Square Mile Runners refuse to take homelessness lying down
Over 2,000 supporters of Crisis lay down in the shadow of St. Paul's Cathedral to draw attention to the plight of rough sleepers, before taking part in the 19th annual Square Mile Run.
In 2008, London Mayor Boris Johnson committed to a target of ending rough sleeping in London by the end of 2012 and has been working with Crisis and other homeless organisations towards this.
However, Crisis research has proved that people are still not getting the support they need when they approach their local authority for help and are instead falling through the cracks into years of homelessness and rough sleeping.
To draw attention to this, before the Square Mile Run, the 2,000 competitors took a moment to pose for a photocall, lying down in Paternoster Square to illustrate the continuing scandal of homelessness in London.
The run was sponsored by Rabobank, the international financial services provider, who were sponsoring the event for the second time in a row, and who also had 160 runners taking part. The men's race was won by Paul Martoletti, who also won the Square Mile Relay this week with his teammate Ben Wickham, while Kira Morser finished first for the women.
The event aims to raise £180,000, which will go towards helping Crisis in its work as the national charity for single homeless people, supporting homeless people and helping them find education, training and job opportunities in London and across the United Kingdom.
Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: "Last year in London over 2,200 people spent their first night sleeping rough on the streets. Seeing our 2,000 runners laid down in the shadow of St Paul's really drives home the scale of the problem. It is a scandal that homeless people are not getting the help they need when they approach their local council for help and are instead left with no option but to sleep on our streets."
The campaign photo stunt represented the number of people who slept rough for the first time in London last year, a sobering way to give a picture of just how many people are stuck without a roof in the capital.
2011 Square Mile Run Winners
Men: Paul Martoletti Women: Kira Morser
Men: Jeremy Seheid Women: Ros Ponder
Men: Matthew Thackwroy Women: Belinda Bradbury