Massive data breach at London Marathon reveals 38,000 runners' details

Massive data breach at London Marathon reveals 38,000 runners' details

Massive data breach at London Marathon reveals 38,000 runners' details

IT | Kirsty Weakley | 25 Apr 2012

The Information Commissioners Office is investigating a possible data breach of the London Marathon website which made at least 18,000 charity fundraiser’s contact details publicly available.

The home address and email address of all 38,000 runners were available on the event’s website on Monday 23 April, the day after the race. The organisers were only made aware of the breach when contacted by the BBC, which had found out about the breach when one of its presenters was contacted by a fan.

More than half of the people participating in the race do so on behalf of a charity through the London Marathon’s gold and silver bond scheme for charity places.  

The Information Commissioner’s Office issued a statement yesterday that said: “We’re aware of a possible data breach involving the website of the organisers of the London Marathon. We will be investigating this, before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken.”

Nick Bitel, chief executive of the London Marathon, apologised for the error and said: “We immediately made sure the glitch was corrected. We do not believe that this has led to a substantial number of individuals’ details being accessed by members of the public."

Following the investigation the regulator could impose a fine of up to £50,000 for serious data breaches.

London Marathon Ltd donates any surplus income from sponsorship, marketing, advertising and entry fees to the London Marathon Charitable Trust. Last year the Trust awarded a total of £5.3m in grants to almost 60 projects in London to refurbish sports facilities.

2013 planning already underway

The public ballot to apply for the 2013 London Marathon will open on 30 April and some charities including Marie Curie Cancer Care and Action for Children are already encouraging people to apply on their websites.

Age UK and YouthNet were also today announced as the joint official partner for the 2013 London Marathon which is backing a digital inclusion service through which the charities will bring young people and older people together to share experiences of the internet.

The charities aim to recruit 600 runners and raise £1m to fund a national project. More information on the project is available at



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