The London Marathon is our main fundraiser. in 1999 we bought a Gold Bond from the event organisers that entitles us to have five guaranteed places in the event each year, for a fee!
Over the years we have been overwhelmed by the support given to us by those that have run the 26.2 miles round the streets of London. It has never ceased to amaze us that after all the effort that our runners have put in both before each race in training and on the day itself they always come and say ‘Thank you’. It is a humbling moment when that happens believe us.
Only once have we been let down by a runner who was allocated a place and who completed the event but failed to give us any sponsorship! Annoyingly, he had done the same thing the year before to another charity but they failed to report him to the event organisers! But hey ho never mind. We learned from that and all the other runners have raised many £000s for us over the time since we first got involved so we focus on the positives.
We now operate on a personal word-of-mouth recommendation basis to select our runners or one of the Trustees identifies a cause or runner, personally.
The Covid-19 pandemic created difficulties for the world, not just marathon runners. For the first time ever, the 2020 event had to be cancelled as did so many other large-scale sporting events. The 2021 event was evetually staged in October 2021 and additionally, the organisers arranged a unique “Virtual” marathon that was to be staged to coincide with the usual, mass event. This new event provided for runners to run their own 26.2 miles on the same day as the Mass event. It was hugely popular and those who entered were able to obtain finishers’ medals and T-shirts once their efforts had been confirmed through the use of dedicated marathon Apps
We took advantage of the first “Virtual” marathon and had runners in each event which was staged in October 2021, instead of April.
In 2022 both types of marathons were made available again, this time under a new sponsor, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and were staged on Sunday 2 October
For over 20+ years co-founder and Trustee of the charity, Colin, had been saying that if Children First International (CFI) could not find anyone who wanted a guaranteed place in the London Marathon, he would walk it – literally, as he is not a runner! Well, as it was approaching the last time that CFI would have places in the event Colin decided it was time to ‘Step up’ and put his best foot forward and have a go at walking the Virtual London marathon.
With three friends, two of whom, Alison (Ali) Jeffs and her brother, Ian Joiner, had previously run the proper London Marathon for CFI, and Jenny Walkman, Colin managed to walk the 26.2 miles in a shade under 10 hours. At 23 miles he became aware of what previous CFI marathon runners had told him about ‘hitting their wall’: Colin found that he could hardly put one foot in front of the other but the commitment that he had made to raise funds drove him to the bitter end. That last 3.2 miles seemed to go on for ever. Never again! (But if nothing else he now has the medal and T-shirt to prove it).