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London Marathon to Wembley – Ratcliffe’s busy Sunday

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Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe competed in two separate races on Sunday.

The 71-year-old lined up for his eighth London Marathon in the morning and then faced a race against time to watch his side face Coventry in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in the afternoon.

The British billionaire is an avid runner and has completed more than 30 marathons worldwide, while his chemical group Ineos supported Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge in his successful bid to become the first person to break the two-hour mark for a marathon in October 2019.

Ratcliffe finished last year’s London Marathon in four hours 32 minutes 47 seconds.

With his 10:00 BST start time on Sunday, that would have left him just under an hour to complete the journey from the finish line on The Mall and get to Wembley for the 15:30 kick-off.

At 14:00, when Ratcliffe was between 35-40km, the journey between the two would have taken between 45-50 minutes, according to Google Maps.

It was set to be touch and go for boyhood United fan Ratcliffe.

He crossed the finish line at 14:33, shaving one minute and 55 seconds off last year’s attempt, to finish in 4:30:52.

That left him with around 55 minutes to get across London and into the directors box at England’s national football stadium.

Despite that, he stopped and spoke to BBC Sport on The Mall, and said: “At my age, that [time] is not bad. I need to be quick, I need to be there at half-time.

“There are some parallels [between football and running a marathon] I have to say, but it just requires some grit. Running a marathon after 30km is difficult.

“I must leave now. I’ve got a match to get to!”

True to his word, Ratcliffe was seen minutes into the second half deep in conversation with Avram Glazer, who is part of the American family that Ratcliffe brought his stake from.

Ratcliffe would have been satisfied with news of what had happened in the first half that he missed, with goals from Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire putting them 2-0 up.

Bruno Fernandes added a third to put United in complete control, but, from there, Ratcliffe’s day, which had gone pretty smoothly to that point, took a turn.

Championship side Coventry scored three times in the final 20 minutes to take the tie dramatically to extra time.

Both sides hit the bar during the addition half an hour before Coventry, looking to reach their first final since they won the tournament in 1987, had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside in the final minute.

United went on to win 4-2 on penalties to set up a repeat of the 2023 FA Cup final against local neighbours Manchester City.

All’s well that ends well for Ratcliffe.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe (bottom right) was watching Manchester United at Wembley for the first time since his purchase in the club
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