The London Marathon’s got itself a new sugar daddy.
After a highly public breakup back in December (“it’s not you, it’s us” was Flora’s graceless exit strategy), the London Marathon has been wandering adrift, at sea, not quite sure what the future would bring after the 2009 race. No worries – she’s a hot little lucrative number and we knew it wouldn’t be long before someone swooped in to occupy the vacant space by her side.
Although Londonist tried to snag a spot at the bargaining table, it seems our initial bid of several handfuls of lovely little Londonist badges was treated with something like disdain (sigh – the Londonist Marathon had such a nice ring to it). Instead, we learn today that Richard Branson’s Virgin Money has signed a five-year contract, worth £17 million, to pick up sponsorship of the event starting in 2010. Branson – perhaps you’ve heard of the 20th richest Briton, worth £2.7 billion, who apparently recently beat Jesus on a list of children’s top role models (they’re similarly coiffured – we get confused all the time, too) – highlights the marathon’s charitable fundraising potential as one of his chief reasons for choosing to sponsor the event:
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 [mark] in five years.
And so, coming to a street near you in April 2010 ... thousands of crazy running minions with the word “Virgin” emblazoned across the front of their bodies.