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An electric vehicle on the course of the Virgin Money London Marathon

Sustainability

Inspiring and delivering innovation in mass participation event sustainability

As well as the Virgin Money London Marathon, we (London Marathon Events) organise 12 other world-class mass participation events each year that focus, not only on running, but cycling and swimming too.

We are proud to lead the way in showing the power of mass participation sport as a force for good, and of the hugely positive effects our events have had on millions of people since the first London Marathon in 1981.

We want to ensure our events and activities drive positive change in sustainability too, therefore environmental sustainability is one of our company objectives that guide everything we do.

What we’re doing at the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon

Clothing

At the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon we will have signposted clothing donation points close to the start line for any unwanted, extra layers of clothing runners wish to dispose of before the race. Look out for the volunteers who will be collecting it from you and bagging it up ready to be donated to charity or recycled (if possible).

Bottles & Cups

We aim to recycle every plastic bottle used at The Virgin Money London Marathon, but we need your help. Plastic bottles can only be recycled if they are empty, so please remember to #DrinkDrainDrop. Drink Buxton Natural Mineral Water, drain any leftover liquid, before you drop your Buxton bottle in a recycling drop bin, which are available after each Drinks Station. Cups containing Lucozade Sport will be collected for composting and the bottles will be recycled.

Emissions

This year we are using Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel over red diesel within our generators where possible which have lower associated emissions over its lifecycle.

Waste

We aim to separate waste at the source and will have signed bins for your general waste, recycling and food waste. Please do not litter and take care to put waste in the correct bin. The finisher bags you will receive are made from sugarcane and have a lower carbon footprint.

Some other initiatives to look out for at the event this year:

  • Reducing waste across our events by printing runner numbers on demand and reusing signage and branding from previous years
  • Reducing the number of bottles on route by around 20% from 2019
  • Collecting waste to use in the production of mile markers for future events
  • Using electric lead vehicles and for our elite athlete transfers
  • Recycling foil blankets distributed at the end of the event
  • Encouraging the use of bottle belts

Wider Work at London Marathon Events

Reporting

In 2020 we launched our first-ever environmental impact report, Leaving the Right Impression, which set out the waste, emissions and products produced and used across all our events, and at our head office and warehouse in 2019.

All our annual environmental impact reports including our latest iteration are shown below and set out the full range of initiatives undertaken:

A full list of this year’s initiatives across the organisation and future ambitions will be outlined in the 2021 Environmental Impact Report.

Our Environmental Policy

Our Environmental Policy which applies to all our operations and events can be found here.

Working With Others

We recognise the importance of collective action and have joined the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, working with other sports organisers across the globe to take climate action. In addition, we work closely with our fellow Abbott World Marathon Major partners and other UK Mass Participation sports organisations to share knowledge and learnings.

We are excited about what we and our partners have achieved, but know there is still much more to do, and this work will continue long into the future.

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    • Guinness World Records

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    • The Charitable Trust

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      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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