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CAF is one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations. We produce research on charities and charitable giving, develop policy ideas and work with people, companies and charities to help good causes thrive.

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Women winning the race for charity as millions of Brits run for good causes

21 April 2017

Women are racing ahead of men when it comes to running for good causes, according to new research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The findings, released ahead of the 2017 London Marathon, reveal that more than nine million people in the UK have taken part in a running event to raise money for charity.

Eighteen per cent of Britons (9.5m) have laced up their trainers in aid of a good cause, but in good news for organisers of events a further 10 million people (19%) would like to run for charity in the future.

The CAF research, carried out by YouGov, found that the average charity runner raises £442 for their chosen causes and the average age of someone running for charity is 40.

Almost two-thirds of those pounding out the miles for a good cause were women (63%) while just over one in three (37%) are men.  The gender gap appears to have grown in recent years.  When CAF carried out similar research in 2013 women accounted for 56% of charity runners.

Fun runs, 5k, 10k and half marathons were the most popular type of charity run for people to have participated in, while one in eight (12%) of those who ran for charity had completed a marathon.

In 2016 the Virgin London Marathon raised £59.4m for good causes setting a new world record for an annual single day charity fundraising event for the tenth successive year.  The race was founded in 1981 and has so far generated over £830 million for good causes.

Famous faces including Olympians Jo Pavey, Helen Glover, Heather Stanning and Jayne Torvill, as well DJ Chris Evans and news reader Sophie Raworth will take to the streets on Sunday alongside an estimated 40,000 participants.

Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at CAF, said:

“The London Marathon is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and among the biggest and best fundraiser.  While this year’s race will promise to be as competitive as ever, our research suggests that women are surging ahead of men when it comes to running for a good cause.

“The huge popularity of marathons and fun runs is a great thing for those taking part and for the millions who benefit from the vital work of charities being supported.  For many runners, raising money for a good cause can be one of the crucial motivating factors.”

Notes to Editors

  1. All information related to the Virgin London Marathon taken from the event website.
  2. YouGov surveyed 1,003 members of the public across the UK from 20 February to 28 February 2017.  The sample is nationally representative and is weighted to known population data on demographics including age, sex, social class and region.  Full data tables can be found at: yougov.co.uk/publicopinion/archive
  3. The ‘number of people’ is an extrapolation based on the proportion of respondents giving the relevant answer in the national representative UK Giving Survey.  It is calculated using ONS 2015 mid-year population estimates for people aged 16+ in the UK (ONE total number of 16+ in the UK * percentage of respondents giving relevant answer on the UK Giving Survey.)
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