An electric vehicle at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon


Inspiring and delivering innovation in mass participation event sustainability

As well as the TCS London Marathon, we at London Marathon Events (LME) organise 12 other world-class mass participation events each year that focus not only on running, but on cycling and swimming too.

We are proud to lead the way in showing the power of mass participation sport as a force for good, and of the hugely positive effects our events have had on millions of people since the first London Marathon in 1981.

We want to ensure our events and activities drive positive change in sustainability too, therefore environmental sustainability is one of our company objectives that guide everything we do.

Buxton water bottle drop bins at the Big Half

Bottles and cups

We aim to recycle every plastic bottle used at The Big Half – but we need your help. Plastic bottles can only be recycled if they are empty, so please remember to #DrinkDrainDrop. Drink Buxton Natural Mineral Water and/or Lucozade Sport, drain any leftover liquid and then drop your bottle or cup in a recycling drop zone along the course. Cups will be collected for composting and bottles will be recycled.

What we're doing at The Big Half


We're reducing our power usage at our venue sites for The Big Half, which in turn will reduce emissions. In our generators we're using Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel over red diesel wherever possible, as it has a lower emission factor.


We aim to separate waste at the source and will have bins for your general waste, recycling, food waste and Buxton and Lucozade Sport bottles when you cross the Finish Line and collect your finisher bag. Please do not litter and take care to put waste in the correct bin. The finisher bags you will receive are made from sugarcane and have a lower associated carbon footprint.

Wider work at London Marathon Events


In 2020 we launched our first-ever environmental impact report, Leaving the Right Impression, which set out the waste, emissions and products produced and used across all our events, and at our head office and warehouse in 2019.

All our annual environmental impact reports including our latest iteration are shown below:

Wider focus areas

We've split our focus across four key impact areas; waste, emissions, product and supply chain (add icons for each element).

Here are just a few of the things we achieved in 2020 across each of these areas across all our events; for full information check out our latest environmental impact report:


  • Introduced bottles made of 100 per cent recycled and recyclable materials
  • Prevented thousands of already purchased medals and T-shirts from going to waste by using them for our virtual events
  • Donated more than 8,000 items of clothing to charitable causes


  • Switched to 100 per cent renewable energy at our head office and warehouse
  • Introduced electric vehicles
  • Planted more than 1,000 trees to help balance 2020 emissions from our generators, event vehicles and staff and elite athlete travel
  • Introduced lower emission generators using HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) fuel


  • Introduced kit bags made from sustainable sugarcane that have a lower carbon footprint
  • Continue to provide Lucozade Sport Pods and compostable cups
  • Reduced packaging on finisher T-shirts

Supply chain

  • Introduced a responsible procurement toolkit
  • Incorporated sustainability considerations into our terms and conditions
  • Chaired a procurement working group with other mass participation event organisers

We also recognise the importance of collective action and have joined the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, working with other sports organisers across the globe to take climate action. In addition we work closely with our fellow Abbott World Marathon Major partners and other UK mass participation sports organisations to share knowledge and learnings. We are excited about what we and our partners have achieved, but know there is still much more to do, and this work will continue long into the future.