Packed programme looks at future race management strategies in Prague

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The second day of the 2019 European Running Business Conference saw a hugely varied programme but before the serious business of attending presentations and being involved in workshops got underway, many of the participants practised what they preached in terms of running promoting a healthy lifestyle and took to the streets of Prague for a morning run.

After showering and breakfast, the opening session saw the issue of event sponsorship address by three vastly experience speakers with experience of involving their brands with the running industry – the theme being Moving from Sponsorship to Ownership SPONSORSHIP 2.0 – and Asahi Breweries Europe Group CEO Paolo Lanzarotti, NN Group Head of Branding Remco Barbier as well as Michel Schrama from the Conference supporter MYLAPS Sports Timing provided thought provoking presentations.

Four workshops in which participants could directly participate then addressed themes relating to event management optimisation, providing strategies and good practice for making event management more effectively in terms of time, effort, energy and impact.

Further workshops in the afternoon addressed the topic of Running as Experience Industry.

In simple terms, these workshops looked at how the perception of running events and what people derive from them has changed and what it represents now that we are well into the 21st century.

Conference participants then returned to the main hall to hear two speakers help people look into their crystal balls in the Search for New Business Models.

“My first advice (to race organisers) would be study, look, and ask what’s coming down the line. You need to look at indicators as to what the future holds. The game rules are changing and it’s not the amount of money spent, it’s about the time spent well,” commented Director of the Danish Athletics Federation Jakob Larsen and Copenhagen Marathon.

Sam Renouf, the CEO of the active lifestyle and entertainment company Motiv, then developed that theme looking at potential new business models including partnerships and co-operative ventures between races and commercial companies and between races themselves.

Larsen and Renouf’s presentations and wise words were then given resonance and living embodiment with the announcement of a new half marathon series – SuperHalfs – bringing together five of the world's best half marathons, all of which are in Europe.

The race directors of the Lisbon, Prague, Copenhagen, Cardiff and Valencia took the stage at the Conference venue in the centre of the Czech capital for the announcement, with all the events being 5-star certified road races by European Athletics Running For All as well as IAAF Gold Label Road Races.

It was also announced that European Athletics would be the patron of the series.

“SuperHalfs participants will run top races in historical cities, across unique and fast courses. Three are recent IAAF World Half Marathon Championships hosts.

“The SuperHalfs hosts will offer the best experience to runners, whilst committing to improving environmental sustainability. Every event will strive to reduce their own carbon footprint with the common goal of becoming the most sustainable collection of half marathons worldwide,” said Prague Half Marathon race director Carlos Capalbo.

Conference participants were then treated to hospitality as guests of the Birell Prague 10K and were able to observe firsthand how one of the world’s leading road races over the distance was organised while also being spectators for what will undoubtedly prove to be one of the world’s best races over 10km this year, with the women's race seeing the second and third best times ever over the distance.

The third day saw a morning with race day workshops on technology, content and planning; and runner experience workshops on activation, health and awards to conclude the Conference before more than 350 participants from 55 different countries departed.

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