Man bags spot in London Marathon using power of Twitter

2 October 2020, 14:57

Peter Gillibrand

By Peter Gillibrand

A 26-year-old man managed to bag a coveted spot in the London Marathon using the power of social media.

Dan Nash, who’s the British 50km record holder, has never run the iconic Marathon before, but managed to use Twitter to get a spot in the race's elite class.

He said he felt it was a shame for the race to be elite-only, so tweeted the marathon asking them to consider adding a few more domestic athletes to the field.

And to his surprise, the organisers responded to his request, adding more British runners and giving him his first shot at the world-famous race.

Mr Nash told LBC: “Like everybody else I was pretty disappointed when the London Marathon announced it was to go from a mass race to just an elite race.

“One of the first thoughts that went through my head was that it was a bit of a shame to go through all the effort to organise this COVID-friendly race just for the 20 or so athletes who were initially on the start list.

“I thought it was a bit of a wasted opportunity. So I tweeted the London Marathon and I said it’d be really nice if they would consider adding a few more domestic athletes to the field.

“I made the point that there are plenty of people out there like myself who are working full time, who are full-time students who’ve got kids and got families - who, actually although they’re not professional athletes - we’re running times only just slower than the pros and the elites.

"People can relate to the fact we’re working alongside our training, just like the average runner on the street - this isn’t a profession for us - it’s not a job - we’re doing it because we love it and it’s fun."

Despite not being a professional athlete, Mr Nash has previously clocked up a quick marathon time of 2:18.51.

The 26.2 miles on Sunday won’t be the usual race, instead comprising of almost 20 laps around St James’ Park - which is usually the finishing area.

Dan Nash is running his first London Marathon this year
Dan Nash is running his first London Marathon this year. Picture: Dan Nash

Although it is different and will be in a biosecure bubble - Mr Nash will be aiming high and is still speechless that he’ll be heading into that bubble on Friday.

14 British men, 7 British females and 1 wheelchair racer will take on the race on Sunday starting from 7.15am.

Mr Nash added: “I think it’s important that you have a strong British representation in the London Marathon - you need people to cheer on.

“I’m really excited to be honest - that’s my overwhelming feeling. It’s an amazing opportunity. It’s the highest profile marathon in the World.”

Alongside Paris, Chicago, New York and Berlin, the London marathon is one of the largest marathons in the world, with 42,485 people running in 2019.

100 of the world’s best runners will be competing alongside Dan - including Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele, who’ll battle it out for a potential World Record.

Mr Nash said: “Normally, regardless of the fact that we’re in COVID and there are no other races going on, you’ve got Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge, who are the best marathon runners of all time, and I’ve somehow managed to wing my way onto the start list - so I think I’m going in with no pressure and just excited to be involved really.

“I’ve never been in a race quite like this. I’ve never lined up in such an elite field… I’m going into the athlete hotel on Friday that’s going to be full of talent and the best athletes in the world.

"That’s going to be a very new experience for me. I’m just going to be really excited.”

Alongside the elite race, 45,000 people have signed up to complete the 26.2 miles from home in the Virtual London Marathon and Mr Nash was full of praise for everyone who’s doing it.

He added: “It’s great that they’ve got 45,000 people signed up to do the virtual race. Obviously it would be much better if it could go ahead as normal, but in the circumstances I think the London Marathon has done a good job catering for everyone.”

He also gave us an insight into what to expect from the British talent and what he hopes to see after a long lockdown full of training mentally and physically.

Mr Nash said: “My training’s gone really well… Lockdown wasn’t too bad for me. I think I’m in a personal best shape… I’ve done 2 hours 18 minutes and I hope to go a bit faster than that - knock a couple of minutes off.

"I’ve been chatting to the other Brits over Whatsapp and I think a few of us are going to go to half way together and hopefully work together and get some good times.”