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Saturday, 10 April 2010

Charity Races and the London Marathon

Did anyone in the UK watch the Dispatches on the London Marathon last night? It just clarified what I was talking about a few weeks ago about most of the charity races. Not enough goes to the charity.

The London Marathon charge people who win ballot places £32, but they charge charities upwards of £350! They make so much profit from the charities, they make over £600,000 from ballot places alone how can they justify making so much from the charities on top of that, bear in mind that they also get huge sponsorship deals from large corporations. The London marathon also gets reduced rates for staging the event as it's a charity, policing it costs £400,000 and London Marathon only pay the police £52,000 as it is a charity event. On top of that, councils close areas for free or very reduced costs £80,000 normal cost down to £5000 in Tower Hamlets. A 10km race in London going past the main landmarks costs £400,000 to run, if it only costs this for a 10km race not being subsidised as it is not a charity race how can the London Marathon justify it's huge profits masked as running costs. The London Marathon 'charity' make £18 million profit, out of that there are £12 million unspecified outgoings... Some staff salaries are £240,000-£250,000 per annum, double the highest paid staff in other large charities.

There is also unfairness in the choice of charities being let in to the event with the larger, more well known charities being given the cheaper golden bond places. Smaller charities are simply not considered for these places. It is not publicised which charities have golden bond places and how many they hold it is all very secretive. Strange for a charitable organisation...

A more expensive solution is offered for smaller charities, 4 'free' places for £5000-£8500s worth of advertising via banners on the London Marathon website. Usually this type of net advertisement is based on page views and not by flat rates as used by Real Buzz (aka the London Marathon.. unoficially...). Over half the money raised for those charities goes to London Marathon and not to the charities.

It is cheaper for British charities to fly people to New York to run the New York Marathon than it is to get them into the London Marathon.

The London Marathon have a monopoly and stop any other marathons in London, even half marathons in London. A half marathon organised by the same company which runs the 10km race mentioned earlier was forced to cancel as London Marathon claimed a breach in copywrite.

Their finances are sketchy too, as well as the 12million pounds worth of unexplained outgoings, the London Marathon charitable trust is incosistent by £4million in how much money they have given out in grants. Most of which has not actually been given out yet, 14 million pounds worth of grants have been awarded but not given out, many dating back as early as 2004. Last year only 55% of what they pledged in grants was actually given out. Furthermore, they give money to local authorities - why? There is an unexplained £4 million to given London boroughs with no guidance from the Marathon comittee as to what the expect the boroughs to accomplish with the money.

They saved the most shocking statistic for last. For every £6000 they received less than £1 went to charity.

It really grates on me because I think if I'm raising money for charity I'd want it all to go to the charity not to a business making profit out of people's hard work and kindness. I don't want people out of pocket but I don't believe they should be making a profit from money people think is going to charity. I have avoided several charity races because out of the entry fee none of it, or barely any of it goes to the charity and I don't think it's right. I know a lot of the charities which have places in the London Marathon can make a great deal of money through it and because of that they are acheiving good but I do not see why they feel the need to make so much profit.

For fairness sake you can read what the London Marathon had to say about the documentary here.

I know I will always choose races like the Humber Bridge Half, I will pay my entry fee myself and then I can raise money for a charity which is really close to my heart and all the sponsorship money I raise will go directly to the charity. I actually tried to set up a Justgiving account for the charity I'm supporting in my upcoming half but Justgiving charge charities £15 a month for the privelege to be on their site (as well as 5% of all sponsor money), and this charity is a small local charity which can't afford that. I don't even know if I'd make them enough to break even if they set up that account, I was so shocked at them charging £180 per annum, they don't tell that to the public, only to the charities. But that's another rant and I'm sure you've heard enough for today!

Weekly Totals
Miles - 14
Push-ups - 126 (16 weighted)
Chin-ups - 14
Pull-ups - 17
Neck Exercises - 1
Isometric Punches - 0
Wrist Curls - 1
Core - 2

Not bad totals this week, got my two core workouts in... actually I'm really happy I've got some support on this core challenge, it's been really motivating for me, thanks guys!

Hope everyone's enjoying the weekend, it's been gorgeous sunshine over here today, I hope it stays sunny tomorrow!


  1. Keep up the good work!
    I like your idea of raising money and giving it entirely to your own middle man :)

  2. gah that sounds so frustrating but i like your idea too. it totally makes sense to raise money on your own so 100% of it goes to charity. it's so infuriating how much races take and take and take

  3. That's really interesting stuff. I'll bet very few people know any of that! You seem to have a great solution to the problem too! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow, really shocking! I'll be doing some research before I ask people to donate on my behalf in the future ...

  5. I havent seen the programme but that sounds horrendous! Its making me think twice about using the just giving website for my run. I don't mind companies and other charities covering costs and making a small amount for their reserves which is charity management good practice, but it sounds like the London Marathon is really corrupt!

  6. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the nice comment:) I see that you are training for a half. I have only run in two halfs so far...with basically little training. This running season I am on a mission to finish a half marathon with a time of 1:50 or less. I am just fine until mile ten. After mile ten my brain and body go on strike:) I need to build my endurance and stamina:)

    Interesting about the charity races...I am considering doing Chicago for charity. I can't wait to read more about your journey:) Impressed with the boxing are a tough chick:) Have a good one!

  7. Thanks for this piece, Laura. This is what I have suspected for a while, and it must not continue - people are so generous and this must be rewarded, not abused. And the justgiving thing adds insult to injury!

    Love your blog, too. Great progress...