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Spirit of the London Marathon

The Spirit of The London Marathon

The Spirit of The London Marathon

At the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, millions of people around the world were moved by the sight of Swansea Harrier Matthew Rees helping David Wyeth down The Mall to the Finish Line.

That moment inspired the creation of the Spirit of The London Marathon Awards.

These awards celebrate the unique spirit of the world’s greatest marathon and showcase the extraordinary stories of our participants, champions, volunteers and supporters.

Wyeth and Rees were named as the first winners of the Spirit of The London Marathon Award and former boxer Michael Watson – who completed the 2003 London Marathon 12 years after suffering severe brain injuries in a world title fight – was the third recipient.

Michael Watson: Spirit of The London Marathon

Former boxer Michael Watson, winner of The Spirit of The London Marathon Award

Michael Watson

Award winners

  • 20-year-old Aaron Plummer became the face of Mencap’s campaign, showing the world that having a learning disability is no barrier to achieving your dreams when he ran the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon.
  • A member of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, Jo started running in 2012 as a novice and has gone on to run the Virgin Money London Marathon three times.
  • Barbara Ralph has run a total of 30 London Marathons since her first in 1984 and has run the most London Marathons by a woman since the event began in 1981. 
  • Scott Mitchell inspired several members of the EastEnders cast to run the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon and helped raise a record-breaking £4 million for dementia research. Scott’s wife, the late Dame Barbara Windsor, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.
  • The former Daily Star Sunday Showbiz Editor, has run 10 consecutive London Marathons and has raised more than £358,000 for various charities in that time. In 2013, James inspired his celebrity contacts to host his very first Jog On To Cancer event to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
  • Jane Smith had always wanted to run the London Marathon, but a diagnosis of breast cancer and the resulting mastectomy and reconstructive surgery meant she was unable to run in 2018. Jane took part for Macmillan Cancer Support in 2019 with two friends as support walkers.
  • Helen Williams has cerebral palsy in all four limbs and a learning disability. Previously a para track athlete, she has found over the years that running, Pilates and yoga help her to stay focused and flexible. She first ran the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon and returned in 2019.
  • As a child, Dave Heeley was diagnosed with an eye complaint called Retinitis Pigmentosa. In 2002, 'Blind Dave' as he calls himself, ran his first marathon in London. He has run 16 London Marathons to date.
  • PC Leon McLeod was one of the first officers on the scene at the London Bridge terror attacks on 3 June 2017. Leon was left struggling with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, but ran the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon for PTSD999 and raised more than £9,000.
  • The Ever Presents are 10 runners who have participated in every London Marathon since the first edition in 1981. They are Ken Jones, Jeffrey Aston, Roger Low, Terry Macey, Malcolm Speake, Bill O’Connor, David Walker, Michael Peace, Charles Cousens and Chris Finill.

Spirit of The London Marathon

  • David Wyeth and Matthew Rees in front of Tower Bridge with their Virgin Money London Marathon medals
  • Fauja Singh
  • Paddington red watch firefighters complete the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon
  • Baroness Lawrence with members of Stephen's Team, who ran the Virgin Money London Marathon for The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
  • David Weir, multiple-time winner of the London Marathon
  • Paula Radcliffe
  • David Wyeth and Matthew Rees in front of Tower Bridge with their Virgin Money London Marathon medals

David Wyeth and Matthew Rees

Award winners

  • The joint winners of the first London Marathon in 1981 crossed the line hand-in-hand after neither could break the other over the previous 26.2 miles. Inge, from Norway, and Dick, from the USA, showed the true spirit of marathon running, forging a friendship that lasts to this day.
  • David is the most successful athlete in London Marathon history and in 2018 won his eighth elite men’s wheelchair title. David started his career competing in the Mini Marathon and as well as his victories in London, he went on to win six Paralympic gold medals.
  • The British Olympian and former 3,000m world record holder won the inaugural London Marathon in 1981 in a time of 2:29:57 at the age of 43. She returned the next year to win again and became the oldest woman to win the race at 44 years and 195 days, a record that still stands.
  • Met Police officer Charlie bravely intervened when terrorists struck on London Bridge on 3 June 2017, but was stabbed five times and underwent an emergency operation to have his spleen removed. He ran the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon just eight months after the attack.
  • One of the great trailblazers in the push for gender equality in sport, Kathrine became the first woman to enter, officially race and complete the Boston Marathon in 1967. In 2018, Switzer completed the Virgin Money London Marathon for the first time, aged 71, wearing her famous No. 261.
  • Firefighters who were among the first to arrive at the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 ran the 2018 event to raise money for those directly affected by the disaster. Members from Red Watch at North Kensington Fire Station and Red Watch at Paddington Fire Station completed the marathon side-by-side.
  • Paula created history on the streets of London in 2003 when she set a new world record of 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds – a record that remained unbeaten until 2019. Paula won the London Marathon on three occasions (2002, 2003, 2005).
  • The first paralysed man to complete the London Marathon. Kindleysides took more than 36 hours to complete the 2018 event in an exoskeleton suit, raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity.
  • Runners from the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust took part in the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon, 25 years to the day after Stephen was murdered in a racially motivated attack. The runners raised money for the Trust, which gives young people the opportunity and support to flourish.
  • The winner of six London Marathon titles between 1992 and 2002 and one of the most successful disabled athletes in British history. Tanni, who was born with spina bifida, won 11 Paralympic gold medals and held more than 30 world records during her career.
Charity entry

Charity Entry

Find out more about how to run for charity, and discover which charities have guaranteed places available on our listings pages.

Award winners

  • The moving footage of Matt stopping on The Mall to help David finish in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon went viral and touched millions round the world, inspiring The Spirit of The London Marathon Awards.
  • In September 1991, Michael sustained life-threatening head injuries during a world title fight with Chris Eubank. He spent six years in a wheelchair, but in April 2003 completed the London Marathon, walking the route in six days.
  • Rhian, part of the Mind Over Marathon team in 2017, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after her son George died from pneumonia and her husband, overwhelmed by grief, took his own life days later.
  • The record for most money raised for charity at the London Marathon – indeed at any marathon worldwide – is held by Reverend Steve Chalke MBE, who raised a jaw-dropping £2,330,159.38 in 2011.
  • DJ and poet Charlie formed Run Dem Crew (RDC) in London in 2007 as an alternative to more traditional running clubs. RDC is committed to change and works closely with young people across the capital.
  • Zamzam ran the 400m for Somalia at the London 2012 Olympic Games, but had to flee to the UK to seek asylum. She was helped by the Running Charity and completed the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
  • The first person in London Marathon history to complete the route in a bionic suit. Claire was paralysed after a horse riding accident in 2007 and walked the 26.2 miles in 2012, taking 16 days.
  • In 1995, Chris was blown up clearing landmines in Africa for a charity and lost his lower arm and leg. Less than a year after leaving hospital he completed the London Marathon. He has now run 14 London Marathons, raising thousands of pounds for charity.
  • Fauja is the oldest person to have ever finished the London Marathon. He was 93 years old when he completed the 2004 race. He was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to sport and charity.
  • On 7 July 2005, Jill was on the same carriage as a suicide bomber who blew up an underground train as part of the 7/7 terror attacks. Jill spent two-and-a-half months in hospital following the attack but ran in the 2006 event.
  • After surviving the Rwandan genocide, Claude came to London as a child. After finding himself homeless, he was introduced to running by The Running Charity, transformed his life and ran the London Marathon in 2015.
  • Seventy-one-year-old Roy has volunteered at every London Marathon since the very first event in 1981 through his involvement with the 23rd Camberwell Scouts.

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    • Guinness World Records

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    • Our other events

      We would love you to be part of the other great events we organise throughout the year

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      Don’t miss your chance to become a Guinness World Record holder

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