Supporting British endurance running
One of the founding pillars of the London Marathon when it was created by Chris Brasher and John Disley in 1981 was to improve the overall standard and status of British endurance running.
To meet this objective, London Marathon Events (LME) has created a pathway of support for British running that stretches from the playground to podium. This includes:
- The Daily Mile: LME has been working with The Daily Mile Foundation since 2018 to support the delivery of The Daily Mile into schools across London. The Daily Mile encourages pupils to take part in at least 15 minutes of activity a day.
- Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon: since 1986, the London Marathon has hosted the Mini London Marathon on the final section of the iconic course in central London. Olympic and Paralympic champions such as Sir Mo Farah and David Weir have competed in the event. In 2020, the virtual Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon was created giving the opportunity to schools around the country to take part in a 2.6 mile challenge. A record 500,000 pupils are due to take part in 2021.
- Talent Development Hubs: LME supports two training hubs at the University of Birmingham and Leeds Beckett University aimed at providing bases for the country’s most promising young athletes. The hubs were created in 2019 and have already had huge success. Olympic 800m runner Keeley Hodgkinson is the stand-out name from the Leeds Beckett University hub, while European Under-23 800m champion Isabelle Boffey attends the University of Birmingham hub.
- Elite athlete funding: Since 2019, LME has provided a funding programme for 30 British endurance runners not currently on British Athletics support programmes. The scheme has proved hugely successful with six athletes (Neil Gourley, Aimee Pratt, Charlotte Purdue, Steph Twell, Piers Copeland and Jake Smith) being promoted to British Athletics funding. Furthermore, 11 athletes from the 2021 funding programme were selected to compete for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics. They were:
- Sam Atkin (10,000m)
- Alex Bell (800m)
- Elizabeth Bird (3,000m steeplechase)
- Ben Connor (marathon)
- Steph Davis (marathon)
- Jake Heyward (1500m)
- Amy-Eloise Markovc (5,000m)
- Jess Piasecki (marathon)
- Marc Scott (5,000m and 10,000m)
- Zak Seddon (3,000m steeplechase)
- Chris Thompson (marathon)