In less than a week, thousands of amateur runners will pound the streets of London, enduring 26.2 miles and at the same time, raising millions for charity.
With more than 70% of runners running for a charity, the London Marathon is one of the biggest fundraising events for so many charities, including hospices. Since its inception in 1981, £610 million has been raised for charity through the London Marathon, with a record figure of £52.8 million raised last year.
In 2005, Help the Hospices was chosen as the marathon’s official charity of the year, which was a great honour, a big fundraising boost and the catalyst for setting up the organisation’s events team, which now organises fundraising for various events throughout the year. The London Marathon is expected to raise around £350,000 for Help the Hospices this year with further fundraising by people running for their local hospices as well.
One of the original aims of the London Marathon was ‘to show to mankind that, on occasions, the ‘family of man’ can be united’. This ethos fits so well with that of charities in general, and of hospices in particular. Communities coming together for a combined effort and supporting each other through a personal challenge.
Participants who choose to run for a charity often do it for personal reasons, and the connection to the hospice cause is a strong one. Once people have experienced the care and support that hospices provide to both patients and their family and friends, they usually remain connected to the hospice. And personal motivation, both through the tough winter months of training, and on the day of the marathon itself, is often what gets people through.
Both Help the Hospices and the local hospices involved in the marathon provide wonderful support for their runners, for months prior and particularly on the day.
The marathon often includes several Guinness World Record attempts. In 2012, running for Help the Hospices, Tom and Bill Casserley set a new world record for the fastest marathon in a pantomime costume – they were dressed in a horse costume, which proved a rather warm experience (particularly for the latter half) in the sunshine that London put on for last year’s race. Among the 60 record attempts this year will be fastest marathon by a marching band, fastest marathon as a zombie and fastest marathon on crutches.
Celebrity runners also attract attention on the day and contribute to the charity efforts with both fundraising and highlighting the work of the charity they have chosen to run for. Keep reading ehospice this week for our story on the celebrities choosing for run for hospices in this year’s marathon.
On the day, London comes alive and both Londoners and visitors take to the streets to line the course and cheer on participants. The atmosphere is electric and it really is a great example of how people come together to celebrate human achievement and spirit.
Help the Hospices has four cheer points along the route – one at the six mile mark in Greenwich, just before the half way point on Tower Bridge, a crucial point in the run at 19 miles at Canary Wharf and then along the home stretch at Victoria Embankment. Help the Hospices employees, friends and family of runners and anyone who would like to cheer on the hospice runners are encouraged to join one of the cheer points to make sure those people who have chosen to support end of life care through this challenge receive the support they deserve on the day.
So this Sunday (21 April), if you can possibly be in London, get along to support the many, many people who have sacrificed months to train and fundraise for this mammoth achievement. And if you would like to join one of Help the Hospices four cheer points along the route, please contact us and we will put you in touch with the Help the Hospices events team.
Keep checking ehospice each day this week to hear further about personal participants’ stories and the marathon generally, as we will feature a London Marathon story every day as part of the build up to the big day.