London Marathon organiser seeks views on how charity places are allocated

05 May 2020 News

London Marathon Events has begun a review of how guaranteed places at its event are allocated to charities. 

It expects to complete the consultation process by December. But due to the complexity of the current system, changes would not be fully implemented until 2027. 

There are different methods for charities to obtain places in the London Marathon, and there has been criticism that the current scheme is unfair. 

The marathon is the biggest single fundraising event in the UK and raises over £60m for charities. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event has been postponed until the autumn. 

Survey of charities 

London Marathon Events has sent a survey to 2,000 charities and said it is keen for others to participate. 

It is asking for thoughts on how guaranteed charity places should be allocated, its current advertising packages, and if the two are good value for money. 

Hugh Brasher, event director for London Marathon Events, said: “We want to hear from charities of all sizes that have had places in the London Marathon and from those that have not. With the devastating impacts of Covid-19 on charity income, this review becomes even more important. Places in the London Marathon provide a very powerful fundraising opportunity.”

Charities should contact [email protected] to obtain the survey. The deadline for responses is 5pm on Friday 15 May.

Current scheme 

The Golden Bond scheme, which was set up in 1993 and which gives charities access to places for £300, has been closed to new applications for some time. Some 750 charities hold 15,000 places between them under this arrangement, and each can renew their bonds indefinitely. 

Later a Silver Bond scheme was launched, which offers 550 charities one place every five years. 

In 2015 the London Marathon launched a ballot for charities that do not hold Golden Bond places or do not hold a Silver Bond place for that year. Each year, 500 places are available via this scheme.  

Charities can also obtain places by buying advertising packages. Documents seen by Civil Society News in 2018 showed that there were nearly 20 different packages on offer, starting at around £2,500 for a package that includes one guaranteed place, and going up to £22,250 for a Gold Package, which includes eight guaranteed places. 

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