Just Stop Oil May Stage Protests at the 2023 London Marathon

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It seems likely that runners who are standing at the starting line of a marathon want one thing—to run the race safely and without disruption.

However, there are concerns that there may be protests and demonstrations by Just Stop Oil members at the London Marathon on Sunday, April 22, 2023.

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There are over 45,000 runners expected to participate in Sunday’s London Marathon, which is one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors.

According to the World Marathon Majors website, the London Marathon is upward of one million spectators along the course in the city and is watched by between four and five million viewers in the UK via the BBC and is viewed in about 196 countries around the world.

Just Stop Oil says it will “continue disrupting cultural and sporting events” in order to help raise awareness about its mission and draw attention to the UK government about oil extraction.

According to the Just Stop Oil campaign, the “extraction of new oil and gas resources in the UK is an obscene and genocidal policy that will kill our children and condemn humanity to oblivion.”

The Just Stop Oil mission page states: “We demand that the UK government makes a statement that it will immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK.”

Interestingly, Just Stop Oil is reported to be a “nonviolent civil resistance group demanding the UK Government stop licensing all new oil, gas, and coal projects,” but “nonviolent” does not necessarily mean non-disruptive.

For example, at the World Snooker Championship on Monday, April 17, 2023, a protester wearing a T-shirt in support of Just Stop Oil halted gameplay after climbing onto a table and covering it in orange powder.

Additionally, the organization previously held a protest around the day of the London Marathon in 2022.

According to an interview with the BBC, a Just Stop Oil spokesperson reported that the organization would not rule out disrupting the 2023 London Marathon on Sunday.

Indigo Rumbelow, a Just Stop Oil representative, said London Marathon runners “want what Just Stop Oil want.”

She added, “What marathon runners want is clean air, a healthy family, and dinner on the table. I want to be clear that that is what Just Stop Oil wants, too.”

However, it is unclear if this is true, how it was determined to be true (if so), and if the marathon participants would actually want the protesters at the event.

Despite Just Stop Oil’s seeming commitment to make their agenda known and disrupt the London Marathon, the London Marathon race director, Hugh Brasher, said that he has received “unique” assurances from Extinction Rebellion over the organization’s planned protest.

Standout British distance runner Mo Farah, who will compete in the 2023 London Marathon, said he trusts the London Marathon race organizers to handle any disruption.

Speaking at a press conference for the event on Thursday, April 20, 2023, Mo Farah said, “For us as athletes, we just have to go out there and concentrate on what we’re doing. I trust in the London Marathon and the officials to do, as they always do, a great job.”

To learn more about how to watch the 2023 London Marathon, you can read the advice and spectator’s guide here.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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