Hot air balloons, sun, bleary eyes, TV cameras, thousands of brilliant runners, amazing costumes, hundreds of good causes, ballooning bobbies, celebrities including Olympic legend Jonathan Edwards and a visit from the smiley man with a beard – the Virgin Balloon Flights trip to the Virgin London Marathon 2011 had it all!
See the story in pictures below…
Phew – what a day!
Congratulations to all the runners, thanks to marathon organisers, balloon area organisers, pilots, crew and everyone who helped. We can’t wait for next year!
Check out our top five runner costumes here
If see out balloons bobbing around on TV made you fancy a hot air balloon flight in Britain, come fly with us here
Not unaccustomed to all-time firsts, several members of staff from across the Virgin group will be coming together on Monday 18th April 2011 under one very groovy roof to take part in the first ever Virgin Social Marathon, the very day after the Virgin London Marathon.
With a view to raising awareness of all of our social channels, to give people a chance to win some amazing Virgin lifestyle prizes, to get a trend going on Twitter and to give everyone a chance to participate in shaping how we do things here at Virgin, we will be Tweeting and Facebooking for 8 hours from the very funky Virgin Media Our House in Soho, London.
We’re all very excited about the forthcoming social media day and look forward to working together to create and inspire some fresh ideas. We’re looking to fans and followers to suggest new entrepreneurial ideas so get your thinking caps on…
To find out what prizes are on offer and how you can be a part of this social first take a look at the social marathon blog on Virgin.com.
We look forward to seeing you online on Monday 18th, watch these spaces closely…
The calendar says 25th March. Panic! It is exactly one month until Marathon Day!
As Virgin Balloon Flights’ marathon representation I’ll be running the Shakespeare Marathon (Stratford upon Avon) in aid of Macmillan on 25th April 2010.
Our lovely call-centre staff have been mildly amused seeing me jog off enveloped in Lycra© for my lunch-time 5 milers, which luckily seem to be paying off as I survived my first half marathon at the weekend. Yay.
Just like Virgin’s very own Bob Fear who is running the Virgin London Marathon, also 25th April, for Virgin Unite along with Sir Richard Branson himself, I’m in the final 4 weeks of training hell. The difference being that Bob and Sir Richard will be amidst a whopping 36,000 runners and will be lucky enough to see the brand new 70ft Virgin Money hot air balloon that has been specially commissioned by Virgin Balloon Flights to support the event.
My Virgin Money Giving page has made fundraising a doddle and gives everyone a chance to learn what all this running is in aid of whilst my training blog, describes the ongoing agony. Virgin Balloon Flights will be supporting both myself and Bob Fear’s fundraising efforts by holding charity auctions for hot air balloon rides. Thanks VBF
Eve running a very hard race
Nothing can stop Virgin Balloon pilot Mark Simmons (AKA ‘Nobby’) as not only is he feeding the social media addicts on Twitter with updates from the ballooning world, he has also recently received his Ju-Jitsu 2nd Dan Black Belt from Grandmaster den Butler. This officially makes him a tweeting ninja balloon pilot!
Virgin balloon pilot Mark 'Nobby' Simmons receives his Ju-Jitsu 2nd Dan Black Belt award from Grand Master Den Butler
The skill of Ju-Jitsu, originally developed by the Samurai, is an unarmed martial art commonly known for its ‘grappling’ techniques and has over time become recognised as a ‘soft’ or ‘harmonised’ sport. It takes many years of dedication to reach Nobby’s level so congratulations from everyone at Virgin Balloon Flights HQ.
Nobby has plans to organise the highest ever martial arts class in his balloon – so watch this space. He will be helping to make the first Virgin London Marathon an amazing spectacle by tethering one of our super duper Virgin hot air balloons at the race, so keep your eyes peeled for the big red balloon at the start line on the 25th April.
After all that buttering up let’s hope Nobby’s ego can still fit in his balloon basket. You can join him for the experience of a life time with flights from as little as £94.99pp from launch sites including Bristol, Bath, Glastonbury, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Monmouth and Pandy near Cardiff in South Wales.