Regrettably we have taken the decision to end our campaign to gain entry into the Virgin Money London Marathon.
We have put our heart and soul into this issue over the last few years, working tireless both publicly and also behind the scenes so that our son can simply take part in an event that is 'open to everyone'.
This was never ‘just about a race’. We have run 37 marathons as a family, and can run many more elsewhere if and when we choose. This was about equality and inclusion for our son Aaron and others. Having taken part in other IAAF marathons, all of which have welcomed us and other assisted runners, the decision to let Aaron enter, is and always was 100% London’s to take.
So the only conclusion we can come to is that they simply don’t want people like our son Aaron at their event. (we hope that they will one day realise just how difficult and upsetting that was for us to write).
The reason we have finally been broken is not down to London Marathon, but Mencap ‘the voice of learning disability’.
Their decision to become the official charity partner of London Marathon 2020, an organisation that continues to discriminate against not only Aaron, but anyone with complex needs that requires assistance to participate is something we simply cannot understand, given their ethos, values and principals.
We want to make it 100% clear that we are not critising the work that Mencap do as a whole, and fully understand that the money raised by being the charity partner will go a long way towards this work. It is our opinion that this is a missed opportunity by Mencap to make a real statement about people with complex needs and how they are valued in our society. Had they stood by ‘their’ principals, getting behind us properly and challenging London Marathon on their reason for excluding Aaron and others, then this would have sent out a permanent and firm message going forward that people with complex needs cannot and should not be discriminated against, something you cannot put a financial figure on.
Due to the latest correspondence we have received from Mencap UK it has been made clear to us that they will not be changing their decision about partnering with London Marathon.
We are ‘not’ a business, we are a family and there is only so much we can challenge. Whilst we have the strength to take on London Marathon, it is quite something else to take on a charity that is supposed to represent our community. We have to look after our mental health and if the last couple of months is a glimpse of what is to come then we have to say enough is enough.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported us in our campaign. All the likes, comments and messages on social media, emails from across the world, and all the supportive conversations we have had whilst out on the road.
A special thank you must go to the Mae Murray Foundation who have supported us along the way and stood by their inclusion principals.