Participants run past The Royal Courts of Justice during the London Landmarks Half Marathon through Westminster and the City. (Loredana Sangiuliano/Getty)
A section of the London Marathon route is to be dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community when it returns in October.
Dubbed the “Rainbow Row,” the 250-metre stretch of the marathon’s route will be located just past the 21-mile mark on the course in Butcher Row, Limehouse.
Various members of the queer community will attend to cheer on participants in an iconically queer carnival just 5.6 miles before the race’s finish line.
Marathon director Hugh Brasher said in a statement that Rainbow Row would be full of “energy and entertainment” to give the participants a motivational lift for the final stretch – arguably one of the toughest points of the run.
“More importantly, Rainbow Row continues our ongoing commitment to make the marathon a truly inclusive event for all,” Brasher continued.
“We have worked in collaboration with members of the LGBTQ+ community to design this new section of the route and we’re really looking forward to showcasing it to participants, spectators, and TV viewers around the world.”
In collaboration with organisers, G-A-Y and Heaven nightclub owner Jeremy Joseph, who has run the London Marathon 11 times, the marathon team has worked to give runners the final push they need – and represent everything we love about the community.
“Rainbow Row is so important because participants are from all walks of life, including sexualities and genders,” Joseph said. “The love and support we show each other on marathon day is incredible and now we have a focal point where love wins before the painful last stretch to the finish line.”
This year’s London Marathon is set to take place on 2 October and is expected to attract around 40,000-50,000 participants. It was initially postponed due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak according to an information page, but organisers have reassured fans that it will return to its original April date next year.
The event has been host to some iconic queer names and even more heartwarming stories, including the 2017 race where a gay mental health campaigner ran with the man who talked him down from taking his own life.