World of Sport

Is this the future of ‘cheating’ the London Marathon?

World of Sport

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We all look for quicker, easier ways of doing things and that is certainly the case when it comes to gruelling challenges like running marathons.

This may not be an easier way of completing, say, the London Marathon, but it is most definitely quicker and more convenient.

A one mile digital taster of the London Marathon course was unveiled at the event's annual Expo in advance of the race on Sunday 13 April and it's breathtakingly realistic.

The full digital course is set to be completed by October, according to organisers, and it presents an amazing set of possibilities for would-be runners.

The below footage shows a short clip from the free Showcase demonstration of the digital London Marathon course, also showing how it can be used in a social capacity with the other runners (of potential friends) highlighted on the screen.

Race director Hugh Brasher told Reuters regarding the demonstration: "It's certainly the next-best thing to doing the race and turns what could be a dull treadmill run into a really exciting experience."

So what would this really mean for wannabe runners of the world's leading marathons? Is there a chance that this could be the future of marathon-running for the masses who miss out on entry to the real thing?

Almost two million people have missed out on participating in the London Marathon since the event began back in 1981 and many find themselves rejected from the ballot year after year.

While the digital experience would never be able to truly replicate the challenge of a marathon itself with the terrain not remotely similar to that of a treadmill - not to mention the unique atmosphere - it's surely the next best thing.

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For the hoards of runners who long for a place in the London Marathon, at the very least this represents a training ground or a chance to test themselves against the distance, and indeed their friends.

The social aspect of such a digital experience would no doubt be conducive to sharing times and improving performances, which can only be a good thing.

Further fundraising opportunities would be made available for those unable to gain entry to the event itself, while the very concept of competing in a marathon would not have to be such a sink or swim gamble for some.

It may be regarded by some as cheating by claiming to have completed a major marathon down the local gym on a treadmill, but given the immense popularity of such events, this can only be seen as a positive development.

The future of marathon running? Nothing would ever beat the experience of the genuine event, but this would be an ideal and welcome alternative.

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(LondonMarathonTV/YouTube)

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