London Marathon Events celebrates Black History Month
For the second successive year, the Virgin Money London Marathon took place during Black History Month – an annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK. People from many different backgrounds come together during this month to celebrate the positive role of black people in shaping our communities.
In October 2020, the pandemic meant that the Virgin Money London Marathon could not take place in its usual format and instead the elite races took place on a closed-loop course around St James’s Park and the first virtual London Marathon was held. This was an incredibly challenging but very proud moment for us as a company, which provided us with some incredible memories that we will cherish forever.
However, the event took place against a backdrop of months of pain and anguish for the black community following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Black Lives Matter protests around the world had sparked a commitment among many individuals and organisations to educate themselves about black history, heritage, and culture – as part of understanding racism and standing in solidarity against it.
One year on, and change is gradual. We know that systems, structures, processes, and cultures need to be dismantled and rebuilt for meaningful change to take place; sport in particular has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons all too often recently. This year, UK Sport and the Home Country Sports Councils commissioned a report by our strategic partners AKD Solutions into the lived experiences of participants and those working in the sport sector. The report and subsequent research review into tackling racism and racial inequality in sport make for sobering, but essential, reading.
We must acknowledge it’s been an incredibly emotional and exhausting time for many black and brown people, with so much in the media about racism, inequality and injustice. This Black History Month we wanted to focus on celebrating our black communities in sport and encouraging others to share their stories in their own way and in their own words.