By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
Sunday the 13th April found me in Greenwich Park, London at the unearthly hour of 7.30 am. I was there because it was the day of the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 and my youngest daughter was running in the race. Now six months ago she had not so much put a running shoe on but here she was with 26.2 miles in front of her – the 0.2 is incredibly important she says as it is the last few steps to the finish.
I was the bag carrier and chief organiser of getting her to the start of the race in time. The transformation of a couch potato into an athlete was driven by the cause for which she was running – her Grandmother had spent the last few months of her life being cared for in a hospice before her life was taken by cancer, so Sarah had decided to run the London Marathon to raise funds for “Help the Hospices”1. My job, apart from getting her there and home again, was to dash around the course and pop up at various places to shout encouragement – along with what seemed like tens of thousands of other supporters all crowding onto the London Underground with the same intention.
If you have never attended the London Marathon or any other big city run, you will have no idea of the logistics involved and the hugely important part played in them by the printing industry. I was to see lots of examples of different print technology during the day.
Print Looms as Large as Ever
For a start, my daughter, along with 36,000 other runners had received their joining instructions the week before. A well laid out, lithography printed pamphlet with everything she needed to know. As a supporter I picked up a supporters pack, again lithography printed, because every runner had at least one supporter; most quite a number. Again the lithographic process was the optimum choice.
The Print Industry Supports the London Marathon and Gerry Supports Sarah
The team from “Help the Hospices” had about 160 runners to look after, so of course digital print was used for their communications and for the flags with the runners’ names on that we frantically waved around the course. Screen printing was used for their running vests and wide format inkjet for large banners, under which we gathered at the start and at three other places around the course.
Of course “Help the Hospices” was not the only charity using the marathon to raise funds. Each of the other good causes had also put a lot of money into print in order to get their runners to the start and the money coming in from donations. Some of the communication was done with social media such as Twitter and Facebook, but without the printing industry, the event would never have got off the ground.
With such a lot of very good causes benefiting, it was great to see that print still has a major part to play in our lives and I expect it will do for some time to come.