London Marathon 2023

London Marathon 2023

Over 40k runners, each with their own stories to tell taking on 26.2miles in the heart of London for what was truly one of my greatest challenges completed. Being actively involved in a large event such as the London Marathon that required incredible amounts of preparation and organisation, it was fascinating to notice how the world of sportswear and sustainability come into play as the founder of Lockr Space. In this space, I’ll share some of what I saw in what was genuinely one of the best events that I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in thanks to the incredible Laureus Foundation 

Clothes Donation – This was a great surprise to see especially when it comes to the circular economy. Before the marathon race, while all the runners were in their holding pens near the start of the race, there was an opportunity to throw any old sportswear to a group of volunteers. It was incredible to see how many people had sportswear to donate as I saw tens of people throwing all kinds of gloves, jackets and t-shirts over the fence.  

Water bottles – Hydration being emphasised during the marathon was inevitable and one of the sponsors of the event was Buxton water who had several stations along the route. Thousands of small bottles of water must have been handed out during the race and reading up on the sustainability of Buxton was very interesting. Their bottles are made from recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) except the caps and labels. However, there are still a number issues with rPET. Recycling the bottles is difficult when water remains in the bottles (which the majority still had water inside), rPET is not biodegradable and bottles which can’t be recycled are burnt or dumped. According to the London Marathon's sustainability page, they had less water stations than normally and I personally loved the compostable cups that Lucozade were handing out for their drinks but great alternatives do exist. More emphasis on runners to bring their own soft cups/water bottles from home or partnering with Notpla that provide seaweed liquid containers could be more eco-friendly options.  

Partnerships – There were a number of different organisations that have worked with the London Marathon that have offered solutions and ideas that seem to have been well received and carried out. These include Trees Not Tees to give runners the opportunity to opt out a t-shirt/medal to plant a tree, Blueprint for All to create new mile eco-friendly mile markers and Climate Impact Partners to work on travel emissions of all participants in the marathon. It was great to see the transparency on the website but it would be great to see more of this at the event and also transparency on where the gaps currently exist. 

Diversity & Inclusion – Let me be clear, I bumped into a number of different people from all ages, races and ethnicities at the beginning of the race all the way through to the end but it definitely shocked me to see how little the participation was from those in the BAME community, specifically the black community. I knew some great individuals from fantastic running groups such as Run With Purpose, Mafia Moves, Ldn Select and more involved in the London Marathon providing INSANE amount of energy. However, the sheer low comparison for a city that embraces diversity was clearly noticeable. Social sustainability is an area we sometimes tend to undervalue and it made me appreciate two things: first, how invaluable inclusive running groups for specific groups of runners can be for those new to running and secondly, representation especially as a black runner who isn’t an elite runner can be to inspire others. 

The London Marathon was and most likely will always be a sensational event to be participate in. It has the ability to make a huge impact to many communities and influence individuals to do more whether that is for charity, the environment or themselves. In a world where leading institutions can make the difference, the London Marathon ticked some boxes and in combination with other organisations including Lockr Space, can tick some more to drive change through sport. 

Feeling inspired to go for a run or planning your next race? Get your outfit ready for your next run by shopping with Lockr Space here.


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