Decision Driven By Air Quality, Public Health Concerns, and Need to Free Up First Responder Resources For Communities Affected
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Thursday, October 12, 2017 – Today, Virgin Sport announced that after careful consideration and consultation with local officials, it was canceling the 2017 Virgin Sport Festival of Fitness, including the Twin Peaks Mile and SF Bay Half marathon, scheduled to take place this weekend, October 14-15. The start-up cited official precautions of prolonged or heavy exertion due to poor air quality from various sources, such as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the ongoing impact on Bay Area communities from the Napa and Sonoma wildfires, as factors in the decision.
“Air quality is a major concern,” said Mary Wittenberg, CEO of Virgin Sport. “Another priority for us is making sure that city and local officials, as well as first responders, have no distractions in doing what they need to do to help affected communities manage this situation. This was a big decision, given that this was our inaugural event and many stakeholders, including volunteers and of course the athletic community, worked hard to make it a reality. It’s also the right and necessary thing to do, for the sake of everyone’s health and safety. We truly appreciate the City’s flexibility in supporting our decision – and all those affected have our deepest sympathies.”
“We appreciate Virgin Sport’s commitment to San Francisco and the Bay area, and their willingness to act responsibly with regard to both public health and local resources, including first responder personnel,” said, Martha Cohen, Office of the Mayor, Director, Special Events. “This is a difficult and uncertain time for the Bay Area, and the Mayor has been active in warning the public about air quality concerns. We agree with Virgin Sport’s decision and look forward to working with them in the future, at the appropriate time.”
The Company will refund entry fees to all participants and will be in communication about that process over the next several weeks.
Additionally, to support the North Bay fire relief efforts and all those impacted by recent events, Virgin Sport will be making a $25,000 donation to the Northern California coastal region chapter of the American Red Cross, which will be matched by a $25,000 donation from Virgin Sport founding partner ASICS America.
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About Virgin Sport
Virgin Sport is an active life style company within Sir Richard Branson’s global Virgin Group that’s on a mission to move the world through sport. Virgin Sport creates Festivals of Fitness that celebrate and bring host communities to life through fitness, running, art, music, food, fashion and more – sport with a red-hot twist. Virgin Sport plans to grow to new cities and active experiences in the coming years.
About Virgin Group
Virgin is a leading international investment group and one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including mobile telephony, travel & transportation, financial services, leisure & entertainment and health & wellness.