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Virgin has signed a five-year deal to be the official sponsor of the London Marathon.

16 May 2008

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 £¼ billion over the five year term of its sponsorship.

The £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: "I'm delighted that Virgin will be sponsoring the London Marathon. It's an epic and inspirational event and raises a fantastic amount of money for great causes. It'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 £¼ billion in five years. Jayne-Anne and the Virgin Money team have got some great ideas to raise more money and together we're looking forward to putting on a great show for London."

Over £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 Unite, the group'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 world'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 Money's Chief Executive, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, said: "I 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. We're working on some ideas that will raise even more money for good causes and we'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."

Race Director David Bedford said: "I 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."

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 - 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:



Notes to editors:-

About The London Marathon

  • The London Marathon was first run in 1981, co-founded by the late Chris Brasher, and current London Marathon Director John Disley, establishing charitable status and with six aims;
    1. To improve the overall standard and status of British marathon running by providing a fast course and strong international competition.
    2. To show mankind that, on occasions, the Family of Man can be united.
    3. To raise money for the provision of recreational facilities in London.
    4. To help London tourism.
    5. To prove that when it comes to organising major events, "Britain is best".
    6. To have fun and provide happiness and sense of achievement in a troubled world.
  • Over 711,260 finishers have raised, it is estimated, more than £400 million in sponsorship for numerous charities over the years. A record breaking £46.5 million was raised for good causes in the 2007 event, making the London Marathon a Guinness world record holder as the largest single annual fund raising event in the world.
  • 34,497 runners finished the London Marathon on Sunday 13 April 2008.


About Virgin

  • Virgin, a leading branded venture capital organisation, is one of the world's most recognised and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow very successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, to transportation, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays, publishing and retailing.
  • Virgin has created more than 200 branded companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people, in 29 countries. Revenues around the world in 2006 exceeded £10 billion (approx. US$20 billion).


About Virgin Money

  • Virgin Money is Virgin's financial services arm and was established in 1995.
  • Virgin Money has over two million customers and offers a wide range of financial products across lending (e.g. credit cards and personal loans), savings (e.g. deposits, investments and pensions) and protection (e.g. life assurance, household and car insurance) to the UK market.

For more information, please visit


About Virgin Unite

  • Virgin Unite is the not-for-profit Entrepreneurial Foundation for the Virgin Group. Its aim is to revolutionise the way businesses and the social sector work together - driving business as a force for good, based on the belief that this is the only way we can tackle the tough challenges facing the world today.
  • Crucially, all of Virgin Unite's overheads are covered by Richard and the Virgin Group, meaning that 100% of donations received are able to go direct to the frontline.
  • Virgin Unite is built on two core platforms
    1. An entrepreneurial incubator - identifying gaps and ideas that can change the world, scaling them up, ensuring they can stand on their own and spinning them off.
    2. Business mobilisation and Inspiration - making it simple and easy for our own businesses as well as others to be a force for good.

For more information, please visit


About CLIC Sargent

  • For more information contact Stuart Barber, Head of Press and PR, CLIC Sargent on 0208 7522812 or email
  • CLIC Sargent is the UK's leading children's cancer charity,
  • Every 24 hours, 10 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer or leukaemia. CLIC Sargent acts as a lifeline keeping families together when the unimaginable happens. We provide clinical, psychosocial, emotional and financial care and support to them and their families.
  • Note to Sub Editors: Please note that the name 'CLIC Sargent' should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word 'CLIC' should always appear in capitals, as above.


For further information

Nicola Okey, Head of Press London Marathon
Tel: 0207 902 0182 / 07799 661345

Jackie McQuillan, Group PR Director, Virgin
Tel: 07905 309096

Scott Mowbray, PR Manager, Virgin Money
Tel: 07906 444540

Nike Siffre, Communications, Virgin Unite
Tel: 07905 227 001