10 June 2021, 11am
Restart Running is the name of an announced pilot project that is intended to guarantee the return of major running events.
By staging the adidas Runners City Night, the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON and the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, the aim is to gain know-how and create perspectives in the period from the end of July until autumn of 2021. The knowledge gained will then be incorporated into decision-making processes for the gradual reopening of public life including major sporting events.
The lynchpin of the pilot project is the health and hygiene concept developed by the organizer SCC EVENTS, which is almost 150 pages. Jürgen Lock, managing director of SCC EVENTS, presented the main features of the impressive concept. For more than nine months Jürgen Lock has been working on the draft with a highly competent committee of experts and summed it up: “Since the beginning of April, based on our concept and implementation analysis we are confident that the path we have chosen for our Restart Running is the right one. The concept is based on three elements — recovered, vaccinated, tested. The participants will have constant support through all the phases of the event so it will be easy and almost like a normal event.” The pneumologist and Medical Director of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, Dr. med. Matthias Krüll, who was also present, confirmed the high scientific standards of the hygiene concept and emphasized its enormous practicality.
The fact that viable hygiene concepts and clear framework conditions are a key to how large sporting events can be held safely and responsibly in times of a pandemic was also mentioned by the Senator for the Interior and Sport of Berlin, Andreas Geisel. For the senator, participation for runners on the basis of “tested, vaccinated or recovered” seems quite possible. Sports Senator Andreas Geisel: “The traditional running events bring together top-level and amateur athletes in our sports metropolis. With pilot projects, we gain know-how and create perspectives on how to conduct major sporting events safely and responsibly in times of a pandemic. We are taking the first steps back to normality. Things are looking good at the moment, but we see look into the future. Everything depends on the development of the infection statistics, including the question of whether spectators can be admitted.”
Dr. Florian Kainzinger, expert for hygiene concepts and test scenarios, referred to the great advantage of outdoor events in contrast to indoor events or seated concepts. Studies from the past weeks had shown that virus infection is an indoor problem. Physicist and aerosol researcher Dr. Gerhard Scheuch even went one step further and spoke of “open air instead of lockdowns” to further push the drop in incidences, because almost no infections occur outside closed rooms.
Marcel Altenburg (crowd management expert at Manchester Metropolitan University) is jointly responsible for the safe management of crowd flows at the world’s largest top sporting events. The academic, who was connected via livestream, was visibly impressed by the hygiene concept presented, expressed his excitement about collaborating at the upcoming running events as part of the pilot project and described his experiences of the last few months: “Since autumn 2020, we have been supporting events worldwide (more than 50 events) through the university – all events were successful and were assessed as safe in retrospect. This shows above all the enormous influence that organisers can have on the movement of people in a controlled environment. The system in Berlin will be set up so that individuals will always have enough space to feel comfortable and be able to comply with applicable recommendations. By moving forward, each runner is constantly creating space for the next runners. This has to be coordinated. The fact that cooperation with the local authorities is also indispensable in this regard was brought up again by Jürgen Lock.
The TV broadcasting rights for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON remain with ARD/rbb.
Finally, Katrin Günther (Head of Contentbox Sport and Deputy Program Director of the rbb, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg) conveyed the good news that the rights agency SportA and SCC EVENTS agreed to continue their cooperation for several years. This is another clear sign of the optimism surrounding the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. The TV broadcasting rights for Germany’s biggest marathon will thus continue to be in the hands of ARD and rbb. ARD sports coordinator Axel Balkausky: “We are proving our stamina and are pleased to be able to continue our partnership since 2013 with the organisers of the Berlin Marathon, for at least two more years. We will continue to support this event, which always has top-class participants, on the great course in Berlin with competence, experience and passion. Our athletics fans can continue to expect a mix of international, national as well as regional flair in combination with top-class sport in the broadcasts on ARD and rbb television from the German capital”.
Christian Jost, in his function as Managing Director of SCC EVENTS, added: “The most beautiful thing about sport is the emotion. And you want to be part of the action, whether as an active athlete or a spectator. Unfortunately, you can’t always be there live. Therefore, it is all the more important for an organizer to have a reliable partner at his side who can transport the excitement through images with high journalistic quality. With SportA as the responsible sports rights agency of ARD and rbb, we have further secured this by extending a multi-year commitment.”
Hans-Peter Zurbruegg, Senior Vice President Personal & Corporate Fitness at Infront, said after SCC EVENTS authorized its long-term exclusive partner Infront Sports & Media AG to negotiate with SPORT A and to negotiate the present contract: “The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is one of the top races in the world and has seen four world records on its track in the past ten years. We are pleased that the German fans will experience more memorable moments for the next two editions thanks to the extension of the media rights with SportA. This contract renewal builds on a trusting basis in challenging times and we look forward to continuing our successful cooperation."