The BBC will broadcast the London Marathon for a further five years after extending its long-standing rights agreement with the race’s organisers.
The new deal begins with this year’s edition of the 26-mile race, which is due to take place on 2 October, and runs until 2026, marking 45 years of live coverage on the BBC.
“The London Marathon is an iconic event in the UK’s sporting calendar and one that we are thrilled to continue broadcasting for another five years,” said BBC Sport director Barbara Slater.
“We look forward to showcasing the elite athletes from the race, as well as the inspiring and touching stories of the thousands of charity runners who take part each year.”
The BBC has maintained a strong presence in athletics during a period when it has lost many of its premium sports rights to rival broadcasters, both terrestrial and subscription.
It has the rights to the Diamond League series of high-profile meets and remains the free-to-air home of the Olympics in the UK, albeit through a sub-licensing deal with Discovery.
The new agreement with London Marathon Events will also see the BBC show other races that it stages including the Big Half, Vitality London 10,000 and Vitality Westminster Mile.
“Our partnership with the BBC goes back more than 40 years and the support of the BBC has been key to the development of the London Marathon into one of the capital’s great days out that is so loved by millions,” said LME event director Hugh Brasher.
“Together we have worked through many challenges over the years including, most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to elite-only races and the first virtual marathon in 2020 – the coverage of which was shortlisted for a BAFTA.
“We are delighted to continue our partnership and very excited about our new initiative to inspire and encourage physical activity. We are facing a national obesity and mental health crisis and getting active and taking regular exercise is key to addressing this.”
The London Marathon is believed to be the biggest regular fundraising event and has generated more than £1bn for charity since it was first held in 1981.
In the last two decades the BBC has lost its rights to live horse racing, Formula 1 and the Paralympic Games, but has reintroduced some cricket via new domestic short-form tournament The Hundred.