Management of high calibre athletes
The state of mind within trail-running is not necessarily found in other sporting disciplines, and those who participate make this sport unique and in the last few years more and more popular not only with the general public, but also with different players in the sporting world.
The Assises Internationales du Trail, which took place in Courmayeur (Italy) on September 3rd 2012, allowed the presentation of several points concerning high calibre athletes about which the participants were able to comment.
The "Management of high calibre athletes" study group was a logical progression of this first presentation, with the aim of reaching an agreement between all the players in the field of trail-running (runners, organisers, brands, press…) on an international scale.
This text presents the results of the work carried out by this study group.
- To value exemplary, simple and humble runners who liven up the races, making all followers dream and alongside whom each may run.
- To conserve the proximity and fraternity which is able to exist between all the different runners whether they be elite, or amateurs. This state of mind is unique in the sporting world and must be maintained.
- To distribute fairly the income generated by the trail-running between the organisers, the runners and the brands.
The income generated by the runners’ participation, sponsors and subsidies must primarily allow organisers to, annually, improve their event. Security, rescue, race routes, way-marking and refreshment posts are fundamental.
The supplementary income must be the means for the organisers to develop other services and particularly communication: race coverage, welcoming journalists, web TV, image production professional photographers. Other services can be developed for example the use of local produce for the refreshment posts and meals.
In parallel to this communication effort, it is possible for the organiser to be equipped with an additional budget assigned to the welcoming and rewarding of the best runners in its race. It should be noted that numerous organisers do not at present arrange necessary resources to reward the best runners.
The rules which were discussed
- Commitment bonuses
From an ethical point of view the study group was opposed to this type of premium.
- Podium premiums and the payment of travel and lodging expenses
We would like the budget to be limited to 10% of the registration total, with a maximum of 15,000 Euros (19,000 US Dollars).
But the character of such is difficult to control: is it realistic to set such a rule when each organiser may decide to invite athletes or distribute podium premiums with the aim of having the best possible elite participation?
The organisers can distribute a premium to the best classified runners only if a gift is offered to every finisher.
The organisers must apply strict parity between men and women for all that concerns the amount of the individual podium premiums.
But it will be possible for them to award a different number of men and women, by taking in to account the percentage of participation by gender.
However, even in this case, they will only reward athletes who have realised a time superior to a maximum of 10% of that of the first in their gender (male or female). It is, indeed, fair to have a link between premiums and high calibre performance.
- Runners assistance
In the assistance zones, the conditions must be the same for all runners (no special conditions should be accorded to elite runners).
In certain races, "pacers" are authorised (this clearly establishes an advantage to those benefiting from it). It is a practice strongly anchored in the culture of the 100 mile mountain races in the United States, with as its objective the guarantee of better safety.
For lack of having the specific knowledge of the isolation and risks incurred in each race, it seems logical that the choice of whether to authorise, or not, “pacers” must be left to the local organisers of each race.