Virgin Sport Oxford Half Marathon {Pre-event}

Virgin Sport a brain child of the philanthropist Sir Richard Branson is the new host of the Oxford Half Marathon. Marathons by nature bring people from all walks of life together because they all have one thing in common. The love for running {🏃 🏃‍♀️} whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner it’s a great place to meet new people. Whilst the traditional marathons focus more on the participants, Virgin  Sport is looking to involve the community and spectators.

The pre-event to the Half Marathon was held at Sir Richard Branson’s son-in-law (Freddie) home; Branson Estate. It is actually Freddie and his father-in-law who had the idea to host such an incredible event. If hackney Half Marathon is anything to go by then you will be in for a great time at the Oxford Half Marathon. The dream started 3 years ago when Freddie and Sir Branson were participating in an event in Cape Town. The event was sponsored by Virgin Active South Africa, it was a huge and success event they wanted to replicate. Because of the atmosphere of the event they experienced they wanted to bring that home and involve communities.

Virgin Sport Oxford Half Marathon {Pre-event}

Virgin Sport was launched January 2017 with the aim for everyone to participate in running event. These events would cater both to the spectators as well as participants, by engaging the spectators with activities like yoga. This year since it’s inception, Virgin Sport has planned 4 events with 2 already executed. Two events in London (hackney and west minister), 1 Oxford and one in San Francisco and want to grow in many more countries

The idea is to make the Oxford Half Marathon more like a ‘Fitness Festival’ where everyone can participate. Virgin Sport wants to embrace everyone, bring everyone together to be part of this great campaign to fitness. They wish to make it feel more like a fun sports festival than running a half marathon. One of the great ideas is to involve the local business to feel part of this event and not just another marathon.

Tips on Marathon Training and Nutrition

The Virgin Sport Oxford Half Marathon will be held on Sunday 8th October 2017 in Oxford (obviously duh!). Participation will be capped 10,000 runners, medals will be given and locals will be serving foods. As mentioned Virgin Sport wants to involve as many local businesses as possible.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Hall, a personal trainer and Leva Alaunyte, Lucozade sport scientist. These lovely folks were kind enough to give us some tips on half marathon training preparation and nutrition. Marathons, half or full are not the kind of sports who just wake up one day and do. There is a lot of training and body conditioning that needs to take place. Here are some of the tips you might need if you’re preparing for the marathon

  • Planning and Preparation is the key, if you’ve done 10k chances of running half marathon is high.
    • Address your weakness, look at what is driving you to run that race. You’re only as strong as your weakest link; strength based training first then running .
  • Nutrition – 3 golden rules to follow before, during and after.
    • Before: Do what you’re comfortable with and what works for your body. Do not change anything the morning before or of the race. Enjoy your favourite breakfast, hydration before the race (couple of hours before).
    • During: Little or nothing, sip little water  but do not overdo it and believe in yourself.
    • After:  Take up electrolyte and eat energy bars final is believe in yourself. You know what works best for your body like you do with training.


Tips after marathon

  • keep moving and don’t do more miles before the race, do less, tape it down
  • After the race, get a massage and spend half an hour just getting pampered
  • Listen to your body, take sips of water throughout the race, allows you to be hydrated
  • Carbohydrates consume water so be careful with hydration
  • Post race diet: re-hydrate, replenishing what you lose (water, carbs, electrolytes) and repair – have about 20 grams protein

Local Communities and Spectator Involvement

Virgin Sport does not want to be just another company that runs marathons and leaves at the end. It ultimate goal is to get local community involvement as well as support charities. Working with local business, by providing discounts to runners who show medals. They have also set up a school challenge where primary and  secondary school children get involved in sports. As it stands over 400 children are involved in this challenge to get activity.

Virgin Sport aims to elevate the overall performance of the sports and hoping to expand. The fitness festival will involve spectators by providing; walking routes, fitness hub for the runners and other activities.

I am truly excited to be part of and participate in the Virgin Sport Oxford Half Marathon.