Some of the near-300 delegates to the first edition of the European Running Business Conference in Frankfurt were interviewed for TV at the end of the second day and the word that used most often in their replies to the question “What do you think of the conference?” was “Inspiring!”
A full day’s programme of keynote speeches, breakout groups and Q&A sessions helped galvanise the various stakeholders – international federations, national federations, race organisers, sponsors and running industry suppliers – from almost 40 countries about how running in Europe can be changed, reshaped and improved.
The day got underway with a welcome from the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon race director Jo Schindler, who reflected briefly on his career and his innovations to make the race one of the most prestigious in the world.
Analytics and digital technology and media were the themes addressed in the presentation Know your Runners and Make Sure You Reach Them, with a quartet of different speakers approaching the subject from four different angles.
It was then the turn of some of the Top Minds in the industry to take the stage.
Golazo CEO Bob Verbeeck, London Marathon CEO Nick Bitel, Tokyo Marathon race director Tad Hayano and AIMS (Association of International Marathons) President and Valencia Half Marathon race director Paco Borao providing insights into the way that they manage and stage their races.
In the afternoon, following a series of 10-minute pitches from a series of new businesses and innovators in the running industry, Sport for All Strategies were addressed.
The topic principally focussed on the relationship between national and international federations and the wider running community and brought to the stage Burson-Marsteller’s Alexander Bielefeld, IAAF Road Running Manager Alessio Punzi, Danish Athletic Federation director Jakob Larsen and German Athletics Federation Vice President Matthias Reick.
Verbeeck and Borao helped close proceedings, along IAAF Road Running Commission Chair Carlo Capalbo, Competitor Group former Senior Vice President Tracy Sundlun and European Athletics Vice President Jean Gracia for a high-level Leadership Panel Q&A.