Virgin has signed a five-year £17 million deal to be the official sponsor of the London Marathon. It will take over from current sponsors Flora in 2010.
Virgin Money, the financial services division of the Virgin Group, will lead the sponsorship and is committed to encouraging the fundraising element of the event to help “the runners in their attempts to raise even greater amounts of money for good causes across the five-year deal”.
Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson said: “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 £1/4 billion [fundraising milestone] in five years”.
Virgin Money will use 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, the children’s cancer charity.
The partnership will launch a new website on 26 April 2009 “to bring together the marathon community in one place – not just runners, but their supporters and spectators too”. People will be able use the site “to enter the race, find someone to train with, watch celebrities training, download music play lists for different training plans and much more”.