Ground-Breaking London Marathon Will Have Equal Prize Money

The London Marathon takes place on Sunday 21 April, and this year will be a historic occasion for disabled competitors as the winners and runner-up will all take home an equal share of the prize money. The winners of both the wheelchair and the able-bodied categories will receive £43,500 each, while the runners up will receive £23,700.


The prize money for the wheelchair runners was already the largest amount in the world, but this year will mark the first of equal parity with other athletes. The total prize fund for wheelchair category has been increased by £43,000, taking it to £243,000, which will be split between the winner and second and third placed competitors in the men and womens’ race.


The champion British wheelchair athlete David Weir, who has won the men’s category eight times, told BBC Sport: "It's a very exciting year for me and for wheelchair racing. Again, London Marathon has set the bar for parity across the racing divisions. This is a huge benchmark for disability sport and I hope other races and sporting bodies can take note."


The first wheelchair races for the London Marathon were organised in 1983, just two years after the inaugural marathon event. 19 people competed in the first wheelchair race, with 17 finishing. The event was organised by the British Sports Association for the Disabled (BASD), and is credited with raising the profile of disability and sport.


However, it has taken a further 40 years for disabled competitors to finally achieve equal recognition and reward for their achievements. Training for a marathon is a huge undertaking for people with disabilities, with issues such as nutrition and hydration to consider. There is still some way to go to improve equality and inclusion at the highest levels of the sport. 


Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the TCS London Marathon, said: 

“We are proud of our history in championing participants with disabilities, from introducing our first wheelchair race in 1983 to hosting the IPC World Championships on multiple occasions and providing a pathway from the Mini London Marathon to the London Marathon and beyond for Paralympic legends such as David Weir.”


He added: “We are delighted to continue our commitment to disability sport with this landmark move that ensures the prize money available to our elite wheelchair athletes is exactly the same as for those in the able-bodied elite races.”


“We have made great strides in recent years towards our ambition to make the TCS London Marathon the most diverse and equitable marathon in the world and this is another important step towards achieving that goal.” 


This year, more than 50,000 runners and wheelchair competitors will tackle the 26.2 mile course. It’s a diverse event, which attracts world-class athletes looking to break records, and amateur runners who often wear fancy dress costumes and raise money for charity. 


The elite runners of a group of 43 men and 20 women have their own category. The whole event is broadcast live by the BBC. The route takes in some of the capital’s most famous landmarks, including Greenwich Park, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. 


David Weir, 44, eight-times men’s wheelchair champion, will be taking part in his 25th consecutive London Marathon. Paralympians Danny Crates and Richard Whitehead will also be taking part in the event.


Adam Blaze, Chief Executive Officer at Activity Alliance, said: “As the leading voice for disabled people in sport and activity, we strive for everyone to have fair access to opportunities. To see the TCS London Marathon lead the way and create equal prize money is a huge positive step in making sports and physical activity fairer. 


“For many years we have supported the wheelchair athletes’ race through our events team and watched many mini marathoners turn into elite superstars. We are extremely proud to have seen it develop into the superb competition it is today.” 


A number of celebrities will also be running the 2024 London Marathon, including McFly drummer Harry Juff, actor Christopher Eccleston, and F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham. Other well-known names include the actor Ruth Wilson, TV presenter Romesh Ranganathan, and EastEnders actors Emma Barton and Jamie Borthwick, who will be running in character.