Born To Run: How runners are raising millions for charityPosted: April 14, 2014
This weekend saw thousands of runners hit the streets of London for the thirty-fourth annual London Marathon. Whilst the Marathon is a world renowned feat of endurance featuring elite races bringing together some of the most durable athletes on the planet, it is equally well known for being one of the largest annual fundraising events in the world.
Since the launch of the event in 1981, over £600m has been raised for good causes, and research following the 2007 event discovered that 78% of all runners raised money for charity. In addition to those dressed in the latest sporting clothes aimed at helping them through the 26+ miles, others run in fancy dress, with one of the most famous costumes being that belonging to Lloyd Scott, who completed the course wearing a full diving suit in 2002. Other examples from this year, including Tony the Fridge, are well worth a browse.
It isn’t just the London Marathon that sees people running to raise money for charity. According to research by the Charities Aid Foundation, in the past year nearly seven million Britons have raised funds in this way – a 36% increase from the previous year. The average runner raised £358 for charity, an increase of almost £78 on the previous twelve months.
The average age of a runner is 42, and the most popular causes that runners choose to raise funds for include medical research (48%), hospitals and hospices (20%) and children and young people (16%), with many runners donning a vest in support of a charity that they have developed a personal connection with.
The race also sees MPs taking a break from daily life in the House of Commons to run, and each is faced with a challenge significantly greater than anything party conference season can throw at them. This year saw a record number of Parliamentarians lace up their trainers, with Alun Cairns, Conservative MP for Vale of Glamorgan, leading the way with a time of just over three and a half hours. None of this years entrants were able to touch the blistering time set by Matthew Parris in 1985, when the-then Tory MP and future Times columnist ran the race in a shade over two-and-a-half hours. Perhaps next year, with the election looming and MPs getting their feet prepared for weeks of pavement-stomping, will see his time come under threat.
In the next few days we’ll find out how much money was raised this year for charity, and our congratulations go out to those who completed the famous course. Our condolences also go out to the family of a runner who sadly passed away shortly after crossing the finish line.
Whilst the Marathon is perhaps the highest-profile event, we know that millions of Britons run throughout the year to raise money for the causes they care about. If you’ve supported charity in this way, why not get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story?