2011 Virgin London Marathon: Sir Richard Branson Starting the race

Cover of "Virgin London"

Cover of Virgin London

The Virgin London Marathon is about to start, just wanted to get you a few more notes on the race. We will cover the race live from London, then head to Heathrow, fly to Boston and cover Boston on Monday.

Just finished my three mile walk this morning along the St. Katherine Docks, which was totally deserted this morning! Both races should be tremendous, in London, as the womens' race starts at 9 am and the Men's elite at 9.45 am. I am in the London Media room, which gives us a ton of room to work and information galore.

35,643 applications were accepted for the 2011 Virgin London Marathon, which means, with such good weather, 35,000 will probably start. Marathons are huge assets for major world cities, as they bring tourists, marathoners, and their families to the cities. Hotels, restaurants, tourist areas all gain value for the city.

Companies like Virgin do not sponsor races like London without the seeing the branding value of such a huge event. This release notes that Sir Richard Branson, the creative leader of Virgin, will start the race!  

Virgin London Marathon
For immediate release: Saturday 16 April 2011

Sir Richard Branson to start the Virgin London Marathon

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson will set 36,500 runners on their way in the 2011 Virgin London Marathon tomorrow morning.

Sir Richard will drop the starter's flag at the 'blue start' on Shooters Hill Road in Blackheath to set the 31st London Marathon's three elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes underway. They will be followed by more than 36,000 UK championships competitors, club runners, joggers, charity fund raisers and fancy dress costume wearers.

"Once again it's a great privilege to be starting this fantastic event," said Sir Richard, who ran part of the route in 2010. "I wish everybody in this, the second Virgin London Marathon the very best of luck with the race.

"After taking part last year I know what a special event it is. I know the atmosphere will be fantastic and hope everyone has a wonderful day. The weather looks great and I'm sure we'll raise even more money than we did in 2010."

Meanwhile, 23.2 miles away in Old Billingsgate, Sir Richard's daughter Holly will start the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon together with world and European triple jump champion Phillips Idowu.

More than 2,500 11-17 year-old boys and girls representing London Boroughs, English regions and home countries will compete over the final three miles of the London Marathon course in the UK's first official road running championships for young athletes. There will also be mini wheelchair races for under-14 and under-17 youngsters.

Twelve months ago Holly Branson, plus her brother Sam and Princess Beatrice, formed a 34-person human caterpillar which broke the Guinness World Record for the most linked runners to complete a marathon course.

Holly Branson said: "The Mini Marathon is a great event for young runners and a perfect introduction to distance running. It gives youngsters a first taste of competition and a chance to experience the thrill of London's big day. I am delighted to be involved this year and wish all the runners the best of luck."

The full list of official starters and medal presenters for Sunday's event is below.

The official starters of the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 17 April will be:

Holly Branson, Sir Richard Branson's daughter
Phillips Idowu, World and European triple jump champion
08.55              Virgin Mini London Marathon       Old Billingsgate

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
09.00              Elite Women             Blue start
09.20              Wheelchair races     Blue start
09.45              Elite Men                   Blue start

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of the London Borough of Lewisham
09.45              Mass race                  Green start

Councillor Barbara Barwick, Mayor of the London Borough of Greenwich
09.45              Mass race                  Red start




The medal presenters of the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 17 April will be:

10.30              Virgin Money Giving Mini               Holly Branson
                        London Marathon                            Phillips Idowu, World and European
                                                                                    triple jump champion

12.15              Virgin London Marathon                John Spurling, Chairman of the
                                                                                    London Marathon
                                                                                    Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief
                                                                                    Executive of Virgin Money

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