COVID-19 has affected every area of our daily lives, and the London Marathon is no exception. Initially postponed from April to October, the 2020 event was subsequently cancelled entirely, with the 2021 event also being moved to October. For the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, the cancellation came as enormous blow. Each year the charity gives out around 200 grants to young athletes around the UK, based on a combination of need and performance, amounting to a total of around £45,000 worth of money. This money is raised entirely by the 33 “Ronners” who run the London Marathon and collect sponsorship.

Fortunately, every runner who was due to run the marathon this year has been given the opportunity to run in either the 2021, 2022 or 2023 marathon as well as being offered the opportunity to take part in a unique virtual London Marathon in 2020, called The 40th Race, to be held on Sunday 4th October.

In the meantime, the Ronners, as well as other supporters and grant recipients, have been continuing to raise money for the charity through other means. Notably, Taylor Campbell, one of the Jean Pickering Olympic Scholars took on the 26.2 challenge to raise money for the charity, by doing 26 press ups, and then encouraged many other grant recipients to do the same. The British Milers Club ran a virtual 1K. Each of these initiatives raised over £1000 for the RPMF, which of course was hugely appreciated.

Collin McMahon, a prod Scot living in Northern Ireland will be running around County Down countryside on Oct. 4th

This Sunday, 20 of our Ronners will be taking part in the 40th Race, alongside 45,000 runners in 109 countries around the world. The event has slightly different parameters to the traditional race, in that participants have to complete their 26.2-mile route over a 24-hour period. That means that they can choose to run it in one effort or break it down into multiple runs. Some of our Ronners are running simply to take part and others are pushing themselves to achieve personal bests. Each of them has a story, and we will be releasing some articles on a few of our Ronners for you to read in the next couple of days. Whatever their story, their efforts are admirable and we would love you to support them by donating whatever you feel that you can. Every penny raised in support of the Ronners will help a young athlete around the UK pursue their dream, through our annual grant scheme. Generally, we receive around 600 applicants and we want to be able to support as many of them as possible. It’s been an incredibly difficult year, both for the charity and for the athletes, and as such your support of the virtual London Marathon Ronners means even more than in a typical year.

Criteria for awarding the grants this year will consider the difficult year athletes have had to navigate, with many having had their training and competition season adversely affected by COVID-19. The application process for the 2020-2021 grants will open in the next couple of weeks.

If you would like to donate to the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund then please visit

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Written by Ashleigh Spiliopoulou