There will be approximately 45,000 runners also competing virtually—outside of the bubble—in this year’s London Marathon

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Miguel A. Amutio/Unsplash

Last Oct. 13 2019, Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge did something no runner has ever done—finish a marathon in Vienna with a jaw-dropping time of 1:59:40—becoming the first ever athlete to finish a marathon in less than two hours. Since then, the Olympic champion has been dubbed the fastest runner in the world. Has any runner attempted to beat Kipchoge’s record? Yes, but all have failed.

In the 40th edition of  the London Marathon happening on Oct. 5, there is a particular runner who will be challenging Kipchoge’s all time record. His name is Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia who once defeated Kipchoge on the track. Bekele is a three-time Olympic gold medalist who also has a long list of records and credentials.The 2020 London Marathon will feature these two remarkable runners who have been rivals since 2003. 

The London Marathon bubble 

The 2020 London Marathon, which was originally scheduled on April 26, will be an elite-only race. The route of the marathon starts at the Horse Guards Road as participants run 19 laps (2.15k closed course) plus 1,345K until they reach the finish line at the prestigious Mall. Like the NBA, athletes are in a biosecure bubble to protect runners and staff involved in the race. Runners are staying at an athlete-only hotel including a 40-acre training ground to help them prepare.This could likely be the blueprint of marathons in the future. 

Virtual London Marathon set to take place as well 

Participants who did not qualify in the elite level race of this year’s London Marathon will be racing virtually. These runners will have to complete 26.2 miles within 23 hours and 59 minutes using the London Marathon app. As of writing, there are 45,000 runners who are set to compete virtually in one of the biggest running events in the world.