Wednesday 30 September 2020 12:01 am

London Marathon to use cutting-edge technology to enforce social distancing

The London Marathon is set to take place this Sunday and the participating athletes and event organisers will be able to socially distance thanks to new, wearable technology.

All 100 elite athletes across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair races, as well as 500 of the event’s organisers, will wear Bump devices to alert them when they become too close to others.

The marathon’s 40th edition is the first of any marathon to take place in the world since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

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It will take place in a biosecure bubble at St James’ Park where there will be elite races only.

The development of the Bump device by UK advanced robotics company Tharsus improves Covid-security for all involved, informing effective social-distancing behaviour and thus reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission.

The device uses sophisticated radio frequency technology to create a personal motion system that immediately alerts wearers when they are getting too close to another person.

Athletes are given a Bump device to wear around their necks on arrival (London Marathon Events)

Track and trace

It will also compile wearer data, allowing organisers to accurately monitor how often and for how long elite athletes and event staff spend within a pre-defined distance of each other.

It means if a wearer tests positive for Covid-19 in the two weeks following the event, organisers will be able to trace interactions back to specific wearers and inform them accordingly.

Those participating will wear the devices up until the start line but not during the race.

The sporting event is one of the biggest put on in the UK since the coronavirus outbreak back in March and comes amid fears of a second wave.

The government has recently reinstated work-from-home advice as well as a host of other measures including compulsory face coverings, pub curfews and the rule of six.

Tharsus chief executive Brian Palmer said: “With fresh Government restrictions being regularly re-introduced, it’s crucial that we adopt measures where possible that help us convene safely and allow society to retain a sense of normality.

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“Despite being behind closed doors, many sports fixtures and events continue to take place, highlighting that the industry is leading the way in using technology to continue operating safely.”

While this year’s London Marathon will not be open to the general public, there will be a virtual version of the race.

Around 45,000 runners from across the world will have 24 hours throughout Sunday to complete the 26.2 miles race.

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