The Board of Deputies, together with Jewish organisations and charities have expressed their disappointment after it was confirmed that next year’s London Marathon will take place on 24 April, the second day of Pesach which is also a Yom Tov.
The annual run serves as a vital fundraising event as hundreds of community members embark on the 26-mile course to raise significant sums for dozens of good causes and as a result of next year’s clash with Yom Tov, Jewish charities face missing out on up to £250,000 in fundraising.
Board president Vivian Wineman said: “We are deeply disappointed that the organisers of the London Marathon have decided to hold the 2016 London Marathon on the second day of Pesach. This will severely disadvantage Jewish charities, who rely heavily on funds raised by marathon runners, and also Jewish runners who run for other charities. The Board of Deputies was in contact with the organisers of the London Marathon in January and outlined to them our specific concerns. We are saddened that these concerns were not regarded and will also be raising this with them again in light of the release of the 2016 date.”
Camp Simcha saw its marathon runners raise more than £16,000 for the charity which supports families coping with serious childhood illnesses, yesterday, and their chief executive Neville Goldschneider, expressed his ‘incredible disappointment’ at the announcement. He said: “Our marathon runners raise thousands of pounds for Camp Simcha but as a Jewish charity, operating across all spheres of Jewish observance and affiliation, it would be unthinkable for us to be part of any fundraising activities on Yom Tov. This year we had eight runners taking part and next year we would have had more places, so missing out on the marathon is going to leave a significant gap in our income.”
Langdon have said they won’t have any runners from the community representing them in next year’s event, with their Chief Executive Dianne Martin, saying: “It is a great pity that the organisers of the London Marathon have taken a decision that will make it very difficult for many within the community to take part next year. In view of this, we have regrettably decided not to have runners from within the community raising money for Langdon. The reduction in funds raised will undoubtedly have a negative impact on our ability to support our members with learning disabilities, all-the-more-so in light of austerity cuts continuing to affect the Social Care sector.”
Kisharon’s Director of Fundraising and Communications Richard Franklin has said there will be “no Kisharon Marathon runners on Yom Tov.” He said: “This is a regrettable decision, and one would have hoped avoidable too. Although we are creative in finding alternative revenue streams, this decision will undoubtedly impact Kisharon and other Jewish causes.
“It’s a great shame that we won’t be able to raise funds through the Marathon next year – and the idea that the impact of losing this fundraising income will be lessened by a roll-over of Marathon places into 2017, is unclear. What is particularly unfortunate is that we will not be able to take part in 2016 alongside the rest of the Not for Profit community in such a fantastic celebration of human spirit and endeavour.”
Expecting to receive in the region of £12,000 from people who ran on behalf of them yesterday, Emunah Director Deborah Nathan also expressed her disappointment with the date of next year’s event. She said: “We are really disappointed that it’s taking place on Yom Tov as that will prevent our runners taking part and will have a big negative effect on our fundraising efforts next year. There has been tremendous support for Emunah’s runners this yearand the impact will be felt next year by the children in our care in Israel if we are not able to replace the funds normally raised by the marathon.
“The London Marathon is a unique and special event and we face a big challenge to find an alternative event that will enable serious runners to participate and fundraise in quite the same way. It seems to be culturally insensitive to have scheduled this important sporting event on a day when observant Jewish people will not be able to participate.”
World Jewish Relief have also expressed their disappointment. Emma Segal, Deputy Director of Philanthropy, said: “World Jewish Relief is disappointed with the decision to hold the London Marathon 2016 on the second day Pesach.
“The marathon is a fantastic way to engage people with our cause, whilst creating memories that will last a lifetime. In addition, the marathon raises thousands of pounds to help the world’s poorest Jews, funds that are indispensible to our organisation. In 2015 alone, our marathon runners have already raised an incredible £27,000.
“We receive fantastic widespread support from across the community. Because of the clash with Pesach, we won’t be actively promoting the London Marathon 2016. However, as not all of our supporters observe second day Yom Tov, we will make a place available should someone enquire – these places were allocated to us before the date was set.”
Jewish Care have said they will accept runners who wish to raise money for them next year, though are nevertheless upset with the choice of date. Director of Fundraising, Daniel Carmel-Brown said: “We are disappointed that the London Marathon have decided to hold next year’s event on second day pesach, however we are an organisation that represents a cross section of the community. We are not going to stop those who want to run the Marathon in aid of Jewish Care from doing so, the choice falls with the individual.”
More to follow..