This year’s Virgin Money London Marathon will pay particular homage to the people who make up the event; the runners, champions, volunteers, supporters and spectators. Through the new Spirit of London campaign, which will include an annual award, the event aims to celebrate the unique spirit of the world’s greatest marathon.
The Spirit of London
From the very first London Marathon back in 1981, when Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen shared the winning title after crossing the line hand in hand, right up to last year’s event when we witnessed Matthew Rees stopping in his tracks to help a struggling David Wyeth cross the finish line, the event has always been more than a road race. Event Director Hugh Brasher announced that Rees and Wyeth will be the first winners of the Spirit of London award and said;
Running the Virgin Money London Marathon is described by so many as a life-changing experience with extraordinary camaraderie among the runners, volunteers, spectators and everyone involved in the world’s greatest marathon. Our #SpiritOfLondon campaign will unite everyone running on Sunday 22 April and the greater London Marathon family of more than one million finishers – and it also has a wider connection with the response of Londoners to troubled times.
This last aspect in particular will be highlighted by two very special groups of runners this year, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust runners and groups of firefighters who tackled the Grenfell Tower blaze in 2017.
Sunday 22 April will mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, who was a keen runner and who took part in the Mini Marathon in 1988. His mother, Baroness Lawrence, is the non-running captain of a team of ten runners who will be raising funds for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. They will be joined by Charlie Guenigault, the off-duty police officer who was seriously injured in the London Bridge terrorist attack when he went to help victims, and two teams of nine firefighters, one from Paddington and one from North Kensington fire stations, who were among the first responders to the Grenfell Tower fire. These teams will be raising funds for Kings College Hospital Charity and Grenfell associated causes respectively.
Hugh finished by adding;
Every year since 1981 we have marvelled at the incredible stories of our runners and the way they have triumphed over adversity, raised extraordinary sums for charity and personified what makes the London Marathon unique. Behind every runner is a story and a support network and thousands of people work so hard to deliver the event. We have volunteers who have been with us since 1981 doing everything from sorting registration packs to manning drinks stations. These people live the Spirit of London and the new award provides the opportunity to celebrate that.
We’re #RunningLondon with you
Virgin Money Giving will be hosting a whole load of Virgin Money London Marathon content for runners, fundraisers and fans. Check back for regular content between now and 22 April and don’t forget to keep an eye on our twitter and Facebook.