Brits run around the world 9,000 times for charity ​

Kind-hearted runners have covered the equivalent of 9,000 laps around the planet while raising hundreds of millions for charity in the past 12 months, new research shows.

Ahead of this week’s London Marathon, the Charities Aid Foundation has published new research showing the lengths to which people in the UK go to support good causes.

It found that about 3.6 million UK adults have taken part in a fun run, half marathon or marathon during the past year clocking up 226 million miles in training and competition while raising around £680 million for charities.

The 226 million miles equate to running around the world 9,000 times or to the moon and back 473 times.  It is also equivalent to 448,000 return trips to the International Space Station and back – where British astronaut Tim Peake will be running the London Marathon while attached to a treadmill.

Today’s research, based on polling carried out by Populus, found that 7% of UK adults had run for charity in the past year with fun runs proving the most popular type of event.  While pounding the pavements in aid of a good cause, the median average amount raised was £190.41 with participants each running an average 63 miles in events and training.

Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at CAF, said:

“As well as being one of the world’s most generous countries, the UK is also a nation which enjoys a challenge.  It is fitting that the London Marathon is not only one of the greatest sporting events in the world, but also one of the world’s biggest and best fundraisers.

“For many runners, raising money for a good cause can be one of the crucial motivating factors.

“The ever growing popularity of marathons and fun runs is great news for the good causes which are being helped to go the extra mile by the millions getting active for charity.”

The polling also found that:

  • Fun runs (4%) are the most popular running event to raise money for charity followed by half marathons and marathons (2% each)
  • Women are more likely than men to have taken part in a fun run (6% vs. 2%).
  • Women are also more likely than men to have participated in any event to raise money for charity in the past year (19% vs 16%).
  • 18-24 year olds were the most likely age group to have taken part in a charity fun run in the past year (7%). The 65+ age group were least likely to have participated (2%).

The London Marathon takes place on Sunday 24 April.  It holds the record for the amount raised by an annual single day charity fundraising event.  In 2015 runners generated £54.1 million for charity bringing the total raised since the event was founded in 1981 to more than £770 million.

Approximately 38,000 people are expected to line up on the start line on Sunday including actress Natalie Dormer from Game Of Thrones and Top Gear presenter Chris Evans.

Notes to Editors

  1. Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is one of the largest charitable foundations in Europe and is amongst the largest providers of philanthropic products and services to charities, donors and companies worldwide.
  2. 1,082 UK adults were interviewed online between 18-20 March 2016.
  3. All figures related to the Virgin London Marathon have been taken from the event website (


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