Virgin Money London Marathon donations provide lifeline for UK Charities
Virgin Money London Marathon runners have raised more than £16.1 million for thousands of charities via Virgin Money Giving (VMG) despite not running the famous course from Blackheath to The Mall.
Around 45,000 people from across the UK and 109 countries worldwide signed up to run the 26.2 miles virtually and complete The 40th Race in their own unique way after the race format changed due to Covid-19 while more than 100 elite runners were in London to run a new route in St James’s Park, in a secure biosphere environment, as part of the event.
Family, friends and supporters of the virtual runners were on hand to donate to great causes, with more than 2,000 charities benefitting from the £16,189,238* million of funds raised via VMG alone.
Jo Barnett, Executive Director at Virgin Money Giving, said: “This has been an extraordinary year and while this wasn’t the 40th marathon we’d planned for, it’s been hugely encouraging to see 45,000 runners throw their weight behind a virtual race and pound their local streets instead. Every runner and walker has defied the obstacles COVID-19 has brought to this annual event and shown a single minded determination to carry on raising funds for the charities that matter to them. It’s both heartening and inspiring.”
Figures released by the not-for-profit organisation show that UK charities are in a challenging situation, with many facing a difficult winter ahead. Gross donations on the VMG platform alone are down £25m between March and August 2020 compared with the same period last year.
Jo added: "The virtual 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon has provided charities across the UK with much needed funds in a year when it’s never been more important to dig deep and demonstrate support for the incredible work these organisations do."
The 2020 VMLM charity partner of the year was Mencap, which supports people with a learning disability. Over 312 runners took their own streets raising £710,000* for the charity’s vital work in improving the lives of people with a learning disability and their families.
Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, says: "While our Team Mencap runners may not have had the race day they had hoped for, we are overwhelmed by their commitment to run the 26.2 miles in their local area. Our 10 runners with a learning disability did a particularly incredible job and showed the world what they can achieve. The money raised by all our runners will make a huge difference to the lives of people with a learning disability, particularly as we support them through the difficult circumstances they are facing this year.
"There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK and they face huge inequalities in different aspects of their lives; they are more likely to be socially isolated, are nearly twice as likely to be inactive and die on average over two decades earlier compared to those without a learning disability. The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated these difficulties which is why the astounding amount of money raised through our Charity of the Year partnership with Virgin Money is more needed than ever. It will help us continue to support an often-forgotten group to lead happy and healthy lives, just like anyone else."
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: "The Virgin Money London Marathon is the biggest fundraising day of the year for many charities and in these most challenging of times, it's more important than ever. I would like to thank every participant who raised funds for their chosen charity and everyone who donated to their cause. This is the true spirit of the world's greatest marathon."
The public ballot for a chance to take part in next year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, on 3 October 2021, is now open until 17:00 BST on Friday 9 October.
Everyone who had a place in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon had the opportunity to take up a place in the virtual event, in addition to deferring their place to a future London Marathon in 2021, 2022 or 2023.
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*Includes Gift Aid