Charities & Charity Profiles

In the past twenty years, charities have become an integral part of the big race experience.  These days it seems that virtually everyone who takes part in a major race is raising money for a good cause of one kind or another.

If there is one race that has come to epitomize the way that charities have become synonymous with big races, it is the London Marathon.  Since it was first run in 1981, it is estimated that the London Marathon has raised over £450 million for charities, and it holds the Guinness World Record as the largest annual fund raising event in the world, with the 2009 race seeing an incredible £47.2 million raised for charity.

Most years, around 75% of runners raise money for good causes, with many people donning the outrageous fancy dress costumes that have helped make the race such a popular spectator event.  With over 30,000 runners per year and crowds of up to half a million on the streets, it is certainly an event that draws huge public interest and support.

Some of the lengths people have gone to in order to raise money have entered into folk lore – for example, Lloyd Scott completing the marathon in 2002 wearing his deep sea diving suit.  The suit weighed an amazing 110 lb, and with each shoe weighing 11 kg, so it was no surprise that he set a world record for the slowest ever marathon time!

There has also been stiff competition to raise the most money ever in one race – five time Olympic gold medal winner Sir Steve Redgrave broke the Guinness World Record for money raised in a marathon with his £1.8 million in 2006, but the man whose record he beat, Steve Chalke MBE, reclaimed his record the next year by raising over £1.85 million.