11 July 2021, 7am
We considered how we could best become a reliable and supportive partner for organisers in such uncertain times while still maintaining high levels of service and attention to product development.
The ‘Virtual race’ was born and Medaltime has been a forerunner in supporting events with custom-made medals. We developed a “virtual race” concept whereby organisers who were unable to stage their event due to Covid restrictions could offer participants the opportunity to register on line for the race but run or walk the equivalent distance from either their home or an alternative accessible venue and on a suitable route.
Virtual runs often require personal seconding and support. Arrival at the finish line demands mental discipline and is worthy of the reward of a bespoke medal and finisher certificate. This was taken up by many event organisers who were forced to postpone their live event. With our offices and factory located in the Netherlands, big events such as the Dam Tot Damloop and Breda Singelloop were prime examples.
The company developed a live tracking app and a special medal posting service. The app incorporated innovative features fitting to our customers’ requirements such as ‘live tracking with the option that runners are displayed on the official ‘live’ race course and custom-printed and shaped medal envelopes, posted out to runners around the globe.
Flexible solutions were developed whereby ribbons with the incorrect year or date could be easily removed and replaced. This avoided scrapping costly medals which had already been paid for. We were continuously monitoring combinations of sea and airfreight transportation routes to facilitate economical delivery due to the disruption caused by Covid. In some cases we extended this by offering free storage of medals at our warehouse in the Netherlands.
The highly prestigious 2020 Athens Marathon The Authentic was postponed for a year and the medals are still in free storage at our warehouse pending delivery. Although such actions have increased our own costs we have tried to adopt a policy of assisting our customers to get through the pandemic as we look to better times ahead.
Recovering of the high infrastructure costs associated with large events relies on high participation to pay the bills and satisfy sponsors. Similarly, the survival of Medaltime can only be based on the re-establishment of mass participation races. In the majority of AIMS events around the world their success, and the success of road running in general has been mainly attributable to the passion of the dedicated few who eat, drink, sleep and dream our sport.
Medaltime is managed by athletes who understand what it takes to stage events and prides itself in joining organisations with the desire to beat the challenges of the pandemic. We know how frustrating it is for athletes who have been unable to compete in events or where even simple training regimes have become disrupted. We have all had to realign our goals and seek new or different motivation until we can together rewrite a new chapter of success.
Meanwhile, light is finally shining on the horizon with the advent of COVID-19 vaccination programmes. With the confidence this inspires we see various initiatives emerging. Medaltime supported RunCzech’s ‘Runway Run’ staged at Prague Airport Due to COVID-19, the NN Mission Marathon also took place on an airport runway – at Twente Airport where 70 athletes tried to secure qualification for the Tokyo Olympic Games. These were limited participation events but they offered the opportunity for the company to reach out and assist like-minded organisers who have had to think outside the box until mass participation events can return.
We realise that our presence in the market has to be innovative and flexible but we understand the ever-prevailing uncertainty that exists. Whilst trying to assist race organisers, Medaltime will always look at our sport through the eyes of those who participate whether ‘elite’ or ‘back of the pack’ runners around the world. We all need to pull together. We all want to get back onto the road. So Medaltime would like to invite any athlete who may have a novel idea to promote our sport to come forward with any suggestions which we will gladly take up in the interests of our worldwide running community.