The London Marathon is right near the top of the list of most prominent races spanning a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, as decreed by the International Association of Athletics Federation. The event has raised over £450 million for charity since 1981, when they first began running the race, and holds the Guinness world record as the largest annual fundraising event in the world.
This year’s race, which took place in late April, featured an even more amazing wrinkle: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attending the pre-race festivities themselves.
Their Royal Highnesses met up with a significant number of the 700 members of Heads Together, a charitable foundation bringing forth the identification and treatment of Mental Health issues in the United Kingdom, who were participating in this year’s marathon.
But for those participants who were simply there to run in this prestigious race, they became honorary members of the Heads Together for that one day. Each of the 39,000 marathon runners were given a Heads Together headband to wear with their own charity vest to help make the 2017 marathon the ‘Mental Health Marathon’.
The three royal guests weren’t just there making obligatory appearances, either. They surprised runners by bestowing high fives to those participating in the race, personally handing out water at mile 22, and shouting some well needed encouragement as the runners approach the end of the course. For those who were intrepid enough to ask the assembled royalty for a photo, they were even able to take a selfie with them.
After the race was over, all three traveled to the finish line and awarded medals to many of the amateur runners who completed this arduous — but most beneficial — athletic achievement.
The Heads Together organization hailed the royals for the efforts what their presence, and their enthusiasm, had done to raise awareness to their cause.