14th February 2020

Arena collaborates with Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and London Marathon Events Ltd in Mile Marker Competition for Aspiring Architects.

Arena are super proud to have collaborated with Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and London Marathon Events Ltd and have today announced the winning team of aspiring young architects that will design the new mile markers for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 26 April – The 40th Race.

The competition builds on the success of last year’s ground-breaking competition to design the Mile 18 Marker, in celebration of the first national Stephen Lawrence Day. It provides a rare opportunity for young architects to have their design built and showcased at the world’s most popular marathon, where their design will be seen by more than 43,000 runners and a TV audience of millions in more than 190 countries across the globe.

The winning design was developed by four Part II architecture students – Chantal Banker, Haider Bokarie, Davina Lyn and Athis Bashir – from the University of Huddersfield School of Art, Design & Architecture. The judges were excited by the design’s unusual hexagonal structure, which will be 3D-printed from recycled plastics. The intention is that the mile markers will also be used in future years – supporting London Marathon Events aim of making the event as sustainable as possible.

Nearly 40 teams and individuals registered to take part in the competition. Ten teams were shortlisted and spent a day with the Arena Group team, who build the mile markers on the day, learning about the challenges of constructing the mile markers quickly and safely. Shortlisted teams were also mentored by architects from prestigious London-based architects Squire & Partners, before presenting their final designs to a judging panel that included Sonia Watson, Chief Executive of the Stephen Lawrence Trust and Hugh Brasher, Event Director at London Marathon Events Ltd.

Launched on Stephen Lawrence’s birthday (13 September), the competition to design the mile markers reflects Stephen’s own aspiration to pursue a career in architecture as well as his love of running – he was a member of the Cambridge Harriers running club and competed in the Mini London Marathon in 1988.

The competition complements the Trust’s work supporting young people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds to enter the career he loved, as well as raising the profile of its wider work supporting young people to enter and succeed in the career of their choice. Chantal Banker from the winning team is herself a member of the Trust’s Building Futures programme, which inspires and enables young people to study and qualify as architects.

Chantal said: “We really enjoyed taking part in the competition, meeting the other teams and working on our own design. We are thrilled to be the winners and have already learnt a huge amount from the process. We are looking forward to the next stage, as we work on turning our design concept into a reality.”

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events Ltd, said: “We are delighted to once again be working with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. It was amazing to see the innovation and creativity from all the young architects in the competition and that made it hard to choose a winner. However, I believe we have found an amazing new design that will really inspire our runners as they take on the 40th edition of the world’s greatest marathon.”

Sonia Watson, Chief Executive of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust said “The Virgin Money London Marathon is an iconic event, so it is incredibly exciting that aspiring young architects have the opportunity to be part of it. I can’t wait to see their ground-breaking design on Race Day on Sunday 26April.”

Kate Karagholi, Marketing Director of Arena said “We are delighted to collaborate with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and London Marathon Events again this year.  This is such a rewarding initiative, truly inspiring.  The London Marathon is one of our favourite events of the year, it’s such an exhilarating event for our teams who erect and dismantle the mile markers and start/finish seating in record time. It is our pleasure to be involved in making our Mile 18 Marker that bit more special given the connection to Stephen.”  


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