Michelle Chenery (left) and Badr Alanizay (right) are two of The London Marathon Charitable Trust 40th Anniversary runners

The London Marathon Charitable Trust (The Trust) is this year celebrating its landmark 40th anniversary and to mark the occasion 40 runners – all from organisations that have benefited from The Trust’s funding in the past four decades – will take part in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October.

Since The Trust was formed in 1981, it has awarded more than £93 million in grants to nearly 1,500 projects across London and the UK. Organisations that have been awarded grants in the past four decades were invited to apply for one of the 40 Anniversary Places. Each organisation had to show how a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon would Inspire Activity.

The chosen participants and organisations for the 40 Anniversary Places showcase a range of incredible personal stories and ways to inspire communities into activity.

They include:

Badr Alanizay, running for Active Partnerships

Badr arrived on his own in England aged 17 as a refugee from Kuwait, unable to speak English. Badr was helped by the Active Partnerships Young People Forward Project which uses the power of sport and physical activity to improve the health and wellbeing of young homeless people in the north of England and Scotland. The Trust awarded a grant of £600,000 towards this project in 2020, thanks to a donation from Virgin Money.

Badr said: “I have never done anything like this before and I wanted to give back to the Young People Forward (YPF) Project and Active Lancashire for what they had done for me. I was unhappy when I first went into supported accommodation but when I was introduced to YPF Project in Lancashire I felt like I was somebody and they listened to me and have helped me find friends.

“It was a great thing for me to be asked to represent the YPF Project in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon and to make others understand about homelessness. I feel this is a good way to make my family proud and my friends in Bidoon where I come from.”

Michelle Chenery, running for ELHAP (Every life Has A Purpose)

Michelle is a volunteer at ELHAP, committed to helping children with disability issues. Inspired by The 2.6 Challenge, while Michelle is running the 26.2 miles on Sunday 3 October, supporters and families from ELHAP will be taking part in a physical activity based around the numbers two and six. All money raised will be used to provide equipment to help children with disabilities to be physically active. The Trust awarded a grant of £15,300 to ELHAP which delivers play activities for disabled children and young people, based in five and a half acres of woodland in north east London.

Michelle said: “ELHAP is one of the most magical places I have ever visited. It’s full of fun and freedom for all the children and young people who use it. Children and young people with learning disabilities are one of the groups hardest hit by Covid. The multiple challenges of isolation, uncertainty and loss of support due to the closure of local services have triggered soaring levels of anxiety.

“We are incredibly grateful to The Trust for awarding ELHAP a London Marathon place and giving us this opportunity to galvanise our community to fundraise in the lead up to the event.”

Matt Dawson, running for Access Sport

Matt is a Trustee for Access Sport, and the Virgin Money London Marathon will be the final challenge in his ‘Tri with Access Sport’ series. In June, Matt and a team cycled 330km across the country from East to West coast and last month he swam 17km in Lake Windemere. The Virgin Money London Marathon is the final leg of his challenge. Access Sport has received several grants from The Trust to create more inclusive cycling opportunities across the UK.

Matt said: “I’m really pleased that the overall Tri With Access Sport campaign has now raised more than £13,000 which will help Access Sport to create more opportunities in sport for disabled children and those from under-served communities.

“Physical activity is a big part of my life and if I’ve inspired others to get involved then that’s a great feeling!”

Other participants include Liam Flanagan, running on behalf of the Holy Family Roman Catholic Primary School in Surrey. Born prematurely and with disabilities, Liam has found running has helped grow his confidence and he wants to show how it can help others too.

Margarett Ortiz is a member of the Youth Board at London Youth and is using her place to inspire young Londoners to connect with sport for the first time. Margarett said: “Running the London Marathon has been a childhood dream of mine! Using my place to inspire young people to get active is really important to me – I believe exercise is key in supporting good mental health and gives you the skills needed to deal with difficult times.”

Catherine Anderson, Executive Director of The London Marathon Charitable Trust, said: “We are so excited for our runners taking part in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon as part of The Trust’s 40th anniversary celebrations. All the runners are from organisations we’ve funded throughout our history, and they’ve used their place in the world’s greatest marathon to inspire activity in their local communities. We’ve loved seeing their ideas come to life – from creating virtual running clubs to organising community activities, and we can’t wait to cheer them round the course on Sunday 3 October!”

The participants taking part with a 40th Anniversary Place must be directly related to the organisation awarded a place or a beneficiary involved in the organisation’s activities.

The Trust was created by London Marathon co-founders John Disley and Chris Brasher on 13 March 1981 to distribute the surplus generated by the event to fund sport and recreation projects in London. The very first London Marathon was held on Sunday 29 March 1981 and later that year the first seven grants from The Trust were awarded, including £1,500 to the Ferndale Sports Centre in Brixton.

Forty years on, The Trust has expanded its remit to fund projects across the UK and London Marathon Events (LME) now delivers a number of world class mass participation events in running, cycling and swimming every year in addition to the London Marathon. The surplus generated by LME is passed to The Trust through corporate Gift Aid.

The 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on Sunday 3 October. It is set to be the largest marathon ever staged anywhere in the world, with up to 50,000 runners on the traditional course from Greenwich to The Mall and up to 50,000 participants completing the 26.2 miles on the course of their choice anywhere in the world between 00:00 and 23:59:59 BST. It will be televised live on BBC TV and broadcast around the globe.

The full list of The London Marathon Charitable Trust 40th Anniversary Place participants is:

Michael Adamson, English National Ballet
Dominic Addison, London Otters Rowing Club
Badr Alainzay, Active Partnerships
Iqbal Ali, Highbury Vale Blackstock Trust
Natalie Blagrove, Peabody
Ian Burks, YMCA East Surrey
Richard Cawker, Albury Sports Club Ltd
Michelle Chenery, ELHAP
Liberty Childs, Saint Francis Hospice
Edward Compson, Polka Theatre
Matthew Dawson, Access Sport CIO
Brendan Drugan, Bikes for Schools
Joe Flack, Street League
Liam Flanagan, Holy Family RC Primary School
Elaina Ford, Westminster Boating Base
Maria Garcia, Bagshot Playing Fields Association
Elizabeth Geraghty, Girls’ Learning Trust
Nathan Hall, Greenhouse Sports
James Hallsworth, Chestnut Grove Academy
Claire Hoath, South Bookham SPACE
Jemma Hulbert, Forestry England
Mohammed Ismail, Uffo Athletic and Leisure Group
Anna Jenkinson, South London Harriers
Karl Jordan De Morais, The Access to Sports Project
Juozas Kelecius, Restorative Justice for All
Robin Lunniss, Every Child, Every Day Academy Trust
Natasha Morris, Challengers
Margarett Ortiz, London Youth
Sutyee Pang, GoodGym
Francois Reynders, Chingford Cricket Club
Gill Rimmer, The Bike Project
Daniel Rose, Poplar HARCA
Olivia Salvati, Young Epilepsy
Kat Southwell, Activity Alliance
Louise Sutherland, Leatherhead Cricket Club
Mark Underwood, Phoenix Canoe Club
Barney Valentine, Fulham Good Neighbours
Heather Wallington, Elmbridge Canoe Club
Justin Wetters, Gasworks Dock Partnership
Lim Zhuo Jun, The Triangle Adventure Playground Association