The 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon announced a world-beating landmark in the history of the world’s greatest marathon as fundraising from the event reaches £1,000,000,000 – or £1billion.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “The London Marathon has set a world record for fundraising for an annual one day event every year since 2007, with an incredible £63.7million raised from the 2018 event. That brought the total raised since 1981 to more than £955million and on Sunday 28 April 2019, in the 39th London Marathon, we will break the £1,000,000,000 mark.

“This is a phenomenal achievement and part of what makes the London Marathon unique. No other mass participation event comes anywhere near this kind of fundraising. We would like to thank every runner, supporter, donator, charity, volunteer, sponsor, spectator, staff member and everyone else who has contributed to this wonderful total.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is an astonishing achievement and my congratulations go to everyone involved in making the London Marathon such a world-renowned fundraising success – helping millions of people over the last 38 years. From the brilliant organisers, to the tireless volunteers who help ensure everyone has fun and stays safe and, most importantly, the thousands of runners who devote themselves to training and raising money for a range of fantastic causes year after year – Thanks a Billion to everyone involved.”

Thousands of charities fundraise through the event and for many charities, Race Day is the biggest fundraising day of the year.

Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “We’re delighted to hear that through the incredible efforts of charity runners and their supporters, the London Marathon has reached this remarkable landmark. One billion pounds in donations marks just how engaged and committed charity runners are to raising vital funds for the causes they care about. We look forward to a strong future for the London Marathon events as they raise even more funds for charity.”

Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK have joined forces to become Charity of the Year for 2019, creating the Dementia Revolution campaign to raise money for groundbreaking dementia research, aiming to raise £3.5million towards the UK Dementia Research Institute.

Nina Ziaullah, Campaign Manager for the Dementia Revolution, said: “It’s an honour for Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK to be the chosen charity for the London Marathon in such a landmark year. Dementia is the biggest health threat facing society with almost a million people living with the condition in the UK. We’re asking people to get behind the Dementia Revolution to change the lives of people with dementia through research. Close friends of iconic actor and national treasure Barbara Windsor, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, are amongst the incredible teams of runners who will be fundraising to break through the £1billion mark.”

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) currently hold the record for the highest amount raised by a charity in a single year with £3.6million raised in 2016, as Charity of the Year.

Simon Ledsham, director of communities at Cancer Research UK, said: “We want to thank everyone who has run the London Marathon for Cancer Research UK. It is not an easy task to take on, but the dedication and commitment of our supporters is inspiring.  We rely entirely on the generosity of the public to fund our life-saving research, and we couldn’t do the work we do without them. As an indication of just how vital these funds are, the record-breaking sum raised in 2016 was put towards the building of the Francis Crick Institute, the largest biomedical research facility under one roof in Europe, helping to discover new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. So we want to say Thanks a Billion to those who have pounded the pavements, clocked up the miles, and raised money for our life-saving research.” 

Every year, more than 75 per cent of the 40,000+ runners raise money for charity, with many runners taking on the 26.2 mile challenge in a huge range of extraordinary costumes, from rhinos to tutus, Wombles to knights, telephone boxes to Big Bens – the variety is endless.

The 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon will celebrate Thanks a Billion with the world’s best elite athletes assembling in the capital with star-studded elite fields featuring the five top ranked marathoners from 2018 in both the men’s and women’s races.

In the men’s race, world record holder and three-time London champion Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) lines up against British legend and four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah, who set a European record in winning the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. The elite women’s field features the winners of the past five Abbott World Marathon Major races including defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya) taking on TCS New York City Marathon champion Mary Keitany (Kenya), who has won London three times.

David Weir, the most successful athlete in the history of the London Marathon, returns for a remarkable 20th successive year. The six-time Paralympic champion, who has won London eight times, first raced in the 2000 London Marathon at the age of 19 when he finished fifth. The Weirwolf began his wheelchair racing career at the Mini London Marathon. Madison De Rozario (Australia) returns to defend her title in the women’s wheelchair event.

The London Marathon was founded by Chris Brasher and John Disley and one of its founding aims, which still underpin everything that London Marathon Events Ltd does today, was “To have fun and provide some happiness and sense of achievement in a troubled world.” The London Marathon has demonstrated this every year since 1981.