Cola. Cosmetics. Student magazine. Vodka. Lingerie. Clothing. Cars. Wedding dresses. A lottery. These are some of the business lines launched by Sir Richard Branson that did NOT become successful enterprises, out of a total 400+ attempts. Now the mogul is taking on fitness, with his Virgin Group Ltd corporation’s roll-out of Virgin Sport.
RunningUSA.com ran an announcement about the event, quoting Branson about his reasons for venturing into this area. “Sport is something that I try to make time for every day. Pushing past physical and mental expectations has been an important part of my life. Some of my favorite memories have spent running, cycling and being active with family and friends”.
The new business is co-located in London and New York City, led by a veteran of the running event business, CEO Mary Wittenberg. Wittenberg is famously known in the United States as the former CEO and President of the New York Road Runners organization and its famous race, the NYC Marathon. A similar article in WomensRunning.com about the Virgin Sports launch points out that Wittenberg was the first woman to direct a major marathon.
“Festivals of sport embody our work, hard play, hard lifestyle at Virgin” Branson enthuses.
The festival line-up for 2017 includes:
April 30 - Hackney, UK (registration is now open)
July 9 - Westminster UK
October 14-15 -San Francisco USA
October TBA - Oxford UK
Is the Virgin Group’s foray into running, with ambitions of reaching all parts of the world, an amped-up commercialization of an increasingly profit-oriented sport? As a personal competitor (it’s just me running my own race with an Earned Run bib sometimes) it takes a step beyond the big race franchises like the Rock N’ Roll series, the huge city races like Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race, and the bi-coastal runDisney festival weekends. Each move away from traditional small town foot races taken in this manner can seem a threat to running's origins for purists.
However, the huge popularity of ALL SIZE EVENTS demonstrates that both running (and cycling too) can be SCALED up or down and remain enjoyable, rewarding, exciting, and challenging for participants. The key is to select a race venue for your purpose and opportunity, and aim at a best performance for that specific purpose. We might not always run for a fast time but to have fun in the company of others, to raise money for charity, to visit an exotic place, and celebrate birthdays, etc. Virgin Sport may introduce innovation and scale into fitness that allows many more of the world's peoples to enjoy running and cycling, and the benefits of an active life.
Earned Runs is proudly positioned to enable customized running competition at the most individualized end of the event spectrum, for many purposes.
http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-branson-fails-virgin-companies-that-went-bust-2016-5/#virgins-cosmetics-business-began-in-1997-4 May 31, 2016, “14 Virgin Companies That Even Richard Branson could Not Stop Going Bust” by Business Insider (Mallory Russell filed earlier version)
http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2017/01/news/virgin-sport-new-fitness-fetivals_70443#L4yUSZU1LJC1lszi.97 “Virgin Sport and Mary Wittenberg Launch New Fitness Festivals” by Ashley Lauretta for WomensRunning.com.
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BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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