August 2022 Issue 453

The Latest in Road Running for Race Directors and Industry Professionals

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

Ian Dobson Discusses Organizing the Men's and Women's Marathons

By Keith Peters

Let’s do it again soon!

Easy for me to say. But I imagine 2008 U.S. Olympian, Race Director of the annual Eugene Marathon and Road Events Director for Oregon22 Ian Dobson would wince at the suggestion of doing anything more anytime soon. After all, he and his team were responsible for staging six separate World Championship events over the course of 10 days last month — the men’s and women’s marathons, 20K and 35K race walks — plus a 5K fun run. Suffice it to say that theirs was a remarkable accomplishment, well worthy of consideration for hosting future global championship events.

Putting on the World Championships Marathons has a lot in common with putting on any road race – there are the usual course logistics, permitting issues, medical needs, and police requirements to deal with, although the field sizes are much smaller than the major marathons. The World Championships come with their own headaches too, however, thanks to potential sponsor conflicts, TV broadcast challenges, and World Athletics needs and requirements. Ian Dobson was kind enough to sit down for an hour-long interview with RRM a few days after the marathons and just prior to the 35K race walks to discuss the logistics of putting on the summer’s highest profile marathons.


Road Race Management (RRM): What was the permitting process? I would think that the City would say you can have any course you wanted, but was that the case?

Ian Dobson (ID): Part of the challenge was that we had to work across multiple municipalities. We had to work through the City of Eugene, City of Springfield, Lane County and ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation). So those were the four main entities whose land we were on. We learned a ton of lessons through the process, but one that we learned the hard way was that we shouldn’t try to get a “yes” from people. Early on, we got soft yeses from both cities on the course that we had put together, but then when we got down to the nitty-gritty, we and they started discovering a lot of the challenges that would go along with what we proposed, so we ended up adjusting it to essentially unlock some neighborhoods. Ultimately, I think it was a really good adjustment, and we landed on what I think is a better course and it worked better for neighborhoods. But it was not a carte-blanche, do-what-you-want kind of thing. So the permitting from the cities was, honestly, challenging.

RRM: More Eugene or more Springfield?

ID: More Eugene. We ran into what we felt like, and still feel like, was being held to a standard with crowd control that didn’t feel consistent with what other events in the area and past events had done. So it felt like there were individuals that were making it really hard for us to get this event permitted and get it set and go do it. It’s really too bad, because part of the long-term benefit we hope to get from all this is an increase in sport tourism in our area. And if all the same personalities were in place, I would absolutely not want to start another event in Eugene right now, because the traffic control piece was very  demanding—the person we hired to do it has done the Super Bowl, a bunch of other things; the contractor that implemented it had to do  two to three times more volume of traffic control devices than they’ve ever done for an event—and it just felt like we were being put through the wringer here. That said, there were a lot of things that were really important to do, like all the facilities that are just north of our start/finish line, they’re 24-hour county facilities. So just opposite Autzen Stadium [where the marathons started and finished], there’s a youth detention center, there’s some housing, and I hadn’t considered that initially. So we had to make sure they had two-way ingress/egress 24/7 during events. That was a challenge, but a good one.

I’m not just complaining about bureaucracy. A lot of that bureaucracy exists for a good reason. And the vast majority of people we worked with were extremely helpful and cooperative and understanding. A lot of it was kind of trying to get ourselves, the communities, the cities, the people who are working traffic control, the police, everybody, to understand the magnitude of it. The fact we’d all worked on the Eugene Marathon previously almost made it harder, because it’s just a different scale. I started talking to people, saying, let me tell you what’s different about this from the Eugene Marathon. It’s a marathon yes, but it’s going to feel very, very different. It’s much smaller on the athlete side, but much bigger on the production side. At the end of the day we’re going to walk away feeling really good about how we got it done, but I do think there’s some real constructive feedback for the cities—and I’m sure they have some for us too—on how an event like this can be sustainable and productive. I think of all the things we could have done from a look and feel and branding perspective that we weren’t able to do because we’d spent so much of our budget on traffic control. It felt like it was a little bit overkill.

RRM: Not a likelihood that this will become an annual people’s course?

ID: It’s not, but it’s really a shame, because we have this template and I would love for us to be able to bid for some of the U.S. championships, even the world half-marathon. Our team, I’m really proud of it. I think we did a really good job. We worked really well with World Athletics, all their partners and suppliers, and I’m coming out of it feeling really good. I would love to have more events like that here. Now we are talking before Oregon22 is even over—like asking someone in labor if they want to have another child—but give it a little space and it will be better. But yeah, the permitting process was tough. The cities didn’t provide any of the work of traffic control implementation, so, where like in Eugene Marathon, their public works might do some of the [work]—and we might pay them—but here it was clear that the cities were not going to do any of the traffic management other than police. We had great police support; they were phenomenal.

Crowd and Traffic Control


RRM: How many barricades does it take to put on a world-championship marathon?

ID: The marathons were run on a 14K loop, and we used 4800 barricades to line both sides of the course along 12K of the loop. We call them pedrail barricades, because barriers describe traffic-control devices. Pedrail is crowd control. We’ve all decided we’ll get pedrail tattoos as a reminder of what never to do again. Setting them up twice in two days was very hard work. We were really lucky because in Alton Baker Park, we wanted to leave that as open and natural as possible, so we wanted this city marathon look, you start, you’re on a main road, you’ve got pedrail on both sides until you pop into the park and all of a sudden you switch, part 2, and now you’re in something that looks very unique to our area. So we go into these different chapters of the course that we were trying to make it look and feel unique and distinct. I never ran a marathon competitively, but I can imagine that a breakup of that, like we’re going through this section and this section, and certain parts are going to feel good and certain aren’t. It was fun to do that, and logistically it helped us to have areas that were kept open, and that made it a lot easier.

RRM: Where do the barriers and pedrails come from?

A: They were actually procured through the main procurement contractor for Oregon22. This company, GL Events (GLE), is based in Florida. We were lucky to be able to send in an order, and they just brought trucks and trucks of this stuff from different places. It didn’t all match, which created its own set of challenges, but . . . presumably it was mostly from the Northwest—but there’s not anywhere near that much locally. Our whole course was broken into eleven zones. Each zone had a captain, and that captain had a volunteer workforce. One of our captains used to live in Boulder, and they had a similar structure at Bolder Boulder, and he was, like, “oh, I got this.” Bolder Boulder has even more of this stuff. He was not fazed by having to put up a bunch, so it began to feel like we’re catching up to a big-time event here.

RRM: Where do the traffic-control barriers go, and who manages them?

ID: Meridian was hired to manage traffic-control. That’s the brand of barrier and the company that manages them. They were hired, but we had security teams as well. A marathon course is not secure, but the point of the Meridian barricades was so that a bad actor couldn’t ram their car onto the course. There were any number of catastrophes that could happen, and that was one that we could control by putting those barricades in the right places.

Police/Service Charges

RRM: Did you get charged for more things for this event than you would for a Eugene Marathon? More city services or police or whatnot?

ID: No, they were actually quite good in that sense. A small example that is representative is, Alton Baker Park is closed to vehicles for the large part, but you can get a vehicle-access pass. When I’m doing work for the Eugene Marathon, I just apply for a vehicle-access pass for the day—costs $25, an insignificant cost—but for Oregon22 they waived all that. I was able to work directly with the people at Parks and say here’s when we’re going to be there, and we just communicated directly. On the one side I’m saying, “oh gosh, this was really hard,” but on the other, the large majority of people were all on the same page—we’re all trying to make this thing happen—and I think it was fortunate that it was our team that was doing it because we have really good rapport with them, and I think we’re a trusted partner. I understand their concerns about the park—I’m a park user, but I’m not going in there with my four-wheeler, trying to make . . . you know, we’re respectful.

RRM: Who paid for the repaving in Alton Baker Park?                                                 

ID: The city did. Parks did that and it was fantastic. It was really, really nice. So, on both sides, because we had two sections on the Eugene side of Alton Baker Park, and the City of Eugene did both of those. Then we had one short section on the Springfield side, where Willamalane, which is the Parks and Rec district in Springfield, they did that themselves. So all of those they paid for. And not expected necessarily. We asked how can we get this done, and they said we’ll do it. Really cool.

Television Camera Placement and Spectator Access Inside and Alongside the Course

RRM: Looks like most of the television cameras had to be placed on the turns. Was that a deliberate strategy?

ID: Yes. It was not us at all. We took direction from World Athletics Productions in terms of where their cameras were going to be, and then that information got shared also with Dentsu and the branding partners. Sports Logistics is the company that actually places the branding, so they had the information: where are the camera positions, what are they shooting, and then they place their cameras where they want. So, not me necessarily making decisions, but being in the conversation so we could be sure that we have the rail where they need it.

RRM: I tried to get on the sidewalk on the inside of the loop, and I asked the volunteer how does that affect being inside the loop to watch the marathon. He said “yes, the sidewalk is closed here,” but thought I might be able to go back and forth on the road that cut through Alton Baker Park at the 28K mark. But when I got there, there were barricades on both sides, and I realized there was no way to access the interior of the course from there.

ID: So what you ran into, well, depending on the volunteer, one might tell you that you can go across. Another volunteer might tell you, “absolutely not.” We never really, we—if we did that over again, we would do that better, because there was little bit of question in people’s minds.

RRM: So, did you expect all those cyclists and skateboarders, and were you freaked out by it?

ID: Not really. We had to make last minute adjustments — truly around 1 am [before the men’s race] — and because people didn’t have a way to contact the event at that time, for lack of any other option, people were dialing the police at 911. Middle of the night, things are hectic, well, one thing we can do to make sure we can open up the roads more quickly, is to remove some of the pedrail we were going to have along Centennial and MLK. We still need some of it for the sponsor boards we would have, but we have a bunch of extra cones, so we could just replace some of the pedrail with cones. So I wouldn’t have been nervous at all, but then because we have cones, the question really goes to the police. Are you guys, you guys on bikes, are you comfortable with those cyclists? And they were fine. It’s a good example of the kind of two voices we’ve had in all these conversations, the healthy push and pull is, like, security and predictability and knowing what’s going to happen versus the fan experience. There was a real voice of like let’s make sure people can have fun, and also make sure that it’s not chaos out there and stuff. I don’t think we ever did a great job of resolving those two.

RRM: Did you have to scramble? On the finishing stretch where the bleachers were there were so many people in the street that there weren’t so many bikes coming through that area. Did you stop them? How did they get back so they could do it again?

ID: Most of that stretch, they turn off Rainbow just past 11K onto Centennial, and Centennial turns into MLK, so there’s about a 3-kilometer stretch there that’s on a main arterial road. Most of it is 5 lanes—two eastbound, two westbound, and a median—and regardless of whether there are 4 or 5—some places the median disappears—we kept the marathon runners in the south two lanes. They were headed west in the eastbound lanes the whole direction, which means we had two lanes to the north that were open, and the idea was that that’s open for emergency services and broadcast.  Broadcast had a big truck with a Russian arm—don’t know if it’s called that anymore—but it would go back and forth. The cyclists just did that: they rode back and forth in those north lanes. They would get to the finish area where it starts to be crowded, and you can’t keep going through there at 12, 13 miles per hour with the runners, so you’ve got to stop and that’s your turnaround. I thought it was actually pretty cool. What we’re trying to avoid is people who want to cause a problem. Those cyclists were so clearly fans, why would we mess with fans? That’s exactly what we want. It was fun to see, totally organic, like not something I had any idea was going to happen.


RRM: Was Oregon22 able to raise sponsorship money outside the WA sponsorships? I would like to compare this situation with the situation at the U.S Olympic Trials where the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) is virtually unable to raise any sponsorship because of conflicts with USATF and USOC sponsors. What was the situation in Eugene? I did see barricade signs for the University of Oregon and Peace Health.

ID: You can talk with somebody else, but what I can comment on is the absolute pain in the ass for us that we weren’t able to do whatever we wanted—and of course I knew we couldn't do whatever we wanted—but two examples of that are relevant. One is vehicles. Arcimoto is a local company that makes FUVs, electric vehicles—they’re small, they’re nimble, we got to use them for the Eugene Marathon. They’re awesome and they’re perfect for an event like this. It was out of my realm, so I didn’t have anything to do with that. I don’t know what went on, all I know is we couldn’t use them. Couldn’t be out there. I don’t know where that decision came from. Another example is water boxes  —  we had  an absolute marathon of stickering boxed water. Every box of water had to have a sticker put over it. The brand is not a partner, so boxes of water had to be stickered, in real time, out on the course. This is not a dig on anybody, but it really was a real bummer. I understand the structure. And I have a general understanding of how it came to be the case. It’s just too bad that that’s the case. That said, Peace Health, the local medical provider, came on as a provider sponsor.

[Note: The LOC had a no plastic bottle policy, so the LOC brought in something like 250,000 boxes of water for the entire event. Per Ian’s sticker reference, every box of water that would be in TV camera/public line of sight had to be stickered — on the marathon course, in the mixed zone at Hayward Field, etc.]

Dropouts and DNFs

RRM: What was the system for handling dropouts and DNFs, both in regards to getting info back to the finish, and transporting.

ID: We had a couple different ways. We had three on-course medical stations, so if someone had a medical issue, they could be transported from there. The medical stations were not providing, though, non-medical transport, so if a person dropped because they were having a bad day, medical is not transporting them back. What they would do is hop in our tail vehicle, and because the course is three loops, they didn’t have to ride as long. For the most part what we tried to communicate is that if people are electively dropping out, they should do it at the start/finish or at a spot where they can self-transport back to the finish. Which I think is what most people did. We saw a few people come in on gators and golf carts—I don’t know how they did that exactly—presumably the medical team called in and got something, but yeah, we felt pretty good. The proximity to the stadium was good. Just seeing how athletes typically behave, unless they’re injured they’re going to want to just walk it off, get back, they’re discouraged, they get back on their own.

RRM: What about from a communications standpoint?

ID: What’s supposed to happen, okay, an athlete wants to drop out, they unpin their bib and let a referee know. So we had 25 referees out on the course, which means you’re not going to necessarily see a referee right around the corner—there’s some places where we have a bunch of them, where we have athletes going in two directions, anywhere an athlete could cut the turns—we have referees there. So what really happened often, we hadn’t seen somebody for a while, they should have passed by, call goes out on the radio: do we know what’s up with so-and-so? And we get a report back, yep, they’ve left the course, they’re back through medical and they’ve retired, essentially. So again, not a perfect system. Because it was a small number of athletes, it worked fine, and we had line of sight to every point on the course. So the course captains managing these eleven zones had enough people on each zone to spread them out so there was no point on the course where we didn’t have staff, volunteers, eyes, which was how we felt confident that we would be able to respond to anything medically as quickly as possible.

Course Design, Certification, Record Validation, Signage and Supplies

RRM: The course looked like a huge challenge to certify and to cone and barricade with no curbing. Some sections were handled by cones, and others by barricades. Sometimes it appeared the cones or barricades were not placed on the center stripe of the roadway, but situated with no apparent reference.

ID: I feel extremely confident that it was coned and barricaded in exactly the way that it was measured. And I’m happy to share all the diagrams. So Jane Parks was the official course measurer. Lee [Barrett] and another guy [Jeff Huber] were also out doing this; I was tagging along mostly. We had a few adjustments throughout. So they came out twice for measurements and then measured again on-site before the races. Then we’d do a course drive. We started at 5 a.m., an hour plus before the race, and drove the loop and made sure that everything was set the way it was supposed to be set. So there were certain places where the reference point is the reflective plastic device that’s the second one in from this corner, so it starts to look random, but those were pretty precise, and we had a lot of painted reference marks and stuff. We ran out of time on the green line—you often see a blue line on a course, but our blue line was green—and we’re a small team and we undershot on some of our staffing up. So it’s the night before, and we’re out all night trying to get as much of that down as we could and trying to get things set before we ran out of time. But there were a few places where it was like, okay, we need to get out here because it’s going to help with this or that. It was pretty dialed in.

RRM: I observed one pickup truck and three  motorcycles—one with a cop and two had cameras on it—as lead vehicles, was there anybody observing how the course was actually run?

ID: So we didn’t have anybody in that pickup truck but Jane [Parks] was in an advance vehicle to a) give a visual to the marshalls, police, everybody, that okay, the race is imminent, and b) for it to be far enough ahead so that if something had changed from our course drive, that she could jump out and fix it, that we would have a couple minutes to troubleshoot any major bumps that were out there. But, there was no one immediately in the front of the race verifying it was run as it was intended to be other than what we had from broadcast. Presumably that’s sufficient.

RRM: Did the runners actually cross the finish on the first two loops?

ID: Yes.

RRM: Were there mile markers on the course?

ID: There were no mile markers. [All the intermediate splits were in kilometers.]

RRM: And I noticed that kilometers were clearly marked, and had to be changed depending on what loop you were on. Did you guys take down the start arches?

ID: Yep, the start arches came down right away. All the kilometers were . . . kilometer one was the same point as kilometer 15; they were identical points. The mechanism here was we had the arches, what I call skins and socks. The whole arch was aluminum frame with a quarter arch, the skin on the whole thing says, Kilometer One. The racers pass by, you tip the thing over, you put a sock on the top, the whole top is white with just the kilometer mark, that sock now says Kilometer 15. They pass by, you take that sock off, put the next sock on, and so on—not exactly rocket science.

RRM: Who manufactured all that stuff?

ID: I did all that locally. Coincidentally, I had actually put all that together for the Eugene Marathon last year. It was just a little bit out of our budget, so I thought, yeah, we can do it. But the design and everything and the quotes we got from Stretch Shapes—so we got down the road with budgeting and procurement, and based on how everything went, that became our cheap option. I was able to do it locally, so we just used the exact same design we used for Eugene Marathon in terms of the structure and replaced the branding, obviously, and went ahead and did it that way. So they’re all made four miles from the course, and the guys that do the stretch shapes do it all over, but those were custom for us.

RRM: What big items will you be able to reuse for the Eugene Marathon?

ID: We hopefully will be able to reuse those aluminum structures. We hadn’t purchased those for the Eugene Marathon because they were a little bit expensive. But hopefully now, we will be able to reuse them. The synergy between Eugene Marathon and this was interesting because a lot of the things, we ended up essentially providing a lot of things ourselves—cones, tables, etc.—but we just took the opportunity to purchase those things ourselves, and rent them back to the event. So basically, we can both come out ahead. We were able to rent them back for a lot cheaper than they could rent through a general contractor, and we were able to take this opportunity to stock up on some of those things that we took to rent. We just moved into a new office space that has warehouse storage with it, so we’re able to accommodate some of the stuff now. There are some really good synergies there that I think we all feel we all came out ahead on it.

Personal Drinks and Boxed Water

RRM: A few times water station volunteers were handing water boxes to the runners. What were their instructions? Most times the runners had to fetch them.

ID: Semantics-wise, we had water stations and drink stations. Water stations, they were instructed to place the water; volunteers should not have been handing water to runners. I don’t know that that’s a hard-and-fast rule, but the instruction was to place the water on the table and they take it themselves. So it’s unscrewed, the top’s off, etc. Drink stations, they are able to hand — most of the federations have a coach or person there who is handing water. We had volunteers there to manage that for federations who didn’t have a person onsite.

RRM: But you let federation people do it.

ID: We encouraged federations to do it. We would rather federations take the bottles out for us, do all that stuff, so that’s what ended up happening. All the federations did their own transport and management. We helped transport the federations out there, but we weren’t collecting or distributing everyone’s bottles.

Uplift Oregon 5K

RRM: Let’s talk about the mass participation Uplift Oregon 5K, which was held during the Men’s Marathon on July 17. First of all, was the 5K course certified?

ID: The truth is that it probably wouldn’t have been certified. By my measure, it was 5K. I think Strava says it’s 3.11, but it was a loop, and the chance of a loop being exactly 5K is low, so I think it’s within a very reasonable margin of error, where I didn’t . . . I feel, like, in good faith it was 5K. I don’t think it would have been certifiable. We would have needed to offset the start and finish, and the logistics around how quickly we needed to get the start down and up for that probably were not going to allow for a separate start and finish.

RRM: Seemed like a fantastic experience for everyone.

ID: We felt really, really good about it. I think it was fantastic in a lot of ways, yeah. There’s a unique opportunity, and it was really fun—I would have loved to do it as a runner, coming behind those [elite] guys, and being able to be at the finish and watch them come through the second and third time. And it really served the purpose of making sure it felt like a World Championship event, and it felt like there were a lot of people there, because there were. I think we intentionally put the start line of the 5K in front of the marathon start line [and staged the 5K runners alongside the pedrail barricades (see Photo below).] We didn’t want to line all these 5K runners up behind the marathon start where they wouldn’t see it. We put them in front where everyone could see everything. When the marathon runners came out  all the 5K runners were cheering. We didn’t know how many people wouldn’t make the time cutoff, because we did have a time cutoff. [5K runners who were not at a pace to finish in 31 minutes were held up at the 4K mark so the championship runners could come through. Any stopped runners were allowed to continue their 5K once all the championship runners had passed.]  Their time didn’t reflect their running time; it was their running time plus 8 minutes, something like that, but it was maybe only 15, 20 people that got stopped. And we had our party pacer, a guy who’s got a big stroller with a huge speaker—he’s making it fun and making sure we had some energy there. And they were fantastic sports about it, and they all knew going in, too, that this was the case.

There’s an element of luck, too. Like, somebody could have gotten injured in the last 800 meters. Unlikely, but that could have happened, and then we would have had to manage getting them off the course. You could have somebody who’s just a jerk and trying to mess things up. We would have had to manage that. Those things didn’t happen; we got lucky with that. We felt like it was a calculated risk. We think it would be really cool, but I don’t think I’ve seen that exact scenario done before. But the number of times that I checked my spreadsheet to ask: Am I right about these numbers? Am I sure? Just double-checking, triple-checking, making sure about the timing. Far from rocket science, but . . . don’t screw it up.

RRM: Were you pleased with the usage of the 5K fan experience area? (The video below shows the fan experience area for the 5K.)



ID: I was on the other side. Eugene Marathon team was kind of divided on this. Two on our team were working primarily on this, the 5K. I was primarily not working on it, just making sure it synched up properly. I think I would have heard if people or if Asics was not happy about the fan experience, but everything I’ve heard is that Asics was happy as clams about it. Everybody felt good. I know registration was a little lower than we’d hoped. We capped it at 2000, and I think it ended up being more like 1200. I don’t know the final number. But it reflects that this is a different market than maybe brands might be used to doing in a pop-up event. In Eugene a 1000-person 5K is actually a pretty good 5K, so like I think their marketing could have been a little better, their messaging a little better. But at the end of the day it totally accomplished the primary point of doing it.

RRM: Did you know that for 5 or 6 minutes, between 19 and 26 minutes in the men’s race, the live feed went away and this was on the board? 

ID: I didn’t know that. I’m not super surprised though, and I say this with some amount of affection, but the event presentation, EVP, the screen, the audio, it was extremely last minute in coming. We had no idea—this was a combination of USATF and LOC, but it was outside our Eugene Marathon contract of teams’ responsibilities or purview—and we were waiting and waiting. It was the absolute last minute this stuff got scheduled, came, and we had problems with it. There was no audio for the second race walk on Friday. The men were second on that first day of competition, there was no audio. So the venue announcers that were great for the women’s race walk and have been great since, there was just complete silence. I was really frustrated by that because it meant that the fan experience was not what it could have been.

RRM: How many paid staff did you have on this race?

ID: We had 8 paid staff.

RRM: Was that more than you would normally have?

ID: Yes, that’s double what we usually have. We’re a small team. We usually staff up a little bit for the Eugene Marathon on race month, but we’re four core full-time staff. We doubled up for this. And I’m going to guess that that’s a couple orders of magnitude lower than what it has been for other organizing committees. We didn’t know what we were getting into, part of it, but also, we’ll make it happen. You know? I’m really proud of us.

RRM: You should be proud. It was fantastic.

ID: Thanks. 

RRM: Any last thoughts?

ID: I think it would be a real shame, speaking personally, my goal career-wise is not to end by running the marathons for World Athletics. I’m really happy to stay here and do what I’m doing, and I think it would be a big missed opportunity for our Eugene Marathon team if we didn’t continue to develop as a company and develop some more events, and bid for global championships and national championships. I think it’s important for the identity of Tracktown—this can’t be the end of it, right? And nobody is suggesting it is. Prefontaine Classic is carrying a huge load there and doing a good job, all kinds of things to contribute, but I think there’s a real tension between events like this and—I don’t know how to articulate the tension that’s in my head—but like, this type of Championships event is not financially viable. It requires a huge amount of state public funding. Atlanta, I don’t know the half of it, but their hosting the Olympic Trials was wildly expensive. And until the federations and local governing bodies figure out how to do this in a financially responsible way, they’re just going to be better off going to places where suitable authoritarian governments can just make things happen that we can’t here. The level of frustration that World Athletics broadcast had with us, not being able to lay out 14 kilometers of dark fiber that—we’re talking about millions of dollars of infrastructure—that’s not even a possibility. I think in their minds, it was like, you should just do this, you should make this happen. And these are good people. The expectations are just not realistic in a financially responsible way. The funding for these events—I don’t know enough about it to have an educated perspective—but I do know that we did not, would not right now, try to bid for the Olympic Trials marathon. You’re just going to lose money. We’re just an LLC; we’re a business. Maybe that needs to go to a nonprofit, maybe that’s the model. Maybe it has to rely more on lobbying than organizing. It’s just discouraging to me to think that this may be the only time we do something like this here because USATF or World Athletics hijacks or holds hostage any of the revenue that comes in for it. Partnerships are a huge piece of that, but we could not do this again in the way that we did it. And to be clear, I would have done this for free. I learned so much. It was really hard, but I had a really good time. We would only do this again if we could hire the staff we need to hire. Two of our staff had to tap out last night because they’re sick and exhausted and they’re beat up; our staff just took a beating.

Keith Peters first organized running events for students at the University of Tennessee, Martin in 1978, and was involved in producing the Cascade Run Off from 1981-93. Over the past 14 years, he has worked with scores of road races seeking verification and recognition of their efforts to become more sustainable. He is currently a board member of the Council for Responsible Sport.

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