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Virgin Money to sponsor London Marathon to 2017

LONDON (Reuters) - Richard Branson's Virgin Money has extended its sponsorship of the London Marathon until at least 2017, the banking group said on Monday after this weekend's race brought big crowds on to the city's streets.

Virgin Money has been title sponsor of the race since 2010 and set a target of helping runners to raise 250 million pounds ($381 million) for charity over the five years.

Many of the 36,000 runners in London on Sunday wore black ribbons to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings a week ago, lending an extra poignancy to an event which has become a popular feature of the British sporting calendar.

Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede and Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo won the men's and women's elite events on Sunday.

Joggers inspired to take up the challenge to run 42.195 km through the capital can register online for the 2014 London Marathon from next Monday.

Virgin Money is the banking business of entrepreneur Branson's stable of companies. It is dropping its sponsorship of Premier League soccer club Newcastle United at the end of the season.

(Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Alison WIldey)

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