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Charity runner fights back the tears after nearing the finish line

Reasons to run for charity

Why run the Virgin Money London Marathon for charity?

Running the Virgin Money London Marathon and fundraising for charity has never been more popular – with our participants raising more than £1 billion since 1981.

It’s not surprising, as running for charity has lots of benefits for both you and the charity you support – as we explain below.

Benefits of running the London Marathon for charity

Raising money for charity doesn’t only benefit good causes – running for charity can have a positive effect on you and your personal Virgin Money London Marathon goals too…

Make a difference

Every year charities buy places in the Virgin Money London Marathon, then give them to runners who agree to raise a minimum amount of money – these are called charity entries. They can be a great way to make a difference and get a place in the marathon if you missed out in the ballot.

On the other hand, if you do have a ballot place and use that to run for charity, the charity gets all the money you raise and won’t have to spend anything on your place. So whichever way you end up running for a good cause, you’re helping yourself and your charity!

Say thank you

Raising money for charity helps real people and can change lives. So if you run for a cause that has helped you or a loved one in some way, you’ll have a golden opportunity to give something back and show the charity how much you appreciate its help and support.

Raise awareness

As well as raising money, running the Virgin Money London Marathon for charity can help raise awareness of its cause – particularly important for smaller or new organisations. On Marathon Day hundreds of people will see you wearing your charity’s logo with pride, and everyone who sponsors you can learn more about the charity and the great work it does via your Virgin Money Giving fundraising page.

Motivate yourself

Knowing that you’re raising money for charity can give you an extra incentive to run the Virgin Money London Marathon. If you just run for the sake of it, you may start to doubt yourself and feel tempted to give up when the going gets tough – knowing you’re supporting a good cause could be the boost you need to get up and train in the cold, wet winter months.

Gain Gift Aid

If your friends and family are UK taxpayers, extra money can be added to their donations as Gift Aid. This won’t cost them any extra because Gift Aid is reclaimed from the government, but your charity will certainly appreciate the difference!

Have fun

Don’t underestimate how much fun running the London Marathon for charity can be! You’ll have the chance to meet all sorts of people and make new friends as you train and attend events organised by your charity, as well as on the big day itself.

In order to stand out among the sea of runners on Marathon Day, many charity participants wear fancy-dress or do something a bit different in order to attract attention to their fundraising campaign – it can give you an extra challenge, especially if you’ve run marathons before, and provides the perfect excuse if your time is a bit slower than you’d hoped for!

“A great experience that I will never forget. I’m so proud to have helped the National Autistic Society. Thank you for the overwhelming support I received.”

Geoff Hurst,

a National Autistic Society runner from Hampshire

Help with marathon training

Your chosen charity will do its utmost to look after you from the outset, with a complete package to support you throughout both your fundraising and training.

A typical package could include:

  • Regular newsletters and charity updates
  • Expert training plans and a fundraising pack
  • More tailored email support from running experts
  • Vest or T-shirt to wear on Marathon Day
  • Participant’s goody bag
  • Support from local charity representatives
  • Information about online fundraising
  • Forum to chat with other runners online.
  • Pre-event ‘carbohydrate party’ so you can build up your energy stores
  • Cheer points on the marathon route where supporters will make lots of noise!
  • Post-event reception, often with free massages, showers, hot food and drinks

While these packages vary from charity to charity, one thing is guaranteed – whichever charity you choose to support, they’ll be really pleased to have you on board.

“Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to run the marathon. It was an amazing day from start to finish. The emotional highs and lows were incredible. The support throughout was brilliant, especially the Anthony Nolan gang at all the different spots.”

R Sagoo, 

an Anthony Nolan runner from London

Support on Marathon Day

You’ve trained, you’ve chatted and you’ve shared your marathon hopes and dreams, but it’s on Marathon Day that being part of a charity team really comes into its own. Of course, different charities will offer different things, depending on their size and resources, but you should expect to be supported at every stage of the event.

Before the marathon

Most charities will give you a T-shirt or vest with its logo on to wear on the day, and if it’s wet or cold, some will provide protective clothing, such as waterproofs, caps or ponchos to wear while you wait for the off. Make sure you bring your own clothing too though – you’ll be able to leave your kitbag at the baggage trucks before the marathon starts and pick it up at the Finish Line. 

During the marathon

Most charities will have cheering points around the Virgin Money London Marathon course, where their supporters will offer plenty of encouragement from the sidelines – this should give you a huge boost and keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Some charities will also offer help to any friends and family who come to support you. They can give tips, such as where the best place to watch the action is, and provide them with clothing, flags, balloons – anything that helps promote the charity and spurs on the runners.

After the marathon

Although you’ll be buzzing when you cross the Finish Line, there are also some practicalities to consider, such as where you can meet up with friends and relatives and collecting your kitbag. Many charities will provide a reception area just a few metres from the finish to help guide you through this part of the day.

Some charities will also provide a post-race package to help you unwind – you could look forward to a massage, shower, food and drink, or even just a celebratory chat with your charity’s other runners – you’ll be bursting to tell each other your Marathon Day stories!

“Every time I ran past an NSPCC cheering point there was a roar of encouragement and shouting of my name – it felt so good and helped me no end. It was my first-ever marathon and the most amazing experience!”

Emily, 

a NSPCC runner from London

Convinced? Great – here’s how to run for charity

As mentioned above, there are two routes to running for charity. If you’re waiting for your ballot result or have found out that you haven’t got a place, you can secure a guaranteed charity entry by pledging to fundraise – visit our list of charities with places to find out more. If you’ve been lucky in the ballot (congratulations!) and want to run for a charity, search our charity listings, choose a cause to fundraise for and get in touch with them – they’ll be delighted to hear from you. Good luck!

Charities to run for

    • Need a place?

      Search our charity listings for a cause that you’re interested in and get in touch

    • A-Z Listings

      Search our A-Z listings of charities to run for

    • I have a ballot place

      Got a place through the ballot? Why not run for a cause that’s close to your heart?

    • Need a place?

      Search our charity listings for a cause that you’re interested in and get in touch

    • A-Z Listings

      Search our A-Z listings of charities to run for

    • I have a ballot place

      Got a place through the ballot? Why not run for a cause that’s close to your heart?

    • Need a place?

      Search our charity listings for a cause that you’re interested in and get in touch

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