Newsbeat

London Marathon runners 'gutted' as race goes virtual

Victoria Hart Image copyright Victoria Hart
Image caption "I kind of figured it was going to be cancelled," Victoria Hart says

"I'm holding out for London", runner Victoria Hart says.

The 29-year-old has clocked up more than 300 miles training for this year's London Marathon.

Yesterday she found out that because of the coronavirus pandemic, it won't be going ahead for 45,000 people this year. Only elite runners will be able to take part and there will be no spectators allowed either.

Instead, runners are being asked to do their marathon 'virtually'.

Organisers want those who were supposed to run to do the 26.2 miles over the course of 24 hours on 4th October.

It had already been postponed from April to October.

"I kind of figured it was going to be cancelled but it was still gutting after putting in so many miles in training so I'm quite disappointed still," Victoria tells Newsbeat.

She's been training in Lincoln, where she's spent lockdown with her parents.

"In the winter I could go swimming and do other activities.

"Now physios have been closed and I haven't been able to run with other people."

Victoria's never run a marathon before and has already raised £3000 for The Samaritans.

Each year, millions goes to charities and good causes, with £66.4m in 2019.

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Victoria says she will be doing the virtual marathon and will be running the 26.2 miles in stages.

"I want my first and only marathon to be the full marathon in London.

"I want the whole atmosphere, the crowds and I want my friends and family to be there."

Image copyright Tom McCann
Image caption Tom McCann says he felt relieved a decision had been made

For Tom McCann, there was a "sense of relief" when the marathon was cancelled.

"I felt we'd been left in the dark these last couple of months.

"I think everyone's relieved there's been a final decision made."

The 25-year-old from Birmingham isn't planning on running the virtual marathon.

"The idea doesn't float my boat; I need quite a lot of motivation to clock up the 26.2 miles."

Like Tom, Iain Moss has decided not to run this year's virtual marathon.

"It's going to be hard to keep my motivation up", he tells Newsbeat.

Image copyright Iain Moss
Image caption Iain Moss has been training since Christmas

Iain started training for the marathon just after Christmas. He's already up to 21 miles.

"It's my first marathon so I think it would feel a bit more special waiting and doing it in the normal fashion.

"It won't be the same without the crowds there."

Luckily for Iain and others who don't fancy doing the virtual marathon, everyone who's got a place for 2020 can rollover to 2021, 2022 or 2023.

When Iain does finally get to run the real thing properly, what's he looking forward to most?

"Finishing it", he says.

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