In this week’s blog we are looking at, quite possibly, one of the world’s largest one-day fundraising events held annually right here in London. CAN Mezzanine have been supporting social enterprises and charities with affordable workspace and business support and facilitating them to create a better society since 1998. However, the London Marathon has been running since 1981 seeing thousands of people from all over the world flock to the city to take on the 26-mile challenge! It is impossible not to admire the phenomenal efforts of organisers and runners who take on this monumental feat year on year raising money for countless causes worldwide. So, let’s take a closer look!
The history of the London Marathon
One of the primary intentions for the marathon when it was founded, was to raise money for recreational and sporting facilities in London. March 29th, 1981 was the day that over 7000 runners left the starting line at Blackheath for the very first marathon race. The inaugural event saw joint victors, with Dick Beardsley of the USA and Inge Simonsen from Norway opting to cross the line together after a hard-fought battle. Today, the event attracts hundreds of thousands of applicants and to date, participants have raised over £1 billion for countless causes across the world!
Fascinating facts you may not know about the London Marathon
- The first wheelchair event was in 1983, and Kurt Fearnley from Australia holds the record for the fastest time of just 1 hr 28 mins 56 secs in 2009
- Many have broken records over the years, but the marathon itself is a Guinness World Record breaker for being the largest single annual fundraising event
- The coldest marathon was run at a chilly 5.3 c in 2004, which was incidentally also the wettest on record, seeing 12.4 mm of rain the same year
- In 1985, Norwegian athlete Ingrid Kristiansen set a record-breaking finishing time of just 2 hrs, 21 mins and 6 secs, a record that she would hold for 13 years. This moment was witnessed by, a then 11-year-old, Paula Radcliffe who went on to break the record herself in 2002
- October 2020 London Marathon became the first in its history to be an elite athlete only event, with the pandemic leading to cancellation for mass participation
- Despite the race cancellation in 2020, around 40,000 runners still signed up to take part in the first ever virtual London Marathon
The Impact of Covid-19
The impact of Covid-19 has of course been felt by everyone; but the toll it has taken on both the event and charity sectors is indisputable, with many unable to work, the use of cash diminishing, and charitable giving declining. However, the need for many of these charity’s services increased significantly as a result of the hardships faced.
While the 2020 virtual marathon was essentially a hit, with thousands of participants and a respectable £16 million raised for many causes. It is undeniable that the pandemic will have had a detrimental effect on charities who, in previous years, had seen as much as five times this figure raised. Furthermore, with the end of the crisis not yet firmly in sight, there is potential that the 2021 event could face similar challenges.
Planning for the future
Many of us are now beginning the turbulent return to ‘normal’ and, with this, comes an exciting opportunity to plan for the future. The London Marathon is in fact hoping to make the 2021 event larger than ever, with ambitions to hold the world’s first 100,000-person marathon. This will be a unique amalgamation of both the traditional race beginning in Blackheath, and the newly formed virtual race concept.The final plans for this year’s event are still uncertain, however, organisers seem to be remaining positive and continue working towards exciting prospects of growth.
Positive change is definitely worth striving towards and it is something which we too are embracing here at CAN Mezzanine. Namely, we continue to invest in our office and meeting room facilities, products and services so that we, and those we support, can be ready to hit the ground running in the upcoming months.