I've just watched Dispatches on Channel 4, which was about the London Marathon and allegedly where it's money does and doesn't go.. Just before the program, the London Marathon put out a press release - which you can read, the link is on this page. In a nutshell they claim the London Marathon (LM) company is making a lot of money from the LM every year and not giving it to charity.
I'd like to take a view on this but remove if I can the thoughts from this program and take my own personal view on this hugely popular event..
Every year they tell us it is over subscribed by 3 or 4 times... that's approximately 120,000 people trying to get in and only 30,000 actually do.. The cheapest entry is a ballot place - which this year would have cost £32.00. We know that LM is also a charity giving to local schemes up and down the country although this is never made very clear to us. We also know for a fact that charities pay LM £300 - yes.. three hundred pounds for every gold bold place they hand out...
Now - admittedly the LM has to make money to pay for staff, race costs, advertising, and blahdy blah... BUT they must make a lot!.. I mean - WHY charge charities at all?? please someone answer me this very simple question... as here is my addition to that last statement - it cost £32 for a ballot place... thirty two pounds... charge everyone the same!? Charities too if you have to - but £300?? come on?
In the pre race magazine we have also been told that future ballot places will also get phased out... only people that tried for ballot in 2009 AND 2010 are able to apply. So what will happen then? I'm annoyed to think that in this day and age we can still not put on a large event without stinging a charity.... think about it for a minute - what would YOU do?.. Let me give you a push, I'm thinking - those in rightfully are people that are good for age and elite.. the rest - give ALL the places to charity.. yes ALL of them.. and then get the charities to find runners.. charge the charities the entrance fee (£32) and they can ask the runner for this... now... the good part.. the charity will no longer need to ask you to raise £1500 or so.. and the good thing is every charity would get in on the act now.. that seems fair to me..Plus - why not have more runners?? Is that asking too much?
I'm sure (putting the program aside) that the LM earns plenty of money through sponsorship deals, £32 *30,000 = just short of £1m, and also the aid it is given by helpers who don't get paid (ie water station staff).
That to me is logic - that to me is a charitable change.. it might take programs like Dispatches the fear to do this but should it...?
On a footnote the program does include an interview with the London 10k organiser.. I again find this race very over priced at £29.50 - and I have to say very un-organised. The BUPA London 10k is about £25 too - and this begs the question are these events themselves getting over priced and forgetting what the real aim is - to keep fit and have fun.
Dispatches web page:
London Marathon press release: