28 February 2023, 2pm
The 23rd World Congress of AIMS was held in Osaka from 23–25 February, followed by the host race, the Osaka Marathon, on 26 February.
It was the first time a Congress had been held since September 2018 when Tallinn Marathon hosted.
AIMS President Paco Borao welcomed those attending. 103 member events appeared on the list of participants. In his welcoming report to Congress Mr Borao used graphs to show how difficult it had been over the last 4.5 years to keep track of which races were postponed and which were cancelled at times when very few races were being staged because of the physical restrictions in place.
He suggested that 2023 would still be spent chasing the race numbers of the peak year of 2019 of 496 Members compared to the current 402 and this would likely not be achieved until 2024.
Later in the morning Kathryn Widu gave a presentation on how the Vienna City Marathon had ‘bounced back’ from covid to become one of the first races to return to mass participation numbers. Unfortunately there had been recent cases of covid within her household and she had to deliver the presentation by video.
An interactive session took place in the afternoon where five groups separately discussed the subject of ‘Lessons learned from Covid’ among themselves before reporting back to the main session.
On the second day Mike Nishi of the Chicago Marathon shared his thoughts on the impact of Covid and what it would mean for future events. An exchange of views between Tad Hayano (Tokyo Marathon) and Fernando Jamarne (Santiago Marathon) revealed how severely covid had impacted on the finances of races which had been forced to cancel but that after the 2022 races had been held it had been possible to see a pathway to recovery over the next editions.
A part of the programme was devoted to AIMS partners making presentations to the delegates on the goods and services they provide, After this a plaque was awarded to Francis Kay of Marathon Photos to mark 20 years of co-operation with AIMS. Francis Kay later arranged the group photo which he has taken at all Congresses held since 2002.
Later in the afternoon Branislav Koniar of the Košice Peace Marathon described how, since his race was founded 100 years ago, it has been held every year thanks to the strong attachment it shares with the city. The robust working relationship has allowed a small city like Košice to achieve much more with its marathon than others of similar size.
During the final session of Congress, on the morning of 25 February, a vote was taken to amend the Articles of Association of AIMS so that the position of Treasurer would cease to be an elected position (Board member) and become subject to appointment by the Board of Directors. The vote was carried by 89 votes to 17.
A second vote was held to elect four Board members from the nine that had been proposed and seconded. The successful candidates were Mike Nishi (Chicago Marathon); Renna Nelis (Tallinn Marathon); Rut Jiroajvanichakorn (Bangsaen 21), and Branislav Koniar (Košice Peace Marathon).