The race will be hard enough without the rain that’s in the forecast, but one participant in Sunday’s London Marathon is challenging himself further by planning to "tweet" while he runs.
Pete Wilkinson, a digital news producer at CNN.com in London, says he has no idea whether his plan will work — and whether he’ll even be able to type out the updates into his mobile phone and send them to his Twitter account, but he’s going to try anyway. “I think it’s going to be incredibly hard,” Wilkinson admitted about his plans. “I’ve tried it while on a few practice runs and it’s quite hard reading the screen.” He’s not the first marathon runner to tweet during the race — a Google search turned up one runner who tweeted during last year’s Boston Marathon and another who plans to do it during Sunday’s race in London. But it’s new enough that Wilkinson said he wants to give it a go. Follow Pete as he tweets “I’m hoping it will detract attention from my running,” said Wilkinson. “It seemed a good way to do something new.” Wilkinson is also running for charity and said any extra attention it brings to his cause “can’t be a bad thing.” The annual 42.1 kilometer (26.2 miles) race starts in Greenwich, in southeast London, and goes along the River Thames. It takes in a number of landmarks including the Tower of London, Parliament and Big Ben before ending at Buckingham Palace.
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More than 35,000 runners are expected to take part, according to marathon organizers. Race officials have advised Wilkinson not to tweet while running because of safety, concerned he might bump into other runners or trip over, but they won’t prevent him from tweeting, he said. Rain is a big concern, however. “I hope the phone doesn’t get wet,” he said. “I may put it in a plastic bag.” And what will Wilkinson be updating his followers with on race day “I’m going to tweet about how my muscles are feeling, how my knees are feeling,” he said. “My goal is to finish in four hours, so I’ll keep people informed about whether I’m going to make that. I suspect only my mother is going to be following me anyway.” The Flora London Marathon, as the race is officially known, takes place each April and is one of the top marathons in the world. All six male and female medallists from the marathon at the Beijing Olympics last year are going to be running, organizers say, along with celebrities including chef Gordon Ramsay and ITN correspondent Tim Ewart. The top prize for male and female finishers is $55,000.