Richard Branson’s Virgin Sport will hold first half-marathon fitness festival in San Francisco this weekend

This weekend, the United States will get its first taste of British-born Virgin Sport, the latest spinoff from Sir Richard Branson and Virgin. The Virgin Sport San Francisco Half Marathon and Fitness Festival will run from Oct. 13-15, and the lineup of events makes it a race unlike any other.

San Francisco is perfect venue for something like this. Photo: Courtesy of ASICS

“On a mission to move the world through sport,” Virgin Sport was conceived when Branson and co-founder Freddie Andrewes were cycling through South Africa. “The epiphany struck to build a movement that combines the sweat of sport with the swagger of Virgin,” according to Virgin Sport.

The first Virgin Sport events took place this summer in England, and this weekend’s event in San Francisco will be the inaugural event in the U.S.

The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. Photo: Fara Rosenzweig

And living up to that promise of “the swagger of Virgin,” the Virgin Sport San Francisco Half and Fitness Festival offers participants much more than just a half-marathon. An entire immersive experience will be at attendees’ fingertips with a special 1-mile challenge, bootcamps, spin classes and yoga flows.

One of the most exciting challenges will be the Twin Peaks Mile, a 1-mile race up San Francisco’s long and winding Twin Peaks hill with panoramic city views.

The Twin Peaks Mile in all its glory. Photo: Courtesy of Florent Boutellier/Flickr

The Twin Peaks Mile can be done in four ways, including the costumed Style Mile (in which Branson will participate), the time-focused Straight Up, the Better Together group race and the interval-training HIIT & Run, which includes functional fitness challenges along the course.

The route. Image: Courtesy of Virgin Sport

And then of course there is the SF Bay Half, which takes runners on a route with views of classic San Francisco landmarks like the Painted Ladies Victorian houses, Golden Gate Park, Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio of San Francisco.

The iconic Painted Ladies, San Francisco. Photo: Courtesy of Howard Russell/Flickr

While the race will have its challenges (wouldn’t be San Francisco without those hills) can look forward to finishing the race at the Go Fit Yourself fitness festival at Civic Center Plaza.

In addition to a music-and-art “celebration of local SF culture,” a variety of group workouts will be available for racers as well as non-race participants. Live meditation, yoga, hourly outdoor-spin classes and foam-rolling workshops are all on the schedule.

You can register for the inaugural Virgin Sport San Francisco. The Virgin Sport website says they are monitoring fire news in the runup to the event.

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