The London Marathon Charitable Trust has launched its #LMCT40 campaign – a year of celebrations and initiatives to mark the 40th anniversary of the charity and four decades of inspiring activity.

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, which is passed to The Trust through corporate Gift Aid, means that a total of more than £93 million has now been awarded to more than 1,470 projects across the UK, enabling people of all ages and abilities to become and remain physically active and challenging inequality of access to physical activity.

Since 1981, The Trust has:

  • Funded more than 55 different types of sports and activities
    Awarded funding to every one of the 32 London boroughs
    Awarded more than £11.4 million to 19 strategic partners since 2018 to inspire activity across the UK
  • Awarded more than £7million to projects that have helped preserve the Olympic Legacy, such as the London Marathon Community Track and Lee Valley VeloPark, both in the Olympic Park
  • Awarded £3.8 million to more than 200 play projects – play is often the first step into physical activity for many children, and The Trust is one of the few organisations of its kind to fund play facilities
  • Provided funding that has protected 51 playing fields (equal to about 370 hectares) in perpetuity across the UK

Catherine Anderson, the incoming Executive Director of The Trust, said: “This is a historic year for The Trust in which we are celebrating the work we have done over four decades and also looking ahead to a bright future where inspiring activity for all has never been more important. Coronavirus has shown us all how vital it is to live healthy, active lives, but it has also highlighted the unacceptable inequalities that exist when it comes to access to sport and activity.

“Our vision is a society in which everyone is physically active, which is so vital for health and wellbeing, and we will be focusing on this with our #LMCT40 campaign throughout the coming year.”

As part of the #LMCT40 campaign launch, The Trust announced that it will be offering organisations that have received its funding over the past 40 years the chance to apply for one of 40 special Anniversary Places in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October. It is set to be the biggest marathon ever staged, with 50,000 participants in the traditional mass participation event and another 50,000 in a virtual event.

As part of the application process for The Trust’s Anniversary Places, organisations must demonstrate how the place in the world’s greatest marathon will be used to inspire activity.

Sir Rodney Walker, Chairman of The Trust, said: “The London Marathon is an extraordinary force for good and The Trust is thrilled to enable 40 of our grantees to be a part of the world’s greatest marathon.

“The London Marathon Charitable Trust and London Marathon Events work towards our shared vision of inspiring activity. Our grantee organisations are fundamental in helping us in achieving this mission, through their work in using the power of sport and physical activity to create happier and healthier communities. We believe this wonderful opportunity will inspire more extraordinary work from our grantees.”

To find out more on The Trust’s Anniversary Places in the Virgin Money London Marathon or to apply click here.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, The Trust is inviting all past recipients of grants since 1981 to tell the story of how The Trust’s contribution has helped the organisation and community. You can do this via the London Marathon Charitable Trust’s 40th anniversary webpage.