The power of the London Marathon

I always look forward to the Virgin Money London Marathon, which is coming around on 28th April. It’s a time to admire the dedication and tenacity of the runners, and get inspired by their enthusiasm and goodwill. Of course, not everyone is going to run a marathon (not sure i ever will, although i hope to try one day soon!), but the event is an inspiration to the many of us who aspire to achieve some level of fitness or get involved in sport.

If you’re thinking of starting out a new fitness regime – and this is something I’ve done recently after many years of neglect – think of every small milestone as an achievement. Even a daily half-mile walk round your neighbourhood will incrementally boost your fitness, as well as your mental and emotional wellbeing.

Another of the fantastic things about the marathon is the millions of pounds it raises for numerous charities every year – in fact, it’s one of the largest single day fundraiser in the world and has generated over £890 million for charity since its inception in 1981. While supporting the larger charities though, it’s important to remember that the charity space has become hyper competitive, and that there are lots of smaller charities too.

That’s why I think it’s vital to pay attention to these smaller charities as well as the big ones so that their voices are also heard. Without denying that the big UK charities are fantastic causes, there is great satisfaction in supporting their smaller counterparts. My own charity Kit Us Out is one of those small-scale organisations jostling for attention. 

Its aims are a good fit with the ethos of the London Marathon: to create a level playing field for para-athletes the world over by supplying sports kit and equipment to those training in developing countries. With the marathon open to both able-bodied competitors and the disabled, its spirit and that of Kit Us Out is all about showcasing what is possible – so it shouldn’t matter what your physical attributes are or where you are from to be able to feel a sense of achievement.

Inclusivity is the key here. The ability to practise sport and achieve your full potential should be a basic right for all, no matter who you are. It’s also about challenging old perceptions about what a person can or can’t do, a cause I am passionate about.

Without a doubt, I will be cheering on all those runners on the 28th, especially those who have defied the odds to be there, and I’ll also be looking out for those low profile charities amongst the big names, whose passion and commitment changes lives for so many.

You can find out more about the Virgin Money London Marathon here.

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