The LONDON MARATHON 2020 – PREVIEW

London Marathon 2020

Ahead of the 40th edition (London Marathon 2020) , we wanted to wet your appetite by giving you a preview of what you can look forward to.

Written by Josh Gorst

The London marathon 2020
Photo by Dominika Gregušová on Pexels.com

This is the second time I have written this article. It’s also the only article, I have ever written for Trackstaa in which some of the content actually makes me sad. When I started writing it at 1:30 this afternoon, my opening section was a tribute to the ‘race of the ages’ that we were all looking forward to. Arguably the two greatest distance runners of all-time going toe-to-toe. It read:

“In a documentary on their YouTube channel, The NN Running Team billed the race, “King’s Crossing” in homage to the super-human achievements of both Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele. Despite Bekele’s PB being only 2 seconds slower than Kipchoge, which over the marathon distance is statistically identical, Kipchoge is certainly the favourite, with most commentators and fans alike tipping him for the win. Perhaps because he’s the only human to ever run a marathon in less than 2 hours.”

Now, it’s 7:30pm and I am writing it again. This time, with a heavy heart, after Kenenisa Bekele announced that he had to pull out of the race due to a calf strain. It is hard to overstate what a loss this is to the race. For many, Bekele is the GOAT but whoever your money was on, it was universally agreed that he was the only one who could realistically push Kipchoge all the way. What this means for the marathon world record remains to be seen but it now feels a lot less likely to be broken.

Bekele’s withdrawal

In a statement, Bekele said, “this race is so important to me…I have worked so hard for it. I realise many people around the World have been looking forward to this race and I am sorry to disappoint my fans, the organisers and my fellow competitors”. Glorious in victory; gracious in surrender.

This inevitable disappointment should not detract from the incredible Eliud Kipchoge however, who has already won the London Marathon 4 times and is seeking to make history by winning it a record 5 times. It’s clear that the marathon has a special place in Kipchoge’s heart. “I think you can compare the marathon to life. It is in the hearts and kidneys of all human beings. I want to make history and I trust that I will run the fastest time” Kipchoge told the NN Running Team.

What we do know is that when the eyes of the world are exclusively on Kipchoge, he tends to do things the rest of us thought was impossible (see his sub-2 record). Even without Bekele, Kipchoge and London guarantees a marathon running exhibition of the most wonderful kind.

Who else is racing?

We have included a full list of athletes below, but this preview would not be complete without a mention of the awe-inspiring Brigid Kosgei who holds the world record for the women’s marathon in a stunning time of 2:14.04 in Chicago last year. Although this another strong field, it is very difficult to see anyone getting even close to Kosgei who’s nearest challenger possesses a PB over 3 minutes more.

The strongest contender in the GB Team is New Balance athlete, Steph Twell, with a PB of 2:26.40. Flying the Star-Spangled Banner in the women’s race is Sara Hall who will be looking to surpass her impressive PB of 2:22.16.

As to the men’s race, we could not write a preview with a notable mention to Charlie Hulson who we interviewed last month. And Stephen Scullion, the Irish athlete, who went some way to inspiring the birth of Trackstaa. The question, though, is whether anyone can challenge the dominance of Kipchoge. There’s no doubt that Mosinet Geremew (2:02:55) will doing his best to stick with the leading pack as will Mule Wasihun (2:03.16). To top it off, the Harlem Globetrotters of marathon running, from Kenya, will also be racing: Vincent Kipchumba (2:05.09), Benson Kipruto (2:05.13) and Gideon Kipketer (2:05.51).

The course

Thanks to covid-19, the usual London Marathon route is no longer possible and all runners will be in a ‘biosphere’ prior to running the race. The London marathon 2020 route will take place in St James’ Park and will include 19 laps of a course approximately 2.1 km in distance.

For those of us who like a bit of nostalgia, even with the route changes, it will start and finish on the world-renowned Mall, with Buckingham Palace as the back-drop.

This will undoubtedly make a difference to the times and tactics; Kipchoge himself describing it as a “game-changer”.

When does it start and how can I watch?

The race will take place on Sunday 4th October. The women’s elite race gets underway at 7:15am (GMT), the men’s elite race starts at 10:45am (GMT).

You can watch the race in the UK, live on the BBC or, alternatively on the BBC iPlayer. We’ll try and post international streams on the @Trackstaa Instagram account ahead of the race.

Full race-list / London Marathon 2020

Men

E Kipchoge (2:01.39) – KEN

K Bekele – WITHDRAWN

M Geremew (2:02.55) – ETH

T Tola (2:04.06) – ETH

M Wasihun (2:03.16) – ETH

S Kitata (2:04.49) – ETH

M Kipresem (2:04.11) – KEN

S Nordstat Moen (2:05.48) – NOR

S Lemma (2:03.36) – ETH

C Thompson (2:11.19) – GBR

J Mellor (2:10.03) – GBR

B Connor (Debut) – GBR

V Kipchumba (2:05.09) – KEN

B Kipruto (2:05.13) – KEN

G Kipketer (2:05.51) – KEN

A Gabius (2:08.33) – GER

J Ward (2:09.25) – USA

E Gelant (2:10.31) – RSA

D Meucci (2:10.45) – ITA

B Robinson (2:10.55) – AUS

JL Barrios (2:10.55) – MEX

P Herzog (2:10.57) – AUT

S Scullion (2:11.52) – IRE

R Kancys (2:12.50) – LTU

T Woodfine (2:13.16) – CAN

M Clohisey (2:13.19) – IRE

F Futselaar (2:14.06) – NED

C Hulson (2:14.22) – GBR

J Griffiths (2:14.25) – GBR

M Frans (2:14.57) – RSA

C Levins (2:09.25) – CAN

P Le Grice (2:16.22) – GBR

P Martelleti (2:16.49) – GBR

A Hickey (2:16.56) – GBR

A Scott (2:16.57) – GBR

D Nash (2:18.51) – GBR

O Lockley (2:25.28) – GBR

J Lunn (Debut) – GBR

R Millington (Debut) – GBR

J Gray (Debut) – GBR

Women

B Kosgei (2:14.04) – KEN

R Chepngetich (2:17.08) – KEN

V Cheruiyot (2:18.31) – KEN

A Bekere (2:20.14) – ETH

A Megertu (2:21.10) – ETH

S Diver (2:24.11) – AUS

C Salome Rocha (2:24.47) – POR

S Twell (2:26.40) – GBR

L Partridge (2:29.24) – GBR

S Hall (2:22.16) – USA

V Jemeli (2:19.10) – KEN

E Pashley (2:26.21) – AUS

S Ribiero (2:26.39) – POR

M Seidel (2:27.31) – USA

G Steyn (2:27.48) – RSA

L Flanagan (2:28.05) – USA

D Mykhaylova (2:28.15) – UKR

T Barlow (2:30.42) – GBR

N Cockram (2:30.49) – GBR

R Gesabwa (2:30.59) – MEX

T Jones (2:31.00) – GBR

B Ummels (2:32.34) – NED

H Davies (2:34.06) – GBR

N Mitchell (2:37.51) – GBR

E Chelimo (Debut) – KEN

Kipchoge training method

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