From education to employment

London Marathon Event Director inspires staff and students to make it past the finish line

Hugh Brasher

Staff, students and stakeholders from across London & South East Education Group (@LSEColleges) listened to an inspiring talk from the Event Director of London Marathon Events (@LondonMarathon), Hugh Brasher.

As part of our Landmark Lecture’ series, this one being the very last of this academic year, Hugh provided some incredibly interesting insight into organising the world’s largest annual one day fundraising event – the London Marathon – as well as many other high profile sporting activities. 

Having been in his post for 12 years, and with his father Chris being a co-founder of the high profile event, Hugh has worked at every London Marathon, apart from just one in 2005 when he was riding his motorbike from London to Cape Town. The event has enabled charities to raise over £1bn since it began 40 years ago.

Addressing students and staff, Hugh spoke about the challenges he and his team have faced over the past year as a result of the pandemic and the importance of being bold, resilient and flexible in the face of adversity.  

The lecture also focused on the benefit of community impact, linking to the College’s recently launched #GoodForMeGoodForFE campaign. Hugh explained how helping others can be of huge value to our mental health and wellbeing and the amazing contribution of volunteers make during each London Marathon event. 

Hugh said: “In the 40 years of its existence, the London Marathon has gone from merely a discussion in a pub to the biggest and best marathon in the world. I’m very proud of what I and the many great people I work alongside have achieved in that time – and particularly in just the past year when we had to plan meticulously and listen to ideas of how we could still stage the event. We didn’t panic, we listened, we engaged and we were determined to carry on with the show – and we did. Last year, 37,966 people ran the marathon from their homes using an app that connected them to a network of other runners. The BBC staged the biggest live tv programme in the event’s history and the coverage was even shortlisted for a Bafta.

“My top tips to anybody starting out on a career is to work hard, believe in yourself and your abilities, strive for excellence – you will only ever get out what you put in. Search for and discover what your own personal values are and then look for and surround yourself with others who share those values. Go out and get as much experience as you can – experience beats qualifications any day of the week.

“Most of all, find a job and a career doing something you love. You will spend half of your waking life at work – enjoy it and love what you do. Don’t worry about anything you have no control over, only the things you do.”

The talk was followed by a Q&A session with our virtual audience. Students were particularly keen to hear about how he inspires others to produce the best, how to deal with stress and anxiety, what he is influenced by and what was the best piece of advice anybody gave you. He answered all of the questions and when asked “what is the best thing about your job?”, he answered, “That it isn’t a job – it’s a passion and a pleasure.”

 You can view Hugh’s lecture below:

This was the latest in a series of landmark lectures given to London South East Colleges’ students and staff by some of the most senior figures from the public services, business and charity sectors. Previous speakers have included former CEO of Lloyds of London, Dame Inga Beale, Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton, Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, Police Commander Dr David Musker, FE Commissioner, Richard Atkins, Stuart Lawrence, Ofsted Chair Professor Julius Weinberg, Business Entrepreneur David Gold and many more. 

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