Wet and blustery day expected for 40th London Marathon

Runners tackling 26.2 miles of the 40th London Marathon on Sunday are likely to face rain and strong winds.

This year’s race was postponed from April 26 to October 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic and, while elite runners will race on a looped course in central London, 45,000 other participants will choose their own route and will be tracked by an app.

Event director Hugh Brasher told the PA news agency the way people have embraced the event this year despite the many challenges shows “the indomitable human spirit”.

London Marathon 2020
London Marathon 2020

“Indomitable human spirit is what the marathon is all about,” he added.

Runners and walkers, who can complete the distance however they like between midnight and 23.59pm on Sunday, will need that spirit, especially as a wet and windy day is expected for much for Britain.

The Met Office has a weather warning for heavy rain for the east side of the UK and much of England and Wales from Saturday morning until 6pm on Sunday.

Meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “Most places will see some rain at some point.

“It will also be quite blustery which isn’t ideal for running.”

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He said parts of the South West could have some heavy rain, particularly during the morning, while the far North East and far South West could see gusts of 40-50mph. Elsewhere there may be gusts of 20-30mph.

Mr Burkill said there will be some dry weather and advised marathon participants to check their local forecast to see when conditions might be best.

“It’s not going to be especially warm but people don’t want it too hot. We are looking at a 16C high,” he said.

“It’s not great conditions for running probably but it could be worse.”

The lowest maximum temperature for a marathon day was in 1994 when 9.5C was recorded in Greenwich, the nearest measurement site, according to Met Office records.

“I’m expecting temperatures warmer than that,” he said.

He added: “It’s an unsettled weekend coming up even for the time of the year.

“We have had wetter and windier marathons in the past even when they have occurred in April.”

According to Met Office records, the wettest marathon day was in 1983 when 22.6mm fell in Greenwich while the windiest was in 1986 when 35mph was recorded at Kew Gardens.

“I’m expecting winds stronger than that in some parts of the UK and some places will have more rain than that,” Mr Burkill said.