Why the London Marathon is a cause for celebration during the Covid era
The 2020 London Marathon was unlike any other as the event managed to adapt and overcome the challenges presented by Covid-19.
I’ve always loved the London marathon, there’s something inspiring about the event that makes me pick up my running shoes and get back on the track.
This year’s 40th anniversary event was meant to be the biggest and best yet. Originally scheduled to take place on April 26, it was forced to be pushed back to October 4 as the UK went into lockdown.
Then, as the cancellation announcements of the Berlin, Chicago and New York marathons came in - which were all set to take place around the same time as the rescheduled date for London - it looked increasingly likely that London would not be able to go ahead either.
However, undeterred, the organisers reacted accordingly and adapted the event to allow the race to proceed, albeit in a very different form.
The 45,000 mass participants, unable to run in the usual non-elite race because of coronavirus restrictions, were tasked to cover 26.2 miles from wherever they were in the world using the official London Marathon app to track their progress.
I loved waking up on Sunday and seeing my timeline filled with runners from across the globe hitting the streets and raising vital money for charities. The fundraising sector has really suffered as a result of Covid-19 and the money raised will go a long way towards this year’s causes.
I think my feelings were shared by others including Hugh Brasher, the event director of London Marathon Events Ltd, who highlighted how incredible the event was.
“What we have seen sums up the indomitable spirit the London Marathon has always been about,” he said. “Britain has suffered from this unbelievably inclement weather from Storm Alex but over 30,000 people across the country have shown amazing fortitude in getting out and running or walking 26.2 miles. And to think we have had people from 109 countries taking part is quite incredible. I really hope it is a beacon of light in a year that’s been pretty dark.
“I’m so delighted we have been able to put the event on, given the global pandemic, and that tens of millions will have been raised as a result of this event. Will it be as much as a normal year? I’m sure it won’t. But the fact that we’ve got people from 109 countries doing it from around the world is incredible.
“It certainly wasn’t what we expected at the start of this year and this is the strangest London Marathon ever but we’ve seen some great performances from the elite and everyday athletes in these unbelievably difficult conditions.”
The use of technology from London Marathon Events sets a prime example for the rest of the sporting world about ways that they can overcome and adapt. I’ve previously written about how 5,000 sports clubs are at risk of closing due to the impact of the global pandemic and there has never been a better time to explore new digital revenue-generating opportunities.
So, what is your sport doing to overcome the challenges presented from Coronavirus? Are you able to evolve your digital strategy to continue producing income?
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