London Marathon proves to be a virtual success

An estimated 45,000 people triumphed over adverse weather conditions and a pandemic on October 4 to take part in the 40th London Marathon.

The Marathon was postponed, from April 24, due to Covid-19 and only the elite runners had the opportunity to run through central London.

The public embarked on their own 26.2-mile routes, armed with their tracking apps.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “We are delighted and incredibly proud to have held this event during a worldwide pandemic.

“We have inspired tens of thousands of people around the world to take part in their own challenge, their own 26.2 miles, and to do it their way.”

Creative routes

Kingston pharmacist Raj Patel planned a creative 28.51-mile route to raise awareness for the community pharmacies that were open during Covid-19 and money for The Alzheimer’s Society.

He visited 33 pharmacies on his run through Kingston & Richmond, stopping outside each to film and highlight the tireless work they regularly do.

 “One of the key messages we wanted to get across is we’re the heartbeat of the NHS but, we’re sometimes forgotten because of the services that we do,” he said.

He also spoke about dementia at each pharmacy to help people to understand the issues surrounding it.

The virtual marathon allowed Patel to “showcase two events”.

Simon Flowers and friends before the start of the race Photo: Simon Flowers

Fourteen runners from The Stragglers running club (SRC) in Kingston also took part in the virtual London Marathon.

Straggler’s member Simon Flowers, 67, said: “As the running gods had smiled on me, I decided to use the opportunity to raise funds for St. George’s Kidney Patient Association, to recognise the tremendous support from the staff in the Renal Unit there who are working in old, unsuitable buildings.”

St. George’s hospital helped enable Flowers to become a donor for his daughter in October 2018, who was suffering from chronic kidney disease. 

‘A proper race’

Flowers was able to record a personal best marathon time of 4:09:50 with many of his friends and SRC members acting as marshals and manning pit-stops on his route. 

There were so many other runners that he said: “It almost seemed like a proper race”.

He added that everyone’s encouragement of the runners was “fantastic”. 

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