So much industry insights were covered in the last Strength in Number Session. See the highlights below:
- Numerous events have taken place in Europe in the past few weeks including Paris Half Marathon with 25,000 participants, UTMB with 10,000 and other medium and small events. At the same time there have been lots of cancellations and postponements, some of them last minute and slow reopening in places like Ireland.
- Very little activity in Asia with many countries still under lockdown and strict restrictions.
- njuko, the largest registration platform in Europe, experienced its highest number of registrations last week in its almost 10 year history.
- Evidence from many parts of the world of low turnout rates, generally only 50-60% of registered runners turning up on race day – it seems in part due to high percentage of deferred entries but also in some markets participants not feeling totally comfortable yet. This seems to be a continuing current trend and is valuable planning information and potential cost savings on the likes of medals and catering.
- Getting sufficient volunteers appears to be a challenge globally. Also concerns of loss of knowledge with long term volunteers no longer available. Problems for events that rely on “in the head” information from key volunteers now having to manage information transfer. An important reminder of the need for documentation and manuals.
- Much of Australia is in lockdown and many events no longer prepared to take commercial risk and have written off 2021 and are planning for 2022.
- Some good progress in Romania with Bucharest Half successfully staged with a total attendance, runners, staff, volunteers and spectators, of 7,000. Feedback that participants were very co-operative and delighted to be back at an event.
- Riga Marathon had a colour-coded start line: a green pen for fully vaccinated and yellow for PCR and other tests. 90% of the field used the green pen.
- Huge evidence of virtual event fatigue and continued impact on charities.
- Some regions in Europe eg Ireland, are quite slow to open and there are still lots of cancellations and postponements.
- In Sweden, Gottenburg Half was due to take place this weekend with 35,000 runners over two days with waves of 450 in each start but was cancelled last Friday by healthcare authorities who indicated lack of capacity to provide medical support for the event. It has created significant commercial implications only part of which will be supported by Sweden’s government backed event cancellation fund. Vatternrundan cycling event went ahead last weekend with 10,000 cyclists, many of them internationals from the likes of Germany, Denmark and Netherlands.
- Denmark will be removing all restrictions from Sep 10 and the Royal Run which in the past has attracted 100,000 participants is on track to go ahead this weekend.
- Lot’s of valuable insights from Mike Nishi with only 33 day’s to Chicago Marathon including:
- Ongoing fantastic collaboration with city partners and agencies
- Details confirmed for bib pick up and access to expo (runners and supporters) requiring proof of fully vaccinated or negative test within 72hours before being issued with tamper-proof wristband
- First tabletops working through scenarios not limited to COVID and including security and extreme weather
- Challenges with recruiting volunteers as reflected in other parts of the world including loss of entire groups such as schools which have new COVID-related guideline/rules in place
- Huge additional administrative resources required to deal with COVID-related issues such as travel, visas, deferred entries and supply chain where in some instances air freight is required to ensure on-time arrival
- Great support from sponsors standing “side by side” to ensure a safe and successful event and recognising that there may be some limitations from previous years
- Opportunities for training and development of materials – eg videos of Aid Station set up to give confidence of ability to set up under new conditions
- Exploring contingency roles for staff that may test positive in days before and on event day – eg can they contribute via zoom rather than just be sent home?
- Recognition that all stakeholders are experiencing similar challenges
- Awareness of potential “Event Production Atrophy” and “COVID Blinders” – after two years gap – what have we forgotten and what are we maybe overlooking with a possible hyper-focus on COVID?
- Elsewhere in US lots of events with large numbers have returned and continue to return, many of them with virtually no restrictions. In LA area only events with more then 10,000 require masks and they are not needed when running.
- Registrations starting to build but still around 50% of 2019 numbers
Strength in Numbers sessions are now once a month on the first Mon/Tues of the month.