More than eight out of every 10 runners who took part in the London Marathon this year did so to raise money for charity. Figures released by event sponsor underline just what a significant fundraising event this has become. The amount raised just through Virgin's own online pledge page was £13.8m.
Some 10,231 runners used Virgin Money Giving's pages to raise funds, and the company's research claims that setting a target total helped those who did so raise an average 58% more than those who did not set a target. The average amount raised by those with a clear target was £1,328.
Starting any race late is never advisable, but it seems that waiting until close to the event to start a fundraising page does not have a significant effect on the total raised. Runners who waited until 2011 to push for funds collected £1,324 on average, not far short of the £1,511 average for those who set up fundraising pages in 2010 when their places were confirmed.
Gift AidOf all those raising money, 88% claim Gift Aid. That took the average raised by runners up to £1,436. The Virgin site handled 364,500 donations for the Marathon, and is well on the way to hitting its target of raising £250m for charity through the event by 2015.
Chris BrasherThe London Marathon is now one of the world's biggest running events. Since it was established in 1981 by Welsh athlete John Disley and former Olympic champion turned journalist Chris Brasher it has raised over £450m. Former Baptist minister Steve Chalke holds the record for raising the most through the Marathon, collecting £2.32m for the Oasis Trust charity he founded.
What's even more remarkable about the London Marathon is that it is both a top event for elite runners and a popular fundraising event for all levels. When Disley and Brasher first staged the event, they were told such a mix could never work.