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London Marathon changes to open up opportunities for 1,000 more charities

Melanie May | 25 January 2021 | News

London Marathon Events has announced a raft of changes to the London Marathon that will offer new opportunities to charities both this year and going forward.
This year, there are plans for the world’s first 100,000-person marathon with a new virtual 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon for 50,000 runners in addition to the 41st Race for 50,000 from Blackheath to The Mall on Sunday 3 October.
Charities should have been contacted on Friday (22 January) with the opportunity to request places in this virtual event, with a deadline for applications of 4pm on Thursday 4 February. Allocations to charities will be confirmed the following day, on Friday 5 February, ahead of the public ballot results announcement on Monday 8 February. Charity places will be available at the standard entry fee of £28 (£38 for entries from outside the UK).

Changes to the Bond scheme

More changes will be phased in from 2026, following a review of the Golden Bond, Silver Bond, Charity Ballot and One Year Charity Bonds scheme. These are designed to provide opportunities for an extra 1,000 charities a year – up from from the current 1,500.
From 2024, any charity that does not currently hold a Golden Bond will be able to apply in a new ballot for two-year charity places, and from 2026, to apply for four-year charity places.
Also, from the 2026 London Marathon onwards, charities that currently hold Golden Bonds will retain 80% of those places (four out of the five places in each Golden Bond) and the Golden Bonds will be held for four years rather than the current five.
There will be no One Year Charity Bonds from 2026 onwards, as these will also be reduced to 80% of current levels and become Golden Bonds (on a four-year term) from 2026.
The current Silver Bond scheme, which gives one place every five years, will end in 2025. Charities will be able to apply for the new two-year charity places, providing they do not hold a Silver Bond place for 2024 or 2025.
The Charity Ballot (500 one year places) will continue and will be open to any charity that does not hold any guaranteed charity places.
This is the first time the Bond system has been reviewed in 20 years, and a further review will take place at the end of 2029, with any changes then implemented from 2034.
Because of the challenge of reallocating places from the cancelled mass 2020 London Marathon into the 2021, 2022 and 2023 events, London Marathon Events has said that there will be no One Year Charity Bonds available for the 2022 London Marathon, but that all existing One Year Charity Bond holders will be able to renew their One Year Charity Bonds in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events, said:

“With the national vaccination programme underway, we are delighted to announce our plans for the world’s first 100,000-person marathon. The new 2021 virtual event for 50,000 participants offers exciting additional fundraising opportunities for our charity partners. In addition, we have brought forward our plans to increase the size of the in-person event and are planning for 50,000 participants, an increase of more than 7,000 on our previous record, which again offers big fundraising potential for charities.
“In 2019 we began the complex process of reviewing our allocation of guaranteed charity entries (the Golden Bond, Silver Bond, Charity Ballot and One Year Bond schemes). In announcing the results of that review, we are delighted that more than 1,000 additional charities each year will now be able to access guaranteed charity places and that charities created in the past 20 years will, for the first time, be able to access guaranteed places. Previously, those charities only had access to the Charity Ballot, which offered one place every other year.”

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Changes to the Charity Advertising Partnership Programme

London Marathon Events has also announced changed to its charity advertising partnership programme. It has taken this in-house for the first time and it will be managed by the expanded Charities Team, headed by Kenneth Foreman.
Charities will be offered a new streamlined four-level programme for the 2022 London Marathon and future events, featuring a range of advertising opportunities and support on the new London Marathon website, which includes marathon-specific training advice from Martin Yelling and exclusive opportunities to recruit ballot runners alongside guaranteed places designed to maximise fundraising opportunities in the event, build awareness and create a wider pool of fundraisers for London Marathon Events’ charity partners.
The Charity Advertising Partnership Programme for the 2022 London Marathon will open in early February with existing advertising charity partners offered a priority window to join the programme. There will be an opportunity for new charities to enter the programme from the end of March. 
 
Main image: 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon
 

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