Staying healthy has become a primary concern within society and many people are now using this interest to raise money and awareness for numerous charities. There are many charity runs in London, which are available to all demographics, allowing massive amounts of money to be raised for good causes. The charity runs vary in length, beneficiaries and, in some cases, entry requirements, such as fancy dress. Listed below are some of the main running events held in London, in which proceeds are used to benefit charities.
1. Virgin London Marathon
Perhaps the most popular and well publicised charity run held in London, possibly the world, the London Marathon started in 1981 and has grown exponentially since that date. With around 20,000 applicants in its first year, just short of 7,000 were chosen to run the race and not all of these finished. Since the first run, nearly 820,000 people have completed the marathon, with a staggering 36,550 people completing the race in 2010 alone. Due to the high level of entrants and sponsorship, around £500 million has been raised to benefit charities since 1981.
The London Marathon generally has one or two official charities which are given automatic entries to the race, to help their fundraising. There is then a “Golden Bond Scheme” which allows other charities to buy guaranteed places, costing £300, and allows entrance to runners who were denied a ballot place. Currently, there are around 750 British charities and 15,000 guaranteed places associated with the race, with 500 additional charities guaranteed one entry place every five years under the “Silver Bond Scheme”.
The London Marathon course is 26 miles long, starting in Blackheath, before going through Charlton and Woolwich. Runners then head past Greenwich and cross the River Thames at Tower Bridge, before passing the Canary Wharf. Towards the end of the race, runners head through Parliament Square and past Buckingham Palace. Initially, the finishing point was Constitution Hill but was changed to the Mall in 1994, which has been the ending point of the race ever since.
2. Great Gorilla Run
The Great Gorilla run is a fast and fun-filled event which involves around 1,000 entrants, dressed as gorillas, running through the streets of London; fancy dress is an obligation for this run. The event started in 2003 and since then there have been thousands of entrants, helping to raise money and awareness for their cause. This charity focuses on trying to save an endangered species, the mountain gorilla, of which there are around 700 left in the world. Other areas of focus for this charity include biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction in Africa.
The course itself is relatively short, encompassing a route of 7 kilometres through London City and Bankside. Included in the route is the Tower Bridge and Tate Modern Gallery and the whole course can be walked, ran or jogged. From inception to present day, runners following this course have helped to secure over £1 million for the charity.
3. The MoonWalk London 2012
This event is organised by Walk the Walk, a grant making charity, which helps to raise money for breast cancer causes and also encourages people to become fitter and live healthier. As the name suggests, this event can only be walked, not ran, by all participants; any people caught running could potentially be asked to leave the course.
This event promotes everyone uniting towards a single aim and having fun in the process. All participants are sent a pack before the event which contains things such as hats and the trademark bra for the event. All people walking in the event, including men, have to wear a bra during the event as this has helped to raise awareness for the event and promotes solidarity.
There are two courses available, a half marathon and a full marathon, each of which starts and ends in Hyde Park. The event is held at night and entrants are given a coloured number which dictates the time they will start walking. Entrants have to raise at least £100 and has 15,000 walkers; all of this money is used to help breast cancer causes and promote healthy living.