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‘Groundbreaking’ venture formed to deliver UK athletics events

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

UK Athletics, The Great Run Company and London Marathon Events have joined forces to create Athletic Ventures, a new company that will deliver major athletics events in the UK.

Athletic Ventures will deliver the 2026 European Athletics Championships in Birmingham. The event will take place at the city’s Alexander Stadium, which served as the main venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The new company will also deliver the annual edition of the Diamond League event in the UK and will lead the potential bidding process for the World Athletics Championships to return to the UK in 2029. London Stadium will host a Diamond League event in July.

Additionally, Athletic Ventures will 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 team at major championships as part of a ‘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, while LME organises the London Marathon, a range of other running events, and Swim Serpentine.

Jack Buckner, chief executive of UK Athletics, 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 and millions in the UK will be watching the Diamond League at the London Stadium and 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.”

Dobromir Karamarinov, president of European Athletics, added: “European Athletics applauds the creation of this joint venture, and we look forward to working with Athletic Ventures for the successful delivery of the Birmingham 2026 European Athletics Championships, which is the most important competition in our events portfolio.

“With Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s historic prominence in both world and European athletics as well as hosting successful athletics events including road races, this is a very important step forward in business and competition models for our sport, nevertheless securing that UK Athletics keeps the full authority and independence on its destiny.”