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A successful partnership

ITcouldn't be clearer: it's called Flora Women's Mini Marathon, after all.

However, in the 10 years that the brand has been the masthead sponsor of the annual event, what began as a fairly straightforward business-to-business sponsorship has turned into a true partnership.

Sinead Stack is Flora brand manager. "Our brand is committed to heart health, and our philosophy is that it needs to be a combination of both diet and lifestyle to achieve that," she explains. "When the opportunity to sponsor the event came up in 2004, we felt that it was something which offered us a great chance to create a natural extension of that ethos."

They haven't remained at a remove, the way you might think a corporation as far-reaching as Unilever might. Flora shelter under the business's umbrella, and are a big indicator of what is the essence of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan.

"We truly believe that doing good business doesn't have to cost the earth, in every sense," says Sinead. "We believe that we need to behave in a way that gives something back to our consumers, the communities, and the environment."

Going back to that partnership: apart from several initiatives, such as the training starter pack that was free with a purchase in Tesco, the women of Flora have literally been walking their walk – or in this case, their run. "There are always a few people from the office who do it every year," says Sinead. "This year we have even persuaded our chairwoman Jill Ross to run it. I have done it twice before, once with a friend and once with my mum. It's a great social event."

As the partnership continues to grow and evolve, it's exciting to imagine where it will lead, not only for the event, but also for the participants.

It's all about providing the perfect platform for the thousands of runners, and, says Sinead, the satisfaction of helping that happen is enormous.

"Seeing 40,000 women pounding the pavement on the day, and knowing that we have played a part in something that ultimately helps make those lives healthier, is fantastic."