More MS news articles for October 2000

MS Society Selected as official charity of London Marathon

12th September 2000

The London Marathon Charitable Trust was established in 1981 in order to distribute the money covenanted to it by The London Marathon Limited. Since the first London Marathon over £7 million has been granted to fund or part-fund the development, or refurbishment, of a wide variety of sports and recreation facilities for local people of all ages and sporting abilities in Londonís Boroughs. Grants have been made towards the cost of: sports equipment for schools; ramps and lifts to help disabled people enjoy sports; the establishment of play and nature trails and improvements to existing leisure facilities.


There is no other marathon in the world that comes close to the Flora London Marathon in its mass appeal as a charity fundraising event. Tens of thousands of individuals, many novice runners, take up the marathon challenge in order to raise funds for charities close to their hearts.

The Flora London Marathon revealed that over £15 million was  raised for charity as a result of the 1998 race. A staggering 76.2 % of those running in the race chose to run for charity (around 23,000), each of them capturing the admiration of friends, family and colleagues, helping to raise huge sums for charities large and small, national and international.

Not only do the charity runners raise valuable funds but they provide the race with its unique colourful character. All over the world the Flora London Marathon is renowned for its fun runners, particularly those in costume.

Since the very first London Marathon in 1981, when the most noticeable costumed runner was a waiter who carried a tray with a bottle of mineral water over the 26.2 mile course, a myriad of brilliant costumes have been worn in the race including: Mickey and Minnie Mouse; superman; a tub of Flora; fairies; a womble; rhinos; Rupert Bear; flowers; a pot-noodle; Big Ben; a fighter plane and an emu, to name a few.

Every year the charity side of the race develops and as a result the atmosphere on and around the course is getting more and more like a carnival.

The Flora London marathon will again be developing this aspect of the race to increase the buzz of activity around the course. Pubs will be hosting charities and bands, street entertainment from belly dancers to Pearly Kings and Queens will be entertaining the crowds and local schoolchildren will be cheering the runners on their way. Again the streets will be buzzing with activity.

"The charity side of the Flora London Marathon is of great importance to us. Not only does it add a unique character to the event but also to know that millions of pounds is being raised for many UK-based charities is extremely rewarding," said Nick Bitel, Chief Executive, Flora London Marathon.



Alastair Hignell is a former England rugby international - he won 14 caps - and is now a BBC sports commentator.  In 1999 he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"I am delighted that the MS Society has been chosen as official charity to the 2001 Flora London Marathon - and even more so to have been asked to captain its team.

"Living with MS now puts marathons beyond me but I'm hoping you'll support the Society's work for people with MS by running with us.   We're aiming to make this our best event ever by putting together a team of 1000.   Please make us your choice for 2001."

As official charity the MS Society will benefit from guaranteed entries  and a heightened profile through event publicity and literature.   Official charities in the past have raised up to £1 million from their fundraising activities.

Nick Bitel, Chief Executive of the Flora London Marathon commented, "We are absolutely delighted to announce the MS Society as our official charity for the 2001 Flora London Marathon. This charity has been hugely successful in its fundraising through the Marathon in the last few years and has made a real difference for many people suffering with MS. We hope this special status will increase both awareness, and funds, raised for this very worthy cause."

Ken Walker, Marketing Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Society said, "The MS Society is thrilled to have been selected as the official charity for the 2001 Flora London Marathon. Next yearís race falls on the first day of National MS Week. It is therefore a perfect way of launching a very important week for both the charity and people with MS."

The MS Society is the only nationwide charity caring for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis in the UK.  It is proud to be the Official Charity to the 2001 Flora London Marathon and celebrate the 21st race of this amazing event.

Funds raised in the 2001 Flora London Marathon will help support two vital projects.  The Society will be launching a new nursing programme to provide specialist local care to people living with multiple sclerosis as well as continuing with its programme of ground breaking research to bring hope for the future.

We hope to have a team of over 1000 runners in our MS Superstars Team and when you join you will be treated like one.  Support will include:

1.  training advice
2.  runner's packs
3.  innovative fundraising tips and events
4.  a range of incentives for the fastest time and money raised
5.  hospitality on race day for you and your supporters
6.  a team of masseurs to sort you out after the race
7.  the chance of changing the lives of people affected by multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease amongst young adults in the UK.  It is typically diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 45 when career and family demands are at their greatest.   It is also the age range of 83% of Flora London Marathon runners.

People who run marathons know all about fatigue.  But for 85,000 people in the UK who have multiple sclerosis the word has a very different meaning.  For them, chronic fatigue is one of the many debilitating symptoms which make MS such an unpredictable and devastating disease.

MS stops messages getting through from the brain to the part of the body you want to use - like  your legs when you're trying to walk.  Sometimes the shortest journey can feel like wading through treacle, or like you've got weights attached to your feet.

For people living with MS, the general lack of support available makes getting to grips with MS very difficult.  Which is why the work of the MS Society is crucial.

The MS Society provides welfare support through a national helpline, grants,  information and respite care homes and at a grass roots level through our network of 373 local branches.  In addition we bring hope for the future by being the UK's major funder of MS research.

So join the MS Marathons Superstars Team this year and help us to make sure that no-one need ever face multiple sclerosis alone.

For further information contact the MS Hotline on 0870 241 3565