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Run with us - Virgin Money London Marathon

Would you like to make history by taking part in the world’s first 100,000-person marathon?

This year’s Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October is set to be the biggest marathon ever staged anywhere in the world, with an incredible 100,000 runners scheduled to take part. There will be 50,000 participants on the traditional course from London’s Blackheath to The Mall – while another 50,000 people run the 26.2 miles in a virtual event around the globe.

We have a limited number of charity places available in the Virgin Money Virtual London Marathon, so if you would like to take part and fundraise for Reading Mencap, please get in touch with Marie-Claire on fundraisingmanager@readingmencap.org.uk


Why Run for Reading Mencap?

The physical and mental health benefits of being active have been brought sharply into focus during the pandemic, and this biggest-ever London Marathon offers more people than ever before the chance to experience these benefits, while also greatly increasing fundraising opportunities for charities, including local ones such as ours who very rarely get places in the physical event.

You’ll be joining a small team wanting to take on a unique challenge while making a real difference to people in Reading. Our fundraising team will offer encouragement and support during your training and while raising sponsorship.

People learning disabilities have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Research by Public Health England showed that people with a learning disability were 6 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than their peers.

Throughout the pandemic, Reading Mencap has been helping to ensure that families and individuals stay safe, have enough to eat and can access essentials such as prescriptions.

Our Family Advisers are supporting people experiencing cuts to social care and providing regular contact to reduce anxiety and loneliness.

We have been delivering more than 1,500 wellbeing activity packs to the houses of children and adults across Reading, including those who have been shielding, to keep them occupied and feel more positive while they must stay home.

Every penny you raise in sponsorship will directly help families with learning disabilities in Reading.

We will cover the cost of the registration fee, so it will be free for you to take part.


Event Background

The Virgin Money London Marathon is the largest annual one-day fundraising event on the planet – participants have raised more than £1 billion for good causes since the first race in 1981 – and today charities need the funds it generates more than ever.


The Virtual Marathon – Your Run, Your Way!

The first virtual Virgin Money London Marathon was held in 2020, when 37,966 runners completed the event, which was awarded an official Guinness World Records title for the ‘most users to run a remote marathon in 24 hours’.

The virtual 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on Sunday 3 October and participants will have 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds (from 00:00:00 to 23:59:59 BST) to complete the distance, which they can choose to run, walk or jog – participants of all abilities are welcome.


Enhancing the Virtual Experience

We want virtual 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon participants to experience the same excitement and sense of occasion as those who’ll be running through the streets of the capital.

While the Official Virgin Money London Marathon App, powered by TCS, will allow all participants to track and log their 26.2 miles, its special features will really help bring the virtual experience to life, with an exclusive audio commentary featuring famous voices providing a memorable soundtrack to the day.

All runners in the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon will also be sent an official running number in the post before the event, which they can wear on Sunday 3 October to ensure they get cheers of support from the communities they run through.


A Chance to be Creative

In addition, those taking part in the virtual 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon will be able to be creative with the challenge that lies ahead – something that’s emphasised by the event strapline: Your Run, Your Way.

 Ideas for personalising the virtual experience include:

  • Being dropped 26.2 miles from home and running back to a hero’s welcome
  • Completing each mile with a different running buddy, sharing the challenge with friends and family
  • Getting together with a group of friends to walk the 26.2 miles together
  • Creating a unique course that visits the homes of friends and family so they can set up outdoor drinks stations for a refuel and catch-up over an energy bar

With loved ones and their community supporting them, participants in the virtual event will be joining many thousands of runners in the biggest-ever celebration of everything the London Marathon embodies – fun, fundraising, fancy-dress and human togetherness, all over the world.


Support for Participants

To make each participant’s journey to the Virgin Money London Marathon Start Line (real or virtual!) as easy as possible, a large range of support materials and training guidance from Virgin Money London Marathon experts will be available on their website virginmoneylondonmarathon.com, via newsletters and on their social media channels – including Facebook Live Q&A sessions. Participants who run for charity will also be able to benefit from the help and advice the organisation they are supporting offers. 



  • Entrants must be 18 or over on Sunday 3 October 2021
  • All 26.2 miles must be completed on Sunday 3 October 2021
  • Runners agree to raise a minimum of £200 in sponsorship for Reading Mencap
  • Participants need to observe current government guidance on social distancing while training and during the event
  • The 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon App, powered by TCS, will require the participant to enable GPS to track their 26.2 miles
  • Tracking information will be used to produce the individual certificate unique to the participant
  • The virtual 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon is not held on closed roads
  • Runners are responsible for their own nutrition and hydration during the virtual event
  • All virtual event participants will be asked to upload proof of their time and official results will be published
  • Participants in the virtual event may be eligible to apply for a Good for Age or Championship place in the 2022 London Marathon and for the London Classics medal – if they do so they will be asked to provide supplementary evidence. Further information will be published in the run-up to Marathon Day.
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