Stars from the world of sport and screen have taken up the challenge to run the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon their own way on Sunday 4 October.

As the Virgin Money London Marathon cannot take place in its usual format this year, runners were invited to complete The 40th Race – Your Way, with 45,000 people around the globe taking up this unique opportunity.

Participants have 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds to run, jog or walk the 26.2 mile distance on the course of their choice, anytime from 00:00 to 23:59:59 BST on Sunday 4 October.

Among those taking part will be a host of famous names including BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin and BBC News’ Sophie Raworth, plus sports stars Shane Williams, Jamie Peacock and Stephen Warnock.

Journalist and broadcaster Deborah James, who hosts BBC’s You, Me and the Big C podcast is planning to take on the challenge with friend, writer and fellow cancer patient Limitless Em (Emma Campbell) and a small group of friends and relatives.

Both Deborah and Emma have been receiving treatment at The Royal Marsden in London and are fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. They plan to finish their 26.2 miles on the steps of the hospital, raising awareness of the work it does.

Some of the famous faces preparing for Sunday 4 October include:

  • Rob Deering and Paul Tonkinson: Comedians and hosts of the popular Running Commentary podcast
  • Chris Evans: Host of the The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio UK
  • Deborah James: Journalist and broadcaster
  • Hannah Macleod: 2016 Olympic gold medallist (hockey)
  • Louise Minchin: BBC Breakfast presenter
  • Chris Newton: Three-time Olympic medallist (cycling) and fastest celebrity London Marathon runner ever (2h 39m 27s)
  • Ethan Payne (Behzinga): The YouTuber has more than 4 million subscribers and is a member of the Sidemen
  • Jamie Peacock: Former England and Great Britain Rugby League international
  • Sophie Raworth: BBC News presenter
  • Stephen Warnock: Former England and Liverpool FC footballer
  • Shane Williams: Former Wales and British Lions Rugby Union international

All runners will record their 26.2 miles on a new app, powered by TCS. Everyone who successfully completes the distance will earn the unique 40th Race finisher’s medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt.

General entries are sold out but there are a limited number of charity places still available for the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon.

In addition to the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon, there will be three historic elite-only races (elite men, elite women and wheelchairs) taking place around St James’s Park in central London on Sunday 4 October.

No spectators will be allowed to watch the races but there will be more than eight hours of live coverage on BBC television.

For more information on the elite races, click here.

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