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36,000 runners are lining up right now to set off for the 2010 Virgin London Marathon and as they power their way around the 26 mile 385 yard course, they will be clocking up millions of pounds for charity. Charity fund raising has always been at the heart of the London Marathon ever since it was first run in 1981 - indeed, it raises significantly more money for charity than any other marathon in the world.
In 2009, almost £50 million was raised by the London Marathon by race participants, and this year, the total raised for charity since the initial race in 1981 is likely to exceed £500 million. Whilst there are no overall figures detailing the types of charities supported each year, you can be assured that the London Marathon has raised a significant amount of cash for children's charities over the years.
This years official London Marathon charity is Clic Sargent, a charity specialising in the care and support of children suffering cancer. Amongst 700 runners hoping to raise an anticipated £1.5m for Clic Sargent is national treasure Lorraine Kelly!
The London Marathon field is filled with remarkable people, but arguably none more so than Phil Packer who was paralysed from the waist down by a mortar attack on the army base in Iraq where he was serving in 2008. In 2009 he set a new course record - completing the London Marathon in the slowest recorded time ever, of 13 days, whilst raising over £700,000. This year, this brave competitor returns, aiming to complete the course in a new personal record - Phil is aiming to complete the 26 miles in 26 hours, raising money along the way for 26 different charities. Over half of the charities supported by this heroic undertaking support children in one way or another.
We wish Phil Packer, Lorraine Kelly and every other participant in the 2010 London Marathon the very best of luck; we congratulate them on the outstanding contributions they are making for their selected charities, and if you aren't yet supporting a runner in this year's race, we would urge you to visit Phil Packer's website and make a small donation to one of Phil Packer's 26 chosen charities.