Sir Jim Ratcliffe faced with Man Utd dilemma as London Marathon poses huge problem to his plans

Sir Jim Ratcliffe will run the London Marathon for an eighth time on Sunday – but the Manchester United co-owner needs to shave a chunk off his personal best if he is to make FA Cup semi-final kick-off at Wembley.

The 71-year-old ran a solid 4:32 last year despite having a niggling hamstring. And Ratcliffe will have to complete the 26.2 mile challenge much quicker if he is to reach Wembley before Erik ten Hag’s side begin their clash with Coventry.

The marathon begins at 10am – the INEOS chief is likely to set off several minutes later, behind the speedier runners – and the FA Cup semi has been moved to 3:30pm on police advice.

That will leave Ratcliffe with less than an hour to recover from his exertions to reach his seat in the Wembley directors’ box. And a host of road closures should make the 10-mile journey from the Mall even more difficult than normal.

London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher has hailed Ratcliffe as an “incredibly positive” influence on athletics. INEOS funded former world record holder Eliud Kipchoge’s successful attempt at breaking two hours in 2019 and Ratcliffe was also a force behind establishing the Daily Mile Foundation, which promotes physical activities in primary schools.

However Brasher is tight-lipped on what additional measures will be taken to protect Britain’s second richest man. “As with other high-profile people that we have running, we do not detail the security that is in place,” Brasher said. “Otherwise people would get around it. We have a number of people running the event that we help with security. But we never detail what that is.”

And asked whether he has any advice for Ratcliffe, who has previously completed an Ironman and estimates to have run more than 40 marathons, Brasher added: “I think Jim probably doesn’t need a huge amount of advice from me on running the London Marathon. He’s done seven London Marathons. That’s three more than I’ve done.

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