AT VIRGIN SPORT HQ WE OFTEN GET QUESTIONS FROM CURIOUS RUNNERS ABOUT THE COST OF EVENTS.
We believe our participants have a right to know where their entry fee is being spent. From toilets to traffic management, and sustainability to signage, here’s your behind the scenes look at what goes into ensuring all runners have a safe and seamless race day experience.
MEDAL, FINISHER TEE, RACE PHOTOS & GOODY BAG
Some come for the Swag! Every one of our hard-working runners deserves a t-shirt and medal. All finishers are also rewarded with a coveted reusable Virgin Sport goody bag, with snacks and surprises from our partners. Plus, race photos are included for every runner on course. Smiles for miles!
RACE PACKS & TIMING
What’s a race without your number and timing chip? Virgin Sport’s timing team is on hand every year to record your PB. Operating from a warehouse on the West Coast of England, these integral team members spend weeks preparing individual race bibs, assembling race packs, and producing kit bags for participants. As part of our wider sustainability initiative, Virgin Sport has committed to phasing out plastic kit bags. Instead, we’ve introduced re-usable long-life natural cotton kit bags, furthering our mission to produce events that are completely free of single-use plastic.
Pick up or postage? Runners are encouraged to pick up their race pack in advance, instead of opting in for race pack postage. By picking up your race pack you can both minimise the paper waste associated with envelope usage and reduce your final entry fee by eliminating the race pack delivery cost.
We’ve got your most basic running necessities covered! Over 500 portable toilets are brought to each event, with facilities distributed all along your route. At the Hackney festival site, there are over 420 toilet facilities near the start and finish lines every year.
RECYCLING & WASTE MANAGEMENT
We like to leave our parks and streets as clean as we found them, if not cleaner! Last year, we made the bold move to go plastic free on course at all our Virgin Sport running events, eliminating half a million single-use plastic bottles from the Hackney Half, ASICS London 10K, and Oxford Half courses. Instead, we implemented 100% recyclable paper cups at aid stations along the route. At the end of each event day, we work closely with waste management teams to ensure our environmental footprint is minimised. Following the Hackney Half in May 2019, 1.5 tons of cups were collected and recycled from our route aid stations. The Hackney Council’s Environmental Services team recycled 7.6 tons of waste, that also included cardboard and wooden packaging, and general recycling from the Hackney Marshes venue.
INFRASTRUCTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
This includes all stages, barriers, marquees, tables, audio systems, screens, signage, lighting, forklifts, trackway and fencing that keeps everyone moving in the right direction. How about keeping you entertained? DJs, MCs, route entertainment, live bands and festival programming is ready to keep you motivated all along the route and waiting to greet you at the finish line for post-race celebrations. In Hackney, the festival venue build begins seven days before opening, and a team of Virgin Sport staff and suppliers work around the clock to build your race day venue, incorporating 2,500 barriers and 60 marquees.
We take our duty of care seriously and having medical teams on standby is paramount. Some runners are managing medical conditions (most common – asthma) and let’s be honest, we all have a friend who’s accident prone! We have a huge medical team on event days with over 100 medical staff, 14 emergency response vehicles and 10 medical response cyclists.
ROAD CLOSURES, PERMITS & VENUE HIRE
Hosting a major closed-road race is a complicated operation and involves a wide range of different infrastructure, signage and legal permits. These include advance notice road signs, traffic cones, ‘road closed’ and diversion signs, as well as suspending parking bays and advertising of bus diversions at bus stops around the effected race routes. We work with local councils to plan and manage your route around the parks and roads of Hackney, Westminster and Oxford, as well as areas like Hackney Marshes, Trafalgar Square, and Oxford University Parks.
VENUE STAFFING & SECURITY
It takes a village. At each event we have approximately 500 community volunteers, 120 Virgin Sport staff, 100 suppliers and contractors, and 475 security staff that work around the clock to keep venue and route operations smooth and safe. Our incredible volunteer team helps make your race experience seamless by manning crucial roles such as bag drop, water stations, the reward funnel, and help desk. By recruiting volunteers we can reduce event staffing costs to keep your race entry fee even lower, and in return all our volunteers are gifted with a free entry for the next year’s race. You can read more about our volunteer roles here.
REGISTRATION & INSURANCE FEES
This one’s for the legal eagles and finance buffs. Whether it’s processing of registration fees, credit card payments or participant data, the cost of getting you registered and ready for race day is covered. Virgin Sport also commits to insurance policies that protect runners’ registration fees if the race is cancelled and gives runners the chance to defer up to a month before the race.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST
Bringing to life a high quality, safe, sustainable and unforgettable running event is no cheap feat! What you pay at the checkout goes directly towards building your personal race day experience. Learn more about Virgin Sport and meet the team here.
Hungry for more? Get to know what your Virgin Sport events look like in numbers below.