CEVA Newsfast, the company which delivers the nation's newspapers every night, takes on an extra day job once a year for the London Marathon.
Yesterday, more than 40 CEVA Newsfast trucks lined up at the start of the course at Blackheath and Greenwich so that the 35,400 competitors could hand over their tracksuits and day clothes to the 70 Newsfast staff roped in for the day.
Twenty-six miles and 385 yards later, the runners collected their clothes (cleverly packed in numbered kit bags matching their competitor numbers) from the trucks in The Mall.
The vehicles travel under police escort and, obviously, take a different route to the runners. David Bermingham, Managing Director, CEVA Newsfast, says they haven't yet discovered any competitors attempting to take the easy way out and hitch a ride – but they are always on the look-out!
CEVA Newsfast, formerly TNT Newsfast, has been running the kitbag operation for the London Marathon for the last 15 years. The vehicles arrive in Blackheath and Greenwich, the two starting points for the Marathon, at 6am and leave about 10am to arrive in The Mall by 11am. The last vehicles leave the Mall at 5pm to return to their depots – and then operate through the night to deliver the nation's newspapers – which carry all the news about the Marathon.
CEVA Newsfast operates the largest high quality multi-user logistics network in the UK. It has a fleet of 800 vehicles working through its network of 19 multi-user depots for more than 80 clients. Its clients include food manufacturers, high street retailers, stationery and packaging companies as well as the newspaper publishers. CEVA Newsfast carries more than 100 million newspapers a year and also makes more than 1,000 wholesale magazine deliveries every week, for 1,300 different titles.
CEVA Newsfast is part of CEVA, which employs 38,000 people and operates an extensive global network with facilities in 26 countries. The company maintains 567 warehouses globally with a combined space of approximately 7.4 million square metres. For fiscal year 2005, CEVA reported sales of €3.5 billion. CEVA is owned by affiliates of Apollo Management, L.P., one of the leading private equity investors in the world.