Event Operations Management – 2019 Coventry Half Marathon (Part 1)
Do you remember a post from a few weeks ago regarding the 2019 Coventry Half Marathon (CHM), where I recycled one of my master coursework’s Event Risk Management? Well, that’s not the only coursework I did that year about the marathon! For the Event Operations Management module, I had an assignment that required students to evaluate a live event by providing an analysis of its impacts. However, to analyse an event’s impacts, one has to carry out an event evaluation first. So, in this first post, I’m going to do a critical evaluation of the event, and then I will have a second post describing and analysing the event’s impacts.
Event Operations is the office responsible for integrating and coordinating all other operations within an event and all its associated venues and infrastructures.
According to Ferdinand and Kitchin (2012:174), an event evaluation aims to critically measure, assess, observe and monitor “whether events have been able to achieve their stated intend in a systematic manner“. Essentially, it is a useful method of establishing if the event was a success or a failure, by having a clear understanding of its purpose.
Let’s start with an overview and critical evaluation of the 2019 CHM, which will include:
- Location and Venue Management;
- Logistics; and
- Stakeholders Management.
Location and Venue Management
The event was held on the 24th of March, with a 21.33 km route around the city (see Figure 1). The 2019 CHM included four different races:
- The Coventry Half Marathon;
- Wheelchair Half Marathon;
- Wheelchair 2.5k; and
- 5k Fun Run.
Figure 1: Route Map | Source: Enjoy Coventry (n.d.)
The event’s main purpose was to raise money for charity (Coventry City Council 2018), and had an average of 4,000 runners; however, according to the event’s full license, the limit was 5,000. Thus, meaning that this event can be categorised as a local or community type event. That is because according to Bowdin et al. (2012:16), these types of events typically “produce a range of benefits“, can help to “encourage participation in sports” and are staged in “public venues such as streets“.
The Race Village was located in and around the Hub Building, which included a baggage drop point. Participants could leave their bags in this drop point, where each label would be associated with the runner’s individual race number. The Village also included toilets, information points, food and drink, first aid team and massages. Along the route, the organisation provided five toilet stations and five water stations.
Since the event took place on the streets of Coventry, 33 roads had to be closed with proper signalisation. The majority of closures started at 7:30 am, with the exception of the roads near the starting point, which had to be closed at 5 am. Once the race began, each road reopened as the last runner passed by.
Each runner was attributed an individual race number (see Figure 2), that included on the reverse their emergency details. This sort of badge had to be worn on the front of their t-shirt with a safety pin securing it. The race numbers were delivered to each runner’s homes, prior to the event, and included a timing chip to be attached on the day.
Figure 2: Runner’s Individual Race Number | Source: Researcher
The first aid team contracted was St. John Ambulance. The event provided a medical centre located at the finish line with a secondary unit just past the half way mark and additional first aiders roaming within the Race Village (Let’s Do This n.d.). Runners were advised not to use headphones during the race “to ensure any medical alerts or marshals’ instructions can be heard” (Let’s Do This n.d.).
Once all the races started, the volunteers and staff had to take down the starting line structure to build the finish line. At the same time, as the roads started to reopen some of the signalisation was taken down. The finish line (see Figure 3) was near the race village, which had a number of stands where some charities and sporting organisations advertised their activities (see Figure 4).
Figure 3: Finish Line | Source: Researcher
Figure 4: Stands at the Finish line | Source: Researcher
According to Ferdinand and Kitchin (2012:33), stakeholders contemplate any individual, group and organisation “which are impacted by or can influence the outcome of an event“, either external or internal.
To evaluate stakeholders, I decided to Slack and Lewis (2017:365) stakeholder matrix. This tool classifies individuals between “their power to influence the project and their interest in doing so“, intending to achieve “organisational effectiveness and success” (Freeman 1984:52).
Table 1: Stakeholder Matrix | Source: Researcher
It is vital to comment on two stakeholders. The first one is the CUSU which reflects both a high level of power and interest in the event. And this is due to the fact that these stakeholders are the leading organisation behind the event. And the other being the different charities, which exhibit a high degree of interest because the purpose of the event is to raise money for charity. However, they have a low level of power because the charities were not involved in any of the event’s decision-making.
Conclusions (Part 1)
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Coventry City Council (2018) Coventry Half Marathon set for March return. [online] available from: <http://www.coventry.gov.uk/news/article/2578/coventry_half_marathon_set_for_march_return> [17 March 2019].
Coventry City Council (2019) Coventry Headline Statistics. Coventry: Coventry City Council.
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Enjoy Coventry (n.d.) Half Marathon. [online] available from: <https://www.enjoycoventry.com/festivalofrunning/halfmarathon/> [17 March 2019].
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Let’s Do This (n.d.) Coventry’s Half Marathon 2019. [online] available from: <https://www.letsdothis.com/e/coventrys-half-marathon-60421> [17 March 2019].
Slack, N., and Lewis, M. (2017) Operations Strategy. United Kingdom: Pearson.
Raj, R., & Musgrave, J. (2009) Event management and sustainability. Cambridge: CABI
Run Britain (n.d.) Coventry Half Marathon. [online] available from: <https://www.runbritain.com/RaceDetail.aspx?eventid=74bb06ce5e63&raceid=74b40acb5958&returnlink=https://www.runbritain.com/races#> [13 April 2019].