TCS London Marathon extends pregnancy deferral for up to 3 years

The 2022 TCS London Marathon has announced that they will now allow pregnant and postpartum women to defer their racing spot for up to three years. Along with the updated pregnancy deferral terms, the marathon has made several other substantial policy changes to enhance the inclusivity of their race.

Pregnancy deferrals were previously allowed at London Marathon, but only for one year, and participants weren’t able to retain the category they had qualified for the race in. If a runner qualified into a Championship or Good For Age category, they had to defer to a general entry or re-qualify.

Last year, ultrarunner Sophie Power campaigned for this policy. After a photo of the athlete breastfeeding during Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) went viral, the runner was inspired to advocate for more fair race policies for pregnant and postpartum women through her initiative SheRACES.

Powers explains on the SheRACES website: “I was famously photographed racing the UTMB, a 106-mile mountain race whilst breastfeeding my 3-month-old baby. I wanted to defer my place until I was fully fit but whilst the organization will defer places for injury, for them pregnancy is seen as a choice. Completing the UTMB was a dream for me, and having already lost a hard-won place whilst pregnant with my first son I chose to race. Many women lose out on that opportunity.”

Entries for assisted participants

Until 2022, wheelchair participants had to be complete the marathon by themselves: no assistance was allowed. Wheelchair racers who need to be assisted or pushed by others will be allowed to enter the London Marathon.

Virtual London Marathon special considerations

Runners who opt for the virtual London Marathon are currently required to run the 42.2 kilometres on race day (within 24 hours). As of 2022, those who cannot run on marathon day for religious reasons can run their race on the next appropriate day. Participants with a disability that prevents them from completing the virtual race within the time limit have now been given special dispensation to finish their run taking any time that they need.

These changes follow in the footsteps of other races: Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile ultra, changed its race policies to include a three-year deferral for pregnant runners last year.

London Marathon event director Hugh Drasher says the new policies are part of a series that will be expanded in the future, with the objective of making the race: “the most diverse, equitable and inclusive marathon in the world.”

posted Thursday July 28th
by Keeley Milne