The Virgin Money London Marathon, made its long awaited comeback this weekend, as thousands of runners took to the streets for what was the biggest celebration of running we’ve seen for a long time.
The London Marathon is iconic. The world’s biggest one day charity fundraising event. It has been a mainstay and highlight of the marathon season since its establishment in 1981. It is now one of the world’s most sought after marathon events, with almost half a million ballot entries alone each year. Since 2006, the race has also been part of the Wanda Abbott World Marathon Majors. These blue ribbon running events make up a series of the biggest and best marathon events out there. Bryan Llorente, from the Sports Tours International Operations Team says,
Here, at Sports Tours International, we’ve been working with The London Marathon since the beginning. Our founder, international marathon runner Vince Regan, was a pioneer for the concept of events having International Travel Partners. He also became involved in the creation of the London Marathon and took responsibility for managing the London Marathon international runner programme. This is an honour Sports Tours International still holds to this day.
Each year, our team head down to London, enjoy a week of meeting runners, both familiar faces and excited new comers, at the expo, and then soak up all the excitement, emotion and incredible atmosphere at the race. This year might have been a little different, with additional safety and social distancing measures, but it was still undeniably and unequivocally The London Marathon. And the London Marathon NEVER fails to impress.
For several of the Sports Tours International Team, London 2021 marked their first time working at a big mass participation event. We spoke to three, fairly new, members of our team, Marla, Ellie and Ewen, to ask them about their thoughts and feelings about getting to see the return of one of the biggest (and arguably best) events out there.
Marla recently joined the Sports Tours International Marketing Team, fresh from graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University. She brings a flair for creativity and youthful exuberance to every project she approaches. With a keen interest in Social Media and Content Creation, no doubt you’ll be hearing a lot more from Marla in the near future. She has really enjoyed getting to know the team here at Sports Tours International.
My first event experience at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running show was great! I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 days that I spent there. The first day, I helped set up and organise our stand, before the event started. The following two days I worked on the stand, encouraging visitors to come to our stand and enter our competition! I also created content to post across our various social channels.
It was really exciting to be given the opportunity to attend an event on just my third week with the Sports Tours Team. I believe it was a really insightful and valuable experience. I now have a much deeper understanding of what we do and why we do it. It was also great to be able to interact with everyone in- person.
One of the highlights of the expo for me was creating content for the Running Bee Foundation. A charitable foundation founded and supported by Sports Tours International to promote healthy, active lifestyles, especially for children. To do this, we took a Mo the Bee plush toy, and positioned it in various different locations around the Running Show. We took photos in all these locations and uploaded them to social media. It was really fun to do!
Going forward, I am excited at the opportunity to attend similar events like the London Marathon Running Show with the Sports Tours team. Our most recent partnership, with Raccoon Events (, presents a lot of great opportunities, I am definitely looking forward to being a part of in the future!
Ellie has recently joined Sports Tours International, having come from a bigger, sports based, company. She is keen to be part of a smaller, more intimate team, where people are always on hand to help each other and you can get stuck in with several different projects. Despite having only been with the company a short time, Ellie already feels like she’s been inspired to run a marathon, by her time in London – the good old marathon bug catches us all in the end!
On Wednesday 29th of September, I headed down to London for my first London Marathon Expo experience! My colleague Marla was already at the Virgin London Marathon Expo and kindly told me which hall we were in…unlucky for me, I got a bit lost, and used the entrance which was the furthest away from the Expo Hall.
Once I had found my way in, I was surprised to see just how busy the Expo Hall was on Day 1 of the event. As I walked in, long queues of people, waiting to collect their race numbers, were already forming.
As I made my way through the venue, some customers were filling up their shopping bags on the various merchandise stalls, whilst others were collecting last minutes carb-loaded snacks ahead of Sunday’s marathon. There was a real buzz to the event. Everyone appeared to be in really high spirits. They did a much better job at hiding their nerves than I did!
Once I’d put my bags down, I met up with Julie, Martin and Peter at the Sports Tours International stand. They’ve been repping for the company for over 5 years. It was an amazing opportunity to meet and work with them at my first expo event. Their expertise was extremely useful and enlightening, especially for a first timer. The customers who I engaged with also played an important part in making my first expo event so enjoyable. They shared their passion for running, their past experiences, and their excitement for Sunday’s marathon. It was so pleasant to witness and be part of.
I can’t wait for my next expo, and to bring the knowledge I gained last week that event.
#TeamSportsTours looking good!🏃🏻♂️💪🏻💙
— Sports Tours International (@sportstoursint) September 29, 2021
Ewen has only recently moved to Manchester, originally hailing from the West-Country. Joining the team at Sports Tours International is Ewen’s first graduate role, and he can’t wait to get his teeth stuck in. Ewen will be focusing on the Leisure brands in the Sports Tours International Family, Freewheel and Whereabouts, the latter of which is preparing for an exciting relaunch, so watch this space! However, as a small team, we all like to get stuck in in all aspects of the business. It is the variety and all the exciting, unique aspects of the Sports Tours brand that first drew Ewen in.
Last week was the London Marathon Running Show. Loads of the team were involved and it was great to get stuck in as a team. We were busy all week, giving information to new and existing customers. Tellin them everything they need to know about upcoming events or general information on the great range of products on offer! I found the experience so insightful. It gave me the chance to meet our customer and get to know them. It was great to hear, in person, their thoughts, feelings towards the brand.
My highlight of the London Marathon expo was seeing all of the medals from previous editions of the race. It really showcased the history of the event. The main stage, that was giving running advice to marathon runners was great too. They had advice on everything from race nutrition, to avoiding injury, and inspirational speakers. It almost made me get my running trainers on!
Have you been inspired by the Virgin Money London Marathon? Looking for your next big challenge, or want to try something new? Check out our FULL RANGE of running events for some inspiration. With almost 50 years experience and guaranteed entry into some of the world’s most popular and sought after events, at Sports Tours International, we’re sure we have the perfect adventure for you.
We are working closely with NYRR to ensure that your entry situation is dealt with promptly. We will be back in touch with all of our affected customers early next week with further details. 2/2
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