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The London Marathon

You are in: London > Radio > Radio Events > The London Marathon > The London Marathon's charitable side

Sir Steve Redgrave. Money raised through the London Marathon

The marathon raises millions each year

The London Marathon's charitable side

Runners will shed blood, sweat and tears to finish this year’s marathon. But with millions of pounds going to good causes, fundraisers think it is more than worth it.

by Laura MacDonald

When the London Marathon was first created, founders Chris Brasher and John Disley drew up a list of aims they wanted it to achieve. They hoped that as well as boosting marathon running in Britain, the event would raise money for recreational facilities in the capital.

Since the first race in 1981, the marathon has helped raise money for that and many other good causes. Around £422 million is estimated to have been raised over the last 28 years.

The race earned itself a place in the record books for being the largest single annual fundraising event in the world after it raised £46.5 million in 2007.

Charitable Trust

The London Marathon has established its own charitable trust, through which it donates any profit it makes to recreation projects in London and across the country.

It has donated more than £30 million since 1981 and the money has helped pay for everything from sports equipment to a park for people who practice parkour, a sport which blends athletics and dance.

In 2008, the AHOY Centre in Greenwich was given £150,000 to help create a watersports centre on a derelict jetty and Waltham Forest got £85,000 to build a new bowling club pavilion in Lloyd and Aveline Park.

In an effort  to ensure that existing recreation facilities are not lost, the Trust has also set aside money to buy playing fields. In Greenwich, one field purchased by the organisation is being used as a mini-soccer centre by the Football Association.

Fundraising Runners

The sight of runners wearing vests emblazoned with the logo of their chosen charity is a familiar sight on marathon day, with thousands of participants aiming to raise money and boost the profile of their cause. 

At least one-third of the total number of places available in the marathon are reserved for fundraisers, with event organisers allocating guaranteed places to charities.

Marathon bosses say that around 76 per cent of people who take part in the marathon do so to raise money for a cause they care deeply about.

Katie Price in Swindon

Katie Price is running the marathon.

Carol London, from Kings Cross, is running in this year’s marathon in memory of her 12-year-old daughter Saffron, who died in 2007 after developing a rare kidney cancer, renal medullary carcinoma.

Saffron, an active child who loved to sing, dance and play the piano, had started attending the Sylvia Young Theatre School just months before she died. Carol says she is inspired by her daughter and is hoping to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

“Since she died I always think of Cancer Research, and other charities, and I did a run last June for Race for Life. They help so much, they are always finding new cures,” Carol said

She is enjoying training for the race, going to the gym four times a week and taking boxing classes. Carol aims to raise between £2,000 and £4,000 for the charity but says she want so to raise “much more” if she can.

When asked how she will feel as she crosses the finish line on 26 April, she says simply: “Just elated.”

A number of famous faces will be running for their favourite charities this year. Apprentice star Lee McQueen is raising money for Cancer Research UK and model Katie Price is running for Vision, a charity that works to help blind, visually impaired and dyslexic children.

What’s next?

Next year, Virgin becomes the official sponsor of the London Marathon. The company's founder, Sir Richard Branson, said the company is “looking forward to putting on a great show for London” but is also aiming to boost the amount of money raised by participants.

During its five year sponsorship term, it hopes to see runners raise £250 million.

last updated: 15/04/2009 at 14:57
created: 17/03/2009

You are in: London > Radio > Radio Events > The London Marathon > The London Marathon's charitable side

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