The prestigious London Marathon has set a course towards becoming a net zero event by the year 2030, accelerating its pace in the global race against climate change. The organisers, London Marathon Events (LME), have unveiled a range of environmental strategies to curb the event’s carbon footprint and lead the marathon community towards a greener future.

At the heart of these efforts is a collaboration with carbon removal firm CUR8. This partnership is fueled by a unique ‘climate levy’ of £26 imposed on each international runner, a move initiated in 2021. The proceeds from this levy will empower CUR8 to extract a significant amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, marking a step forward in offsetting the emissions associated with the event. This move underscores the shift from mere offsetting to actual removal of carbon emissions, aligning with the stringent definitions of achieving net zero.

The marathon’s journey towards environmental sustainability doesn’t end with carbon removal. There’s a strategic move towards employing hydrotreated vegetable oil generators, transitioning from the traditional diesel generators. This switch not only cuts down emissions but also sets a precedent for other large-scale events to follow suit.

Moreover, the electric vehicle transition is in full throttle, with LME promoting the use of electric vehicles and urging participants to opt for public transportation. These steps collectively contribute to a significant reduction in the event’s carbon emissions, aligning with the broader goal of slicing about 800 tonnes of carbon annually.

The marathon has also embraced the ethos of environmental responsibility by committing to the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework. According to The Telegraph, this commitment initially aimed for net zero by 2040 but with a renewed vigour, the target has been brought forward by a decade. This accelerated ambition resonates with the marathon’s long-standing tradition of running for clean air, intertwining the essence of sport with environmental stewardship.

Additionally, the marathon’s move towards a sustainable future has not gone unnoticed. In 2023, it bagged a Gold certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, acknowledging its initiatives on environmental and social impact.

The London Marathon’s eco-strategies reflect a broader awakening within the sporting community to the urgent call of climate action. As LME spearheads innovative measures, it not only inches closer to its net zero ambition but also inspires a ripple effect, encouraging other sporting events and the global marathon community to stride towards a sustainable future. Through these efforts, the London Marathon is not just a race of endurance, but a race towards preserving the planet for future generations.

Paul Wilkinson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Martin

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