The tech keeping athletes safe at the Virgin Money London Marathon

A man and a woman running on grass near trees
Image from Virgin Money London Marathon
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
2 October 2020

The Virgin Money London Marathon will look a little different this year, with the elite races taking place in a biosecure bubble in London’s St James’s Park. Athletes will wear Bump devices that contain advanced technology to help them maintain social distancing.

The devices, developed by robotics company Tharsus, will be worn by the 100 elite athletes taking part in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair races. 500 members of the Virgin Money London Marathon’s operational team will also wear the devices.

Bump is a new system that was developed in anticipation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is designed to help wearers feel safe, inform effective social distancing behaviour and reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. The device contains technology to create a ‘personal motion system’ that will immediately alert wearers if they are getting too close to another person.

Not only will the devices allow marathon organisers to accurately monitor social distancing, but should anyone test positive for COVID-19 within two weeks of the event, organisers will be able to trace the interactions that that individual had with others and inform them.

Hugh Brasher, event director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “This weekend’s event is the culmination of months of planning around how to deliver a socially distanced 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon that is safe for all participants and stakeholders. Tharsus’s Bump technology has played an important role, giving our athletes and internal teams extra confidence to engage with the event safely.”

As well as the elite races, 45,000 people will take part in the first ever virtual race for the Virgin Money London Marathon this weekend. Entrants will have 24 hours to complete their 26.2 miles in whatever way they choose. Meet some of the runners competing for a good cause this year.

Visit the Virgin Money London Marathon to find out more.