Running for charities has become an increasing feature of marathons nationwide over the past 25 years. The four largest US marathons – the New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Marine Corps (in Washington, D.C.) marathons – all have official charity programs. But the Boston Marathon, as the oldest and perhaps most prestigious American marathon, has led the way with the oldest charity program and the most money raised.
Charity runners and fundraising have been part of the essential fabric of the Boston marathon for 25 of its 117 years. Since the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) began a partnership with the American Liver Foundation in 1989, the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program partners have raised more than $133 million for local charities.
Outside the United States, the London Marathon, which was just held on Sunday, has raised more than £500 million for charity since 1981. The race also holds the Guinness world record for largest annual fundraising event in the world, a title it has held since 2007.