Audible, the world’s leading provider of spoken word entertainment, becomes an official partner of the Virgin Money London Marathon as part of a three-year agreement.

Providing the perfect accompaniment to marathon training, Audible will promote a trial of their extensive catalogue within the running community through a variety of experiential and content-led campaigns across the next seven months in the lead up to Race day. Inviting and inspiring novice runners to be entertained during their training, Audible will curate a diverse selection of engaging audiobooks, dramas and programmes; including specially commissioned short-form celebrity content and a programme of ongoing releases specifically created for marathon runners.

Research into the performance benefits of listening to music whilst training is abundant, but analysis into the effect of entertaining spoken-word content is just as compelling. Dr Costas Karageorghis, Reader in Sport Psychology at Brunel University London, author of Applying Music in Exercise and Sport and leader of the Brunel SAVI Group, said: "The effects of auditory distraction during exercise are beginning to attract serious research interest given the link between pleasure and adherence to exercise. Our latest research shows how auditory cues re-organise the electrical activity of the brain and prevent fatigue-related signals from entering focal awareness. The bottom line is that an audiobook can facilitate dissociation from the pain and so enhances the overall exercise experience."

This research is also supported by Nielsen’s recent study into the impact of audiobooks on exercise. According to their 2016 Understanding The UK Audiobook Consumer survey: 55% of listeners reported that audiobooks made walking/exercise more pleasurable, 43% said they exercised longer whilst listening to audiobooks and 31% said they felt inspired to exercise more regularly when listening to audiobooks.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director for the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “The partnership with Audible will enable us to offer our runners – and aspiring runners – a fantastic new training tool. We are looking forward to working with the Audible team to create inspiring original content for our runners which will help them prepare for their marathon effort on Sunday 22 April.”

Tracey Markham, UK Country Manager at Audible, said: “The London Marathon is one of the UK’s greatest sporting institutions, so needless to say we’re really excited to support their work as their debut listening partner. Audio is such an important part of so many peoples’ exercise routine; there’s nothing like Naomi Alderman’s Zombies, Run! to help you pick up the pace, or a live recording from this year’s Fringe Festival to turn stitches into side-splitters. We’ve got lots of exciting things planned which’ll be sure to inspire and entertain runners of all levels. Look out for many more exciting announcements to come!”