Faces, Africa’s mass participation sports event company, announces partnership with leading exercise and wellness brand, Virgin Active, for an initial three-year period.

Virgin Active will be the title sponsor of the 947 Ride Joburg and The Warrior Race, as well as a first-tier sponsor of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.

The newly inked partnerships provide a great opportunity for South Africans and Virgin Active members to expand their health and wellness activities both in- and outside of the gym with a diverse array of events to take part in in the second half of 2022.

“Few, if any deals, have ever centred around multiple events and across such varied disciplines,” says Clark Gardner, Group CEO of Faces. “The world has changed post-pandemic and it seems this partnership is now well-positioned to take advantage of the work from home, adventurous and health-conscious movement, and by partnering with Virgin Active we’re able to elevate our brands and create real value for our participants.”

The partnership sees Virgin Active become the title sponsor of 947 Ride Joburg, the world’s second largest timed cycling event as well as its Kids Ride and mountain bike events. Photo by Faces.Africa

The partnership brings the leading player in exercise, health, and wellness with the leading mass participation event group in the country to redefine how South Africans train for outdoor events, moving forward. As the best minds in ‘out of stadium’ sports, Faces will leverage the partnership to help active communities, focused more intentionally on health, wellness, and group participation. The national footprint of Virgin Active enables safe and effective training and performance opportunities, with access to the coaching, nutritional expertise, support, and motivation needed to prepare for and compete in Faces events.

“We’ve seen over the past two years that South Africans are reassessing their relationships with health, wellness, and fitness for the better,” says Dean Kowarski, Virgin Active’s Global Chief Executive Officer. “The role that being active plays in their lives, and the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle centred around holistic wellness is front and centre as we move out of the pandemic. Faces are the leaders in world-class mass participation events on the continent and we at Virgin Active are enthusiastic about the opportunities our partnership will bring the industry.”

Virgin Active will also assume the title sponsorship of the Warrior Race obstacle course challenge series and will be creating compact obstacle courses at selected health clubs in order to facilitate training for these unique events. Photo by Faces.Africa

Though the partnership will launch with the unveiling of Virgin Active as the title sponsor of the Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg on 5 July, at Virgin Active Waterfall, the first event to take place under the sponsorship agreement is the second leg of the Gauteng Virgin Active Warrior Race series followed by the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in October, and the Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg in November. The real advantage of the partnership will be felt in training for these events.

“At Virgin Active, we love to see people getting and staying fit in our gyms and out on the streets, mountains, beaches and all the other great outdoor spaces our country is known for,” says Lyndsay Webster-Rozon, Virgin Active Marketing Director. “It’s exciting for us to be able to partner with more people living active lives and to offer them safe indoor training spaces, expert coaching or simply a hot shower and some nutritious food and drink after an outdoor training session. From strength training, swimming, and yoga to boxing and stretching, participants will also have the opportunity to reap the performance and recovery benefits of cross-training. We look forward to not only providing support on the day but assisting all participants in their training journey leading up to the big day and after the events to facilitate recovery.”

Virgin Active health clubs provide world-class training equipment which will help Faces event participants train and cross-train for their upcoming races. Photo by Virgin Active.

“There’s nothing quite like the motivation of knowing you have a race coming up to keep you committed to your training goals,” says Gardner. “I know from personal experience that I’m more likely to spend time in the gym, doing cross-training, strength work or taking yoga classes to improve my mobility and flexibility if I’ve entered an event. I believe that this fundamental fact will translate to our event entrants spending more time in Virgin Active gyms, as well as out on the roads and trails of South Africa in the coming years.”

As part of a commitment to providing safe spaces for active communities, the Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg has launched ‘Train Joburg’ to ensure safe and effective training for the event and continues to support participants long before race day. Virgin Active gyms will act as hubs from which Train Joburg training rides will take place. “By doing so we can combat two of the major concerns cyclists have in South Africa, the first being outdoor training in the cold winter months and the second being safety with training. Being able to cycle or cross-train in a gym, in the depth of winter, or to join a group ride with Train Joburg will help people maintain their fitness and keep them motivated for the races in November”, Webster-Rozon concluded.

In addition to ‘Train Joburg’ the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has launched ‘Track Thursdays’ that will provide access for participants to the track as well as access to multiple Virgin Active clubs for a hot shower, as well as healthy food and beverages. The Warrior Races will be launching preparation events, on a smaller scale, that provide courses at selected clubs to ensure this community also grows and can train between events.

Virgin Active joins as a tier-one sponsor of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. Their involvement will provide runners with access to shower facilities as well as healthy food and beverages in Virgin Active health clubs, in addition to training advice and programmes. Photo by Faces.Africa.

Upcoming Virgin Active Faces Africa Events:

1 October 2022:                Virgin Active Warrior Race Gauteng #2 (www.warrior.co.za)

15 October 2022:              Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Trail (www.capetownmarathon.com/trail/)

16 October 2022:              Sanlam Cape Town Marathon (www.capetownmarathon.com)

12 November 2022:         Virgin Active Ride Joburg Kids Ride, 10 & 25km MTB (www.ridejoburg.co.za)

13 November 2022:         Virgin Active Ride Joburg 50km MTB (www.ridejoburg.co.za)

20 November 2022:         Virgin Active Ride Joburg (www.ridejoburg.co.za)

“We’ve seen over the past two years that South Africans are reassessing their relationships with health, wellness, and fitness for the better,” Dean Kowarski, Virgin Active’s Global Chief Executive Officer. The partnership between Faces and Virgin Active will help facilitate this and grow the health-conscious community. Photo by Faces.Africa

Follow Virgin Active and Faces on social media for all updates relating to the partnerships and upcoming events.

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