The London Marathon was created after the former Olympic champion Chris Brasher returned from running the New York Marathon. He was so inspired by the sight of more than a million spectators and runners from different cultures united by this one challenge, he felt London had to have its own marathon. After months of studying the race organisation and finances of big-city marathons, Brasher established the organisation’s charitable status. His vision was realised on 29 March 1981 with the inaugural London Marathon. It was an instant success.
Whether you’re supporting from the sidelines or sweating it out on the road, at the end of the day the winners are the charities. Between 1981 and 2017, participants have raised more than £890 million, including £61.5 million in 2017, which set a new record for a one-day annual charitable fundraising event for an 11th successive year.