The Great Run Company (GRC), London Marathon Events (LME) and UK Athletics (UKA) have partnered on what they promise will be an innovative model to deliver major sports events in the UK.

Announcing the creation of new joint venture Athletic Ventures, the three partners said it is set to transform the future and growth of athletics in the UK and to deliver major athletics events.

The Great Run Company CEO Paul Foster said that the deal means that for the first time, major athletic events will be underwritten by commercial organisations not the public sector.

“We firmly believe that this model is the future for major events, and that the Birmingham European Championships will be a huge success for Great Britain, on and off the track,” he said.

Athletic Ventures is set to deliver the 2026 European Athletics Championships in Birmingham and the annual edition of the Diamond League in the UK. It will also lead the potential bidding process for the World Athletics Championships to return to the UK in 2029.

The new company will also take over the quest to find new commercial partners for athletics in the UK, offering opportunities from grassroots activities to national events and the UK athletics teams at major championships in an innovative ‘playground to podium’ sponsorship programme.

GRC organises The Great North Run, and an annual programme of running and open water swimming events across the UK. LME organises the London Marathon and RideLondon, along with a range of running events and Swim Serpentine.

Foster said the partnership is driven not only by a belief in the sport of athletics but also the belief that there is real commercial opportunity: “We’re bringing together the best event organisers in our sport to create a new template for international events. We’re combining world class creative, broadcast and event operations with focused commercial and entrepreneurial vision to develop a brighter future for athletics.

LME event director Hugh Brasher said, “We believe that this partnership will, over time, help deliver even more societal change than our combined events have achieved over the last forty years.

“The entrepreneurial spirit that is at the core of this new partnership has the potential to truly deliver for athletics from the playground to the podium.’’

Pictured (L-R) Paul Foster, CEO The Great Run Company. Jack Buckner, CEO UK Athletics.
Hugh Brasher, event director, London Marathon Events.