happening around the world, how they have happened. And that’s why we are positive about 3 October.”
There are also plans to introduce a tracking app which will enable a further 50,000 athletics fans to complete the 26.2 miles route virtually.
Brasher added: “The London Marathon has to do what is right for society. It is far bigger than just for the runners. This is about the National Health Service, this is about charities, this is about communities. It is about bringing people together.
“We are incredibly positive that we will be able to have 50,000 people running the London Marathon in person in 2021. Time will tell.”