Running to commercial gain

The popularity of running has never been higher and this Saturday’s Dublin Half Marathon closed for entries two weeks ago having reached it’s maximum of 8,250.  There are six weeks to go until the Dublin Marathon and many will be using this as part of their training regime.

The race, which takes place in and around the Phoenix Park is the fourth in a Dublin Race Series that has extended the reach and the primacy of the Dublin Marathon, sponsored again this year by the National Lottery.

1,700 ran in last week’s Grant Thornton run through the Docklands, representing no fewer than 450 businesses and the streets are clogged with runners finishing their training plans or starting afresh with the ‘back to school’ impetus of September.

There is also a half marathon this weekend through the streets of Athlone and this is still open for entry on the day.

Race fees make the running of races a viable commercial proposition and they have also been attractive to sponsors keen to associate with events that form a central point of competitors lives over the pre race training period.

The Dublin race series lists no fewer than 15 supporters ranging from media and motors to sportswear, hotels and Dublin City Council.  Athlone lists seven including local bars, specialist clothing and local stores.

In many cases the sponsorship will be services in kind but that is often just as important to event organisers.  It is a good way for companies to dip their toe into the world of sports marketing and their are no shortage of mass participation events coming up in 2013.

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