One of the country’s most popular long-distance running events, the London Marathon and its participants have been supporting charities since 1981. Runners participate for different reasons, from setting their own personal best for the event, to raising money for a specific cause. Arguably, it is running for causes that have made the event as popular as it is – teaming up to support a group of people in need is at the core of the London Marathon.
Popular London Marathon Causes
In the early years of the London Marathon, it was individual runners who raised sponsorship money for their cause of choice. However, the London Marathon now offers a scheme for charities to formally participate at a nominal fee, with over 750 charities involving 15,000 supporting runners. Over £59 million was raised for charities in 2016, with the NSPCC heading up the year’s event as the official charity of the race.
Causes supported by the London Marathon vary widely. Past years’ official charities have included cancer charities such as Cancer Research UK and other healthcare charities, including the British Heart Foundation and the Spinal Injuries Association. It is not all about healthcare though. Charities devoted to looking after the underprivileged, such as the housing charity Shelter and the widely known Oxfam, have seen solid support both from runners and as the official charities of the London Marathon.
Different Causes to Support
One of the wonderful ways in which the race makes a difference is in how it supports smaller, lesser known charities that otherwise do not have the marketing budgets and exposure to reach out to the wider public. Fund raising charities operate in a wide range of fields catering for specific needs that might not directly affect your life.
For example, Help for Heroes supports servicemen and women who suffered injuries and illnesses in the service of the British Armed Forces. This support is given on a life-long basis and provides comprehensive care. However, unless you or your family and friends are directly involved, it may be a charity that passes you by. That makes it an excellent choice for supporting during the London Marathon.
Another unique charity to support is The Outward Bound Trust, a charity that works to develop essential life skills for young people in the UK. If you’re concerned about medical research, think about running for Spinal Research, a charity that focuses on funding research to support people with paralysis because of spinal chord injury.
You Can Make a Difference
Though participating in the London Marathon is about raising money for charity, the visibility your participation generates for your charity of choice is equally important. Your chosen charity’s logo will be seen by thousands of eager spectators and it may well be the very first time they’ve come across the charity you are supporting. Your choice of charity could really make a big difference, so think about one of the smaller and lesser-known charities when you pick who to run for in the next London Marathon.