Lars Lundov, CEO of Sport Event Denmark, tells SportBusiness International about the role his company played in bringing the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Half Marathon race to Copenhagen on March 29.
We got involved with this back in March 2011. We joined Denmark's national athletics' federation and Wonderful Copenhagen (tourism body for Copenhagen) and we made up a letter of interest to the IAAF to host the World Half Marathon Series for 2014. In June that year we attended an IAAF bidding workshop to learn more about this event. In September we handed in the official bid file and the last part of the process was in November 2011, when we went to Monte Carlo for the IAAF's council meeting and it was there that we made our final presentation.
We originally sat down with the Danish athletics federation and discussed which athletic events we could target for Copenhagen. This idea for the World Cup Half Marathon Series popped up, which we discussed further and then said if we win we would also have a mass-participation event on the day. So the whole mass participation part was incorporated into the original bid for the elite event.
I think this event is the perfect fit for Copenhagen. It's not the biggest event in the world in its own right, but we have made it much greater by combining it with a mass participation event, which was not only ideal for the city, but also for the IAAF.
I'm not an expert in working out marathon routes. However, our national federations got together and created a fantastic running route, which starts and ends at the Danish parliament buildings, so it will be a great way to show off the city and it will make it really attractive to sponsors and broadcasters.
The figures tell us everything. 30,000 runners in the first year is exactly what we wanted, and that will help us decide whether we want to do this type of mass participation event in the city in the future. This half marathon will see around 300 elite participants from roughly 65 nations, and in terms of the 30,000 entrants I think about 10 per cent will come from Sweden, Norway and the UK.
In many ways it is the perfect event for Sport Event Denmark as it combines mass appeal with elite competition. Our focus as a company is looking at two strands; targeting the elite events and also securing the mass participation events. For that reason, the World Half Marathon Series is ideal.