London Marathon 2020: Start Time, How to Watch

On Sunday morning, runners from various parts of the world will gather in the U.K. to participate in the Virgin Money London Marathon. This year marks the race's 40th anniversary, and even a pandemic can't stop it.

According to the London Marathon's website, the three elite races will be kicking off beginning at 7:15 a.m. local time (2:15 a.m. ET). The first race at 7:15 is the elite women's race. It's followed by the elite men's race at 10:15 a.m. local time, and the wheelchair races, at 1:10 p.m. local time.

Presumably due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the races will be held on a loop course in St. James park, rather than the usual route from Greenwich to The Mall, and there will not be spectator access. "We are able to guarantee a safe environment as all participants and their support teams will go through multiple rounds of Covid-19 testing before taking part and there will be no spectators," the marathon's FAQ site states.

There is also a virtual component to the London Marathon, similar to that of the Boston Marathon, the plans for which were announced in May. This allows those who were looking to participate, but weren't qualified for the elite races, to still take part.

The website explains that the BBC will be hosting eight hours of marathon coverage for those looking to tune in from home. BBC2 will be handling the 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. blocks, and BBC1 will air the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. block.

People can also follow the races on the Virgin Money London Marathon social channels, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For those looking to track racers, there is also an official app available, and the website has a results page, where you can check to see where everyone has placed.

Sunday also marks the first day that people looking to run in the 2021 race can enter their ballot to be randomly drawn to participate in the next marathon. The marathon's site explains that the ballots will open on Sunday and close on Friday at 5 p.m. The 2021 edition of the race will take place on October 3 next year.

The race was originally scheduled to take place back in April, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was rescheduled. According to Runners World, the event director Hugh Brasher released a statement in March explaining the move. "The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of COVID-19 and public health is everyone's priority," he said. "We know how disappointing this news will be for so many—the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds and the millions who watch the race every year."

London Marathon
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya (R) trains ahead of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on September 29, 2020 in London, England.The 40th Race will take place on a closed-loop circuit around St James’s Park in central London Getty/Bob Martin for London Marathon Events - Pool