More than £50m raised for good causes through 'virtual' London Marathon events and others last year

The Virgin Money London Marathon, which fundraisers could only take part in on their own route because of the coronavirus pandemic, brought in most of the funds

Last year’s virtual London Marathon (Photograph: Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto/Getty Images)
Last year’s virtual London Marathon (Photograph: Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

More than £50m was raised for charities by replacement events set up by London Marathon organisers, new figures show.

London Marathon Events, which organises the Virgin Money London Marathon each April and other major mass-participation events such as the annual Prudential RideLondon cycling festival, said most of the funds had been raised through virtual events organised because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The marathon itself, which was pushed back to October last year, raised £36.3m, with almost 38,000 participants running virtual 26.2-mile courses of their own choosing after only the elite athletes were able to compete on a closed-loop course in St James’s Park.

Another £11.2m for almost 4,000 charities came through the 2.6 Challenge, which encouraged people to take on a challenge based on the numbers two and six, and donate or raise money for charity.

It was hastily organised by LME and a group of other mass-participation event providers following the postponement of the London Marathon and was launched in April 2020, when the marathon was originally scheduled to be held.

RideLondon was turned into a virtual event in August 2020, with riders raising more than £3m for their chosen charities.

The marathon, which typically raises more than £60m for good causes every April, has this year been pushed back to 3 October and is set to be the largest yet, with 50,000 people running the course in London and a further 50,000 signed up to run their own virtual race.

Hugh Brasher, event director at London Marathon Events, said: “Our charity partners are so important to us and we are very proud that we have enabled charities to raise more than £50m in 2020, during these very challenging times.

“These funds have helped charities to continue to provide the critical services which are desperately needed by vulnerable members of society.”

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