UK Athletics (UKA), The Great Run Company (GRC) and London Marathon Events (LME) on Monday announced the creation of a new joint venture, “Athletic Ventures.” Athletics Ventures is set to transform the future and growth of athletics in the UK and to deliver major athletics events.

Athletic Ventures (AV) will deliver the 2026 European Athletics Championships in Birmingham and the annual edition of the Diamond League in the UK. The company will also lead the potential bidding process for the World Athletics Championships to return to the UK in 2029.

AV will take over the quest to find new commercial partners for athletics in the UK, offering opportunities from grassroots activities to national events. It will also support UK athletics teams at major championships in an innovative “playground to podium” sponsorship program.

GRC organizes The Great North Run. It is the world’s biggest half marathon and an annual program of running and open water swimming events across the UK. LME organizes the London Marathon. It is the most popular marathon on the planet. It is also the world’s biggest annual one-day fundraising event. And RideLondon, the world’s greatest festival of cycling, in addition to a range of running events and Swim Serpentine.

Jack Buckner, CEO of UKA, said, “This is a groundbreaking model for the development of athletics and for major sports events in the UK. And we believe our new partnership, which combines the national governing body with the expertise of London Marathon Events and The Great Run Company, will transform the future of athletics in this country.”

“Athletics is the most watched sport at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Millions in the UK will be watching the Diamond League at the London Stadium. Hundreds of millions across the globe will be following the action from the stadium in Paris. Putting our sport and our great athletes — such as Molly Caudery, Hannah Cockroft, Keely Hodgkinson, Matthew Hudson-Smith and Josh Kerr — front of mind. We pledge to build on this huge opportunity to rejuvenate British athletics. Working alongside our Home Country partners, to restore our sport to the popularity of the golden days of the 1980s.”

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events, added, “More than four decades ago, my father co-founded the London Marathon and Paul’s father created the Great North Run. These events have become the most successful marathon and half marathon in the world and inspired millions of people to become active.

“Combining the sport of athletics, which features the basics of all sports in running jumping and throwing, with the greatest road running events in the world is just the start of this journey. 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.’’

“The partnership is driven not only by a belief in the sport of athletics but also the belief that there is real commercial opportunity, shared Paul Foster, CEO of The Great Run Company.

“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.

“For the first time, major events will be underwritten by commercial organizations, not the public sector. We firmly believe that this model is the future for major events. It and that the Birmingham European Championships will be a huge success for Great Britain, on and off the track.”

The President of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, supports the joint venture.

“This is a very exciting time for our sport. We are attracting viewers in the hundreds of millions for our World Championships. With the Paris Olympics mere months away interest in athletics will only increase. It is innovation and creative partnerships like this joint venture between The Great Run Company and London Marathon Events – with their impressive track record in road running – combined with UKA’s world class athletes, that will keep pushing our sport forward. Making it an attractive proposition for fans and commercial partners alike. We applaud this innovative initiative and eagerly look forward to seeing the promising journey ahead.”

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