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London Marathon’s Covid bubble plan

By Kiprono Ericson
Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
Champion Eliud Kipchoge.
In summary

Organisers of the 40th edition of the Virgin Money London Marathon have announced plans for a biosecure bubble for the historic elite-only race on October 4.

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

 Athletes will be tested for Covid-19 in their home countries four days before departure and again on arrival at the hotel.

Testing will continue at the hotel until the Friday before the event and anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 or displays symptoms will be placed in quarantine immediately and, in the case of athletes, will not be able to participate in the race.

 The athletes will stay in a hotel outside London which will use exclusively with their support staff, plus a team from the Virgin Money London Marathon. 

 The hotel was chosen for its 40 acres of grounds where athletes will be able to train during Race Week inside the bubble. 

 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.

 All athletes and their support staff will have single rooms.

 “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,”said Hugh Brasher, event director of the Virgin Money London Marathon.

 The elite men’s race will see one of the most eagerly anticipated match-ups in marathon history with world record holder and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) going head-to-head with Kenenisa Bekele (ETH), the man who came within two seconds of his world record last year.

 In the elite women’s race, defending champion and world record holder Brigid Kosgei will defend her title.

The 25-year-old, who set a new world record of 2:14: 04 in

Chicago last October to smash Briton Paula Radcliffe’s old mark by more than a minute, will face a daunting challenge from a host of compatriots.

 Kosgei will face off with world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich who is not only making her maiden appearance in London but also in World Marathon Majors.

 Kosgei, who is making her third appearance in London, will also have to contend with the  2018 London Marathon winner Vivian Cheruiyot and the 2019 Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei.