London Marathon Events (LME) is encouraging all participants to run this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon using one of its new exclusive bottle belts to reduce the number of touchpoints for participants during the event.

The 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on October 3. The introduction of bottle belts is one of a number of measures being planned to ensure the event is COVID-19 secure.

The bottle belts, which are made from more than 90 per cent recycled plastic by Manhattan Portage, were designed by LME. A trial at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon showed that use of the bottle belts led to a 45 per cent reduction in the number of bottles used by each participant, as the belts enabled participants to keep their bottles with them, rather than discarding them after a few mouthfuls of water.

Use of the bottle belts on October 3 this year means that there will be a significant reduction in the number of times a participant needs to stop at a busy drinks station on the route.

The belts are specially designed to carry both the Buxton Natural Mineral Water 250ml bottles provided at the Virgin Money London Marathon and 500ml bottles of Lucozade Sport, ideal for longer training runs and the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon.

Hugh Brasher, event director at London Marathon Events, said: “The use of bottle belts means a potential huge reduction in touchpoints for runners, which is part of our planning to create a COVID-19 secure event, so we encourage every runner at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon to wear a bottle belt. It’s also a very practical and useful training aid for all runners.

“Our trial showed that wearing a bottle belt led to a 45 per cent reduction the numbers of bottles of water required by a participant and that will significantly reduce gathering around water stations and touchpoints on October 3.

“In addition, use of the belts means we can ensure runners have the hydration they need to finish one of their greatest challenges while also reducing waste.”

The bottle belts are also part of LME’s long-term commitment to reduce its impact on the environment, set out in its annual report, Leaving the Right Impression, and include:

  • Joining the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework
  • Switching to 100 per cent renewable energy
  • Joining other mass participation sports organisations to share knowledge, experience and set cross-industry standards
  • A carbon levy that was charged for international ballot participants in the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon
  • Donating more than 8,000 items of clothing to charitable causes
  • Electric lead vehicles at the Virgin Money London Marathon
  • Planting more than 1,000 trees to balance its carbon emissions

The bottle belts are available to purchase with the option to buy a set that includes a pouch to carry a large mobile phone and other items such as a gel or keys.