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Mass Participation World Conference 2019: Highlighting The Importance of Sustainability, Health and Innovation

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The Mass Participation World conference came to a close yesterday after an engaging three-day event where over 300 delegates were treated to a range of discussions and presentations highlighting the trends and key observations of the mass participation industry. A resounding theme from the various speakers and the inaugural MPW Asian Participant Survey is the association of physical activities with health and mental well-being and the positive impact it can have on society.

Matt Rogan of UK sport marketing agency Two Circles, highlighted how individuals could be encouraged to be more active when they see the direct benefits not just to their health but also to their bank accounts. For example, in the UK, insurance companies have offered a reduction in their premiums to customers who agree to take part in a mass participation event such as parkrun. The parkrun concept is a collection of 5km running events that take place every Saturday morning, offering free entry to all that join. Now operating in over 20 countries around the world, more than 9,000 people has taken part in parkrun Singapore held in key locations (East Coast Park, Bedok Reservoir, West Coast Park and Bishan Park).

Another key topic which arose, was the environmental impact of mass participation events and what organisers can do to alleviate the strain placed on the environment when organising such events. Cristiana Queirolo, Executive Director, UTMB International, shared how an increase in the demand for trail racing has seen the organisation having to limit the number of participants for the prestigious UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc) in order to preserve the beautiful mountainous landscape that serves as the backdrop for the race.At the same time, this has also allowed UTMB to create races in other mountainous regions in Oman, China and the Pyrenees, thus creating job opportunities for the local communities. Further environmentally friendly practices are adopted within the race – runners have to bring their own utensils and to clean up after themselves; virtual media conferences are held in order to remove the need for media to be transported via helicopters.

A panel “How to Become a Climate Leader: the Pathway to a More Sustainable Future” which explored not only global best practice but was to harness the advocacy of the massive global mass participation community was led by Mike Nishi, Executive Director of Chicago Event Management and included Girish Ramachandran, President Tata Consultancy Services, Asia Pacific.

Tuesday evening also saw the nine winners of the inaugural Mass Participation World Asian Awards, with the flagship Event of the Year presented to the Tokyo Marathon. The award is also recognised by the Sports Industry Asia Awards in Manila as their Mass Participation Event of the Year.The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon came in second while the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships in Vietnam completed the podium spots.

Wrapping up the conference,Chris Robb, co-founder and CEO of Mass Participation World, “The quality of content over these past few days is astounding with all of our speakers so willing to share their experiences, providing delegates the priceless opportunity to learn of best practices and to see how they may be able to adopt and adapt these observations to their own events. These insights will help facilitate collaboration and help the industry continue to evolve and to provide the best race experiences for the community.”

Mass Participation World Conference 2019 took place from 2nd to 4th December 2019 at Hilton Singapore. More information available here

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