London Marathon reveals ‘biosecure bubble’ plans

Athletes will stay at a private hotel with 40 acres of grounds during race week

Virgin Money London Marathon organisers have released further details on the ‘biosecure bubble’ which will be in place to enable elite races to be held in the UK capital on October 4.

As announced last month, the 2020 London Marathon – which is the iconic event’s 40th edition – will not feature a mass race and only elite action will take place on a loop course within St James’s Park.

Special permission has been granted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to allow athletes and support staff to travel and compete in the ‘biosecure bubble’, with strict guidelines on testing, travel, accommodation and competition in place.

Organisers say that athletes will stay in a hotel outside of London which has been chosen for its 40 acres of grounds where athletes will be able to train during race week.

The hotel and grounds will be used exclusively by athletes and support staff, plus a team from the Virgin Money London Marathon.

“An extensive hygiene protocol will be in place in the hotel and it will be mandatory for everyone inside the bubble to observe social distancing rules and to wear face coverings at all times, apart from when training, while dining and in their own rooms,” organisers explain. “All athletes and their support staff will have single rooms.”

When it comes to testing, athletes will be tested for Covid-19 in their country of origin or home four days prior to travel and again on their arrival at the hotel. Testing will continue at the hotel until the Friday before the event. Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 or displays symptoms will be placed in quarantine and, in the case of athletes, will not be able to participate in the race.

The race day action will kick off with the elite women’s event at 07:15 on Sunday October 4, before the elite men’s race at 10:15 and the wheelchair races at 13:10.

The elite men’s field features distance running greats Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele in a highly-anticipated clash, while world record-holder and defending champion Brigid Kosgei leads the women’s field. In the wheelchair races, both Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär will defend their titles.

“Sports fans all over the world are eagerly anticipating these great races in this unique environment,” said event director Hugh Brasher. “It is our duty and responsibility to ensure this event is held in a safe and secure environment.

“We have looked at other examples and taken learnings from other sports which have returned to action as we developed our detailed plans for this biosecure bubble around the event.

“By finding a hotel for exclusive use and putting in place the strict testing, hygiene and security measures to protect the bubble, we are confident we have created the safest environment possible for everyone.”

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