Marathon Runners Could Face Snow In London

Weather forecasters say it is possible that showers sweeping the country on Sunday could include sleet or even wet snow over London.

Some 36,000 runners are expected to take part in the marathon, with hundreds of thousands more lining the 26-mile route to cheer them on.

Celebrities including former Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, Top Gear host Chris Evans and ex-England footballer Danny Mills will be among those hoping predictions of snow are off the mark.

Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said that while snow was not a certainty on Sunday, anyone taking part or watching should be prepared for chilly conditions.

She said: “Those keeping daily checkups on Sunday’s London Marathon forecast will know it’s looking chilly with northerly winds.

“Temperatures are likely to reach 10C (50F), which is several degrees down on the mid-April average of 13C.

“The northerly airflow looks quite unstable and will bring showers across the country.

“Although some sunny spells are possible across London, when skies cloud over it will feel particularly cool and there may be some sleet in the showers, or possibly even wet snow.

“As far as I can tell, snow hasn’t been reported since the London marathon began in 1981 so if this happens it would be a first.”

Lang said both runners and spectators would need to wear extra layers of clothes.

She said: “The average four to five hour runner should be OK with just a base layer and a T-shirt or vest.

“A few bin bags would be ideal for waiting around before the start – what everyone will need afterwards is a good collection of warm clothes.”

Unusually hot weather has tended to be the biggest challenge for marathon runners in recent years.

The highest temperature of 22.2C (72F) was recorded in 1996 and 2007 – when 22-year-old David Rogers collapsed and died after drinking too much water.

In 2014, Robert Berry, 42, collapsed 40 yards from the finish line and later died after suffering from extreme heat stroke – the 12th runner to die in the race’s history.

One runner who will avoid the snow if it comes is astronaut Tim Peake – who plans to tackle a digital version of the course, tethered to a treadmill on the International Space Station.

(c) Sky News 2016