Over 45,000 will become history makers in the London Marathon’s 40th anniversary event, and the race’s very first virtual event. Sunday 4th October will see runners lace up and complete the 26.2 challenge in their very own way. From global marathon efforts to Covid-19 survivors, family tributes to first timers, the class of 2020 are an inspiration to us all:
Saying thank you to the NHS: 61-year-old Simon Gallo is running the virtual London Marathon after being treated for coronavirus at Ipswich Hospital. He was treated by NHS staff in March when he developed complications from a weak immune system and almost had his leg amputated. Now recovered, Simon has committed to running laps of Ipswich Hospital to raise money for the NSPCC and the NHS, an organisation he believes, “is the best thing in the world.” Originally due to run in April, this will be his 25th consecutive London Marathon.
Grimsby Town fan’s 120 laps of his team’s pitch: Grimsby Town fan James Whaley, 33, will run more than 120 laps around his team’s home pitch at Blundell Park for the charity Make A Wish Foundation, which creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
Don’t let anyone stand in the way of your dreams: 20-year-old Aaron Plummer, from Walthamstow, London, is running for Mencap, the official 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year. Aaron, who has a learning disability, has been helping his community throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Mencap supported Aaron into his dream job in the hospitality industry and even during lockdown he took on shifts serving food at his local hospital. He is one of 312 people running the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon – Your Way for Mencap. To view the campaign video of Aaron and his teammates from the learning disability running squad, click here.
Ever Presents 40th Race: The London Marathon would not be complete without the presence of The Ever Presents – ten men who have run every single London Marathon since its inception in 1981. All ten members will take part in their local areas, including oldest member Ken Jones, 87, and youngest member Chris Finill, 62. Jones will run with his daughter Heather in his hometown of Strabane, Northern Ireland, while Finill has secured the use of the famous Top Gear racing track in Dunsfield Park, Surrey. He will be joined by fellow runners who will accompany him for sections of the race including Martha Wightman – sister of British middle-distance international Jake Wightman. Not quite an Ever Present, but impressively close, is Barbara Ralph, who will complete her 30th London Marathon when she runs eight laps of her local area in the Chilterns, Buckinghamshire.
Husband and wife team up to run for Leukaemia Care: mum of two Jasmine Barnett will celebrate 18 months in remission when she runs the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon with her husband, Ashley. Diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia (acute promyelocytic leukaemia) in February 2019, while training for that year’s London Marathon, Jasmine now plans to walk most of the 26.2 miles in Devon with her husband where they will be on holiday with their two young children. The pair are fundraising for the charity Leukaemia Care.
Running buddies run first ever London Marathon together: Cherry Owens, 73 and Christine Armstrong, 67, are set to run their first – and last – London Marathon side by side as they run 26.2 miles across the Isle of Wight. Originally qualified to run the London Marathon in April with Good for Age places, they will be running in support of the charity HomeStart, who support families in difficult times and have helped the local community throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
24hr London Marathon effort: friends Lindsey Underhill and Sharon Sumner, from Stafford, will be running their 26.2-miles across the full 24 hours of Sunday 4 October. Members of their running group will join them, socially distanced, for different legs of the run including a midnight neon 10K to kick things off and they hope to finish by 7pm, when they will run the final mile together. Lindsey is running for YoungMinds, after the charity supported her family through her daughter’s diagnosis with autism, while Sharon is running for the mental health charity MIND.
To find out more about The 40th Race and how you can track your loved ones and cheer on friends through the virtual event, visit www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com