Up to 45,000 people will run or run the 40th London Marathon on their own 42km route on Sunday after the usual mass event was retired due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prince Harry wished runners the best of luck in wet and windy conditions and praised attendees for providing a “lifeline” to vulnerable people amid the pandemic by raising money for charity.
The Duke of Sussex, who is also the patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, posed with runners who started in a much sunnier park in Los Angeles.
The annual race was scheduled to take place on April 26th but has been postponed to October 4th. It was later decided that only the elite athletes could ride in central London.
Elite runners have already started their races on the track in St. James & # 39; s Park in central London, while 45,000 participants will take their own courses virtually
Prince Harry, a patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, wished the people the best of luck and praised attendees for providing a “lifeline” to those in need amid the pandemic by raising money for charity. Pictured: The Duke with runners in Los Angeles
Other participants will now compete wherever they choose and people will be on the streets of the UK and 109 other countries running their own marathon between midnight and 11:59 p.m.
People are able to break the distance however they want, and Event Director Hugh Brasher said, “It was about inclusivity and about removing the pressure people can feel on the day of the event.
“There's a reason we have an interruption because we have to reopen roads to reopen London for it to work again. But this pressure is removed. & # 39;
The vision of the marathon is Inspiring Activity and Mr. Brasher said that the unusual 40th event was linked to this vision.
Elite female athletes have already braved the rain and windswept track around St. James & # 39; s Park today, and it will rain well into the afternoon
The annual race was scheduled to take place on April 26th but was postponed to October 4th. It was later decided that only the elite athletes could ride in central London
Elite athletes must run 19 laps of the scaled-down marathon route, starting near Admiralty Arch and in St. James & # 39; s Park, before ending in the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace
He said: & # 39; We are delighted that we believe the 40th race should take place this way. A celebration of performance.
& # 39; That was always part of the thinking. This is not the same as in the other 39 years. For some people it's better, for some it's not so good. & # 39;
When asked if he would feel relieved after the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon ended, Mr Brasher said, “I hope that after the marathon I will be immensely proud of what the team has achieved, what the public has achieved and what the elite athletes will have achieved.
"I will remember it for a long time."
It was an early start for the elite women's group just after 7 a.m. Pictured: runners doing one final warm-up lap
Many runners in the UK will be exposed to wet and windy weather. A rain warning is in place from the Met Office until noon, covering Wales, eastern Scotland and much of England.
Catherine Woodhead, General Manager of Muscular Dystrophy UK, is one of 117 people who work for the charity, whose income has fallen by £ 2.8 million.
Ms. Woodhead, 48, who plans to walk 26 miles from her home in Chelmsford, Essex, said she felt unable to attend the mass event in central London.
Of the MDUK Team Orange runners, 38 signed up after the virtual marathon was announced, and Ms. Woodhead said at least one family has planned to put their child in a wheelchair, adding, “There are people who normally never do could create and participate.
"It will really be inclusive."
The vision of the marathon is Inspiring Activity and Mr. Brasher said that the unusual 40th event was linked to this vision. Pictured: The staff put the finishing touches to The Mall yesterday
This year's charity of the year is Mencap with 10 runners with learning disabilities among 312 participants.
This year's event will be very different, but completing 26.2 miles is still the same challenge.
Martin Yelling, the official coach of the Virgin Money London Marathon, told runners at a Facebook Live event, "One of the things to remember is that difficult moments go by."
He added, "It might not be what we imagined, but it's a wonderful way to experience a marathon."