3 MINS READ
It’s February 2023, two months out from the TCS London Marathon, and its Event Director, Hugh Brasher, just had a meeting about the 2029 event.
Meanwhile, planning for the 2030 Mini London Marathon — the new event for children and young people — is also underway.
That probably gives you some idea of the amount of organisation that goes into putting on an event of the scale of the TCS London Marathon.
Even as runners triumphantly crossed the finish line at this year’s event on Sunday April 23, Brasher and his team will be working out what more could be done to improve the experience in coming years.
Alongside him will be Mark Bogaerts, Director Brand & Sponsorship Europe/UK, who is responsible for overseeing TCS’ relationship with the London Marathon Events team.
They both share a common goal: To make the event even better than it has ever been before.
Built on the success of partnerships
On a day-to-day basis, the core London Marathon Events team of 120 work with many different partners, many of them unsung heroes, to plan and deliver the TCS London Marathon.
Who is in charge of erecting the marquees?
What happens if there’s a blocked drain on the planned route?
Everything from catering to media relations with charities is hugely important to the overall success of the big day. And it all matters when it comes to the overall experience of the runners themselves.
Strategic long-term planning is essential, and so is adjusting quickly to last-minute changes such as road works that can pop up and mean the course must be tweaked.
Many organisations are involved, from the BBC, which has broadcast the event since it began in 1981, to the Royal Parks and Transport for London.
For nearly a decade, TCS has been working with the London Marathon Events team on developing the event’s technology. Now, as the title partner, it is keen to make sure that technology continues to be truly inspirational and people centric.
At that 26-mile point, you will have people shouting and cheering your name and you will feel as though you are Andy Murray on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, or Harry Kane scoring a goal at Wembley.
Technology – the invisible glue
Technology allows people to tell their stories and share their enthusiasm for the event.
Digital technology creates excitement and enhances the experience of both runners and their supporters. It’s also the invisible glue that holds the whole experience together, allowing people to share their stories.
The Official TCS London Marathon app and the tech-enabled gantry at the finish line are central to bringing fans and runners together.
“People don’t realise the technology that’s going on all around them,” says Brasher. “They want the storytelling, the connection, and that is delivered seamlessly with technology. Technology is the glue that you hopefully don’t even notice.”
“Digital technology is pretty much the heart of any society nowadays, and the same goes for sports,” explains Bogaerts.
“The technology revolution in marathon running started with sports watches – that democratisation of data that allowed people to access their training data. Now it has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have, and our app is where we bring it all together for fans and participants in London or anywhere else in the world.”
The app came into its own during the pandemic, when it enabled connections between tens and thousands of participants, all running in their own locations. Nearly 40,000 people took part in the world’s first virtual marathon — something that simply would not have been possible without the right technology.
Over 4,000 race-day volunteers ensured that the 2023 TCS London Marathon was a grand success, as always.