The London Marathon will be rather different this year.
Once it became clear that the event could not take place in its usual format, because of Covid-19 restrictions, organisers decided to make it a virtual race instead.
45,000 participants from 81 different countries will take part in The 40th Race – Your Way on Sunday 4 October.
Those taking part will have 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds to run, jog or walk the 26.2-mile distance on the course of their choice, An app will enable participants to log their miles and earn the unique finisher medal and finisher T-shirt.
Among those running in this extraordinary event will be Saul Moorhouse, who is raising money for SHINE.
Todmorden-born Saul said: “I know a lot of people will be disappointed that this year’s London Marathon will be a virtual one, but I feel the opposite!
“It’s a great chance to be part of a unique moment in the event’s history. I’ll get to run it on the network of paths around my home in Godalming (which after this year, I’m pretty sure I could run through with my eyes closed!).
“And my one-year-old daughter will fire the starting (water) pistol that’ll send me on my way.
“It’s been an unusual year to say the least, and details about the marathon event have been updated at several points during the summer. Fortunately for me throughout 2020, one thing has remained constant: training to run my hardest for 26.2 miles in aid of SHINE.
“It feels great to be just over a week from the big day now: the ‘taper’ phase of training, where the miles slowly decrease and the carbohydrate quantity at dinnertime slowly increases!”
Saul has set himself an ambitious target for completing the course next weekend.
“I decided this summer that I’d aim to beat the 3hr 20min mark, which gives me a big target to aim for. I know it’ll be tough (particularly those last 10km without the spectator-lined streets!) but I know the thought of running for SHINE and all the generous people who’ve donated will push me over the line.
Saul is not far off meeting his £750 target, having raised an impressive £642 to date.
Hugh Brasher, event director for the London Marathon, said: “The response has been amazing and the spirit of the London Marathon will shine brightly across the globe on Sunday 4 October.
“This first virtual London Marathon, The 40th Race, has offered a unique chance for runners around the world to earn that coveted finisher medal and T-shirt and we believe it is the biggest virtual marathon ever staged.
“It is also the most inclusive race in our history with runners having 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds to complete the 26.2 miles.
“We hope that millions will be raised for charities by our participants and we look forward to sharing their stories.”
You can sponsor Saul at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/saulmoorhouse.