On the Friday preceding the London Marathon, David Bedford, the race director for the London Marathon always introduces the London marathon as “the best marathon in the world.” This is done in front of his sponsors, members of the media and representatives of the Five World Major marathons. Bedford is considered a bit of a character, but his utter brilliance, and that of his team in assembling a top notch elite field and having all of the UK behind his race should not be underrated.
Well, the team at London has done it again. Thanks to the support of Sir Richard Branson, at Virgin, the marathon, after 2010, will become the Virgin London Marathon! London was able to find a sponsor to replace Flora, which had supported the event for over one decade. This announcement will be made on Friday, May 16, in London, England. Here is the release on the new sponsorship:
Virgin signs 2010 London Marathon sponsorship deal
Virgin has signed a five-year deal to be the official sponsor of the London Marathon. Virgin Money, the financial services division of the Virgin Group will lead the sponsorship with the ambition of supporting the event and the runners in their attempts to raise even greater amounts of money for good causes across the five-year deal. Virgin hope to encourage runners to raise an amazing Â£1/4 billion over the five year term of its sponsorship.
The Â£17m deal with The London Marathon, which starts in 2010, will see Virgin take over the sponsorship from current sponsors Flora.
Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson commented: â€˜Iâ€™m delighted that Virgin will be sponsoring the London Marathon. Itâ€™s an epic and inspirational event and raises a fantastic amount of money for great causes. Itâ€™s the single biggest fundraising day on the planet and we want to make it even bigger, our aim is to help runners smash the Â£1/4 billion in five years. Jayne-Anne and the Virgin Money team have got some great ideas to raise more money and together weâ€™re looking forward to putting on a great show for London.â€™
Over Â£400 million has been raised for charity by London Marathon fun runners since the race began back in 1981. Virgin Money are looking at a programme of initiatives to build upon the sense of community and fun the London Marathon enjoys and will use its infrastructure, online capability and expertise to help raise even more money in support of thousands of different charitable causes.
Virgin Money will utilise the expertise and network of Virgin Unite1, the groupâ€™s not-for-profit entrepreneurial foundation. This will include an official partnership in the first year with Virgin Unite Valued Partner CLIC Sargent, who care for children and young people with cancer and leukaemia, in both hospital and the community.
The inaugural London Marathon in 1981 saw 6255 runners finishing on Constitution Hill and with 34,497 runners crossing the finish line on The Mall in 2008 has continued to be a massive draw to both runners, spectators and television viewers alike. The event has grown in size, stature and popularity, now well established among the major events in the worldâ€™s sporting calendar, the London Marathon is shown on television in more than 150 countries around the world every year. The 2009 event has already received over 110,000 UK applications for the public ballot.
Virgin Moneyâ€™s Chief Executive, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, said: â€œI am delighted to be announcing this deal. The London Marathon is both an iconic sporting occasion and a special day full of endeavour, fantastic stories and fundraising. The London Marathon 2010 will be the 30th in its rich history and we want to make sure it is the biggest and best yet. Weâ€™re working on some ideas that will raise even more money for good causes and weâ€™ll be aiming to help the runners to continue to blow all other fund raising events out of the water. The London Marathon is a true record breaking event.â€
Race Director David Bedford said:
â€œI cannot think of a better and more appropriate sponsor for the 2010 London Marathon than Virgin. I am delighted that the event has developed to a level where such a high quality company has agreed to be our new Sponsor. I am expecting a very exciting and stimulating future for the event.â€
One of the first developments under the new sponsorship deal will be the creation of a state-of-the-art website to be launched on 26 April 2009. The site will look to bring together the marathon community in one place â€“ not just runners, but their supporters and spectators too. People will be able to enter the race, find someone to train with, watch celebrities training, download music play lists for different training plans and much more.
For more information go to: virginlondonmarathon.com
My goal in life is to run the Virgin Marathon…….