“Both the clubs and the schools see TineStafetten as the happening of
the year,” says Karin Eftedal, who helped create the event back in 1993
and is still responsible for its overall management. “There is no doubt
that it’s the biggest single youth activity in the country.”
Open to all elementary schools, the event usually takes place on the same day in May throughout the country. Teams of four boys and four girls, aged between 11 and 14, run legs of 200m on local tracks. The times are published on a dedicated website www.tinestafetten.no.
Much of the event administration, including school registration and team entries, is done through the website, which also provides training guidance. Schools can enter as many teams as they wish and there is no entry fee. In 2008, some 1780 schools (57% of the national total) took part and more than 300 volunteers helped with the organisation.
According to Eftedal, the event’s success can be traced to its team nature and the emphasis on fun. “For most of our participants, TineStafetten is their first contact with athletics. A relay means they can compete together with their friends, which makes it more interesting and fun at that age.
“Children who don’t want to run can be cheerleaders. They have all kinds of routines and songs to support their school mates and celebrate with them. In fact, these groups have developed their own competition.
“TineStafetten has become a festival that is part of the school experience of most Norwegians, even if they have not participated themselves. If you walk into a shopping centre you will see teenagers and young adults wearing TineStafetten t-shirts, sometimes from back in the mid-1990s.”
In addition to contributing to the gradual increase in the number of kids registering with the country’s athletics clubs in recent years, the event has helped to promote Norwegian athletics abroad, as the concept has been picked up in Estonia and as far away as Qatar.
From the point of view of sponsors TINE, involved since the 1993 launch, there could hardly be a better connection between its product and target market. The event attracts around 200 national and local newspaper articles each year - plus radio, TV and internet coverage - and links TINE’s name with fun, physical activity and fitness.
“We know it is unusual for a sponsor to stay with an event for so long, but they are very pleased with the level of awareness and positive association,” says Eftedal, “so much so that they have recently renewed the contact for another four years.”
|Organiser:||Norges Fri-idrettsforbund (Norwegian Athletics Federation)|
|Target Group:||Children 11 to 14 years old|
|Participants in 2008:||95,430|
|Venues:||1780 Schools throughout Norway|
|Support: ||Title Sponsor Tine (national dairy product cooperative)|
|More Information:||Karin Eftedal firstname.lastname@example.org|