Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and London Marathon Events Ltd have today announced the winning team of aspiring young architects that will design the Mile 18 marker for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon. The competition has provided a rare opportunity for young architects to have their design built and seen by the 41,000 runners in the marathon and millions more around the world watching the race on television.

The winning concept ‘Because of Stephen we can’ has been designed by three Part 1 graduates – Ayanna Blair-Ford, Shreeya Radia, Quincy Haynes – all from separate London-based architecture practices. Quincy is also a member of the Trust’s Building Futures programme, which inspires and enables young people to study and qualify as architects.

The design, which celebrates the life and legacy of Stephen Lawrence, who was 18 when he died, will form an inspiring focal point for runners and spectators during the marathon. The Mile 18 marker will incorporate brightly coloured plaques with quotes from young people describing the personal impact that Stephen Lawrence’s life and legacy has had on them. The structure will also project a mix of music and brief audio clips of people describing Stephen’s impact.

The 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday 28 April, shortly after the inaugural national Stephen Lawrence Day on Monday 22 April. The Mile 18 marker will form part of the positive message of the day, celebrating Stephen’s life and learning from his story. It is not only an opportunity to inspire the many marathon runners, but in particular those running for Stephen’s Team, who will be raising much needed funds for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

Launched on Stephen Lawrence’s birthday (13 September), the competition to design the Mile 18 marker reflects Stephen’s own aspiration to pursue a career in architecture as well as his love of running – he was a member of the Cambridge Harriers running club, and competed in the Mini London Marathon in 1988.

Nearly 40 teams and individuals registered to take part in the Mile Marker competition. Ten teams were shortlisted and invited to further develop their designs before presenting them to a panel including Baroness Lawrence, representatives from London Marathon Events Ltd, Arena Group, who will build the marker, and the Trust’s architecture advisory board. The shortlisted designs are currently on display in a public exhibition at the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford until Friday 15 February.

The competition complements the Trust’s work in supporting young people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds to enter and complete the long journey to becoming qualified architects.

Quincy Haynes, from the winning team, said ‘We wanted our design to acknowledge the tragedy of Stephen’s death, but also to celebrate his legacy and the work of the Trust. We are incredibly excited to see it built and hope that it will motivate runners as they reach one of the toughest miles of the Marathon.’

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events Ltd, said: “We are proud to support the work of the Trust and to celebrate Stephen’s life and legacy with this 18 Mile marker at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon. The design is truly inspiring and we look forward to showcasing it to the world on Race Day on 28 April.”

Sonia Watson, Chief Executive of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust said “We have been amazed and delighted by the talent and creativity of all those who entered the competition. It has shown the incredible impact of Stephen’s life and legacy in inspiring a new generation. I am sure that the Mile 18 marker will both inspire those running the marathon and be a powerful message to everyone who sees it about what we can all achieve.’

In addition to celebrating Stephen’s legacy, the competition is intended to help entrants develop their skills and experience. The competition stages mirror a professional architecture competition as far as possible, giving real life experience to participants as well as helping them to build their portfolios. Shortlisted teams also spent a day at the Arena Group warehouse learning about how the mile markers are built, and Arena Group will also train the winning team in working at height, not only giving them a qualification for the future, but enabling them to be actively involved in building the Mile 18 marker.