Dmitry Tarasov: Moscow Marathon is moving in the right direction
Not so long ago, a significant event took place for the entire running community in Russia. Registration for the Moscow Marathon first opened almost a year before the upcoming start - October 31. This brought the race along the main streets of the capital closer to the level of the world's leading marathons: for example, New York or Berlin. They begin registration of participants for a new start almost immediately after the end of the current event.
We talked with the director of the Moscow Marathon Dmitry Tarasov and learned how the Russian start managed to make such a breakthrough, what impressions it left after itself the New York Marathon and what is it - the standard of organizing major sporting events.
At a low start: the Moscow Marathon opens registration for race 2020
This puts the Russian running event on the same level with the world's leading starts.
- Dmitry, this year registration for the Moscow Marathon opened for the first time early. Congratulations, this is reaching the next level.
- This is a really important event for us. This practice is typical for all the largest marathons in the world. This year we took a pause of one and a half months to open registration. Although the New York or Berlin marathon does it one and a half, two weeks after the end of the previous one.
We are moving forward and moving in the right direction. It is very pleasant that the city actively helps us, promptly coordinates the dates of events. This means that everything we do benefits not only the runners, but also the capital - in terms of its sports image.
Photo: Press Service of the Moscow Marathon
- Can we say that the opening of registration brought the Moscow Marathon closer to the leading international starts?
- Yes, but it should be noted that we are trying to get on the same level with them, not only bringing the registration date closer, but also improving the quality of the organization and increasing the number of participants. So far we are far from, for example, the Berlin, Chicago and New York marathons. About 75 thousand people are registered in them, and about 55 thousand go to the start. I think that when we have about 53 thousand participants in the marathon distance, then it will be possible to say that we have become closer to leading international events. Now we are at the beginning of our journey and see a positive trend in the annual increase in participants.
- This month you managed to attend the marathon in New York. What are your impressions of the event?
- This is our fourth time at the New York Marathon. Twice I ran it myself, twice I was as a spectator. I can say that this race deserves the title of the best marathon in the world, both in terms of the quality of the organization, the number of athletes involved, and the way the city reacts. Thousands of people take to the streets of New York to supportrunners. It's an incredible atmosphere.
- This is the 49th New York Marathon. Can we say that his entire organization is already one hundred percent debugged?
- It really is one hundred percent debugged. Although, as the organizers themselves say, there is always something to strive for. But, in my opinion, the main points of the start have been brought to perfection.
Photo: Press Service of the Moscow Marathon
- As you said, almost 53 thousand people took part in the New York Marathon. In Moscow this year - almost half as much - 30 thousand. Do you think more participants have a positive effect on the marathon, or vice versa?
- It is important to take into account the fact that the Moscow marathon almost 30 thousand athletes ran at two distances: 42.2 km and 10 km. And in New York, about 53 thousand people took part in the marathon distance alone. I believe that a large number of participants will certainly reflect on the race and affect the city. He begins to participate in organizational processes. The event becomes more noticeable when 30, 40, or 50 thousand people are running through the streets.
- This year, did you manage to take part in the race yourself or did you observe what is happening exclusively from an organizational point of view?
- This time I was a spectator, but I was located on the podium on the West Side: I watched the leaders finish. I managed to see all the main organizational points. Most importantly, during the event, we pay attention not only to the organization process, but also to study the structure. The day before the start, we walked around the start-finish town, bypassed the start area, looked at how the team is structured and how communication takes place within it, at interaction with the city. We checked how the main objects are located at the finish and start, whether everything is in order for the medical teams and security services.
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- You often you yourself appear at the distances. Is it useful for the organizer to look at the marathon from the side of the runner?
- If I hadn't been running, I would not have paid attention to the moments that are visible only to the athlete. The experience of personal participation is very rewarding. For example, I saw the New York Marathon both from the side of the participant and from the side of the spectator - these are completely different impressions. It was interesting to observe how the feeding points are located: why should they be located every 2.5 km, and not every 5 km, as is customary in Russia. It is important to understand how the health points or toilets should be located and what needs to be considered in terms of their equipment. All these observations add to our own store of knowledge.
Photo: Press Serviceba of the Moscow Marathon
- You have repeatedly noted that the Moscow Marathon has one of the most picturesque tracks. Can New York be as good as it?
- The Moscow Marathon track is indeed one of the most picturesque. It lies in the central part of the city. On the run, the participants see world famous sights, architectural monuments, the most beautiful places and streets of Moscow. I can confidently say that our track is much better than the New York one.
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- Often do you manage to learn from your foreign colleagues? Is it mostly positive or negative?
- In any case, we adopt some experience from our colleagues, and, even if it is small, it is always positive. There is no such thing as a negative experience, because everything the majors do is the highest level of organization. One of those developments that we could observe and which we liked is an automated program. It allows you to show online the congestion of the city, the running points of the participants, the streets blocked for traffic, medical centers and the number of people who currently need the help of doctors. This informatization of the event is extremely important. It helps all services and organizers stay in the same information field.
- In New York, the marathon is not a cheap event: the registration fee is $ 255-358. However, the demand is still great. What do you think is the reason for this?
- The pricing policy of the New York Marathon is connected, first of all, with the great demand for the event itself. New York is a large cosmopolitan city, where millions of people from all over the world strive to go. I am sure that Moscow has every chance of becoming a metropolis, which will be visited by the same number of runners from all over the world.
- By the way, medical certificates are not required to participate there. Why do you think the organizers take such risks? Anything can happen. For example, at the Moscow Marathon there have already been unpleasant incidents related to certificates.
- It's not about the risks, but about the fact that we have different legislation. If in America no certificates are required to participate in sports events, and people mainly use insurance, then in Russia there is a different policy. We have orders and laws that govern this issue. And we must comply with them.
Photo: Press Service of the Moscow Marathon
- In America after the marathon there are parties. Are such grand after parties planned in Russia?
- For two years in a row we held a similar party at the Hard Rock cafe and we plan to repeat it next year. In 2019, several hundred people took part in it. We hopethat in the future this idea will only develop.
- Have you communicated with the organizing team in New York? Maybe you invited them to visit the next Moscow marathon?
- Yes, of course, we invited the directors of the Chicago, New York, Berlin marathons to Moscow. We are also happy to welcome people in charge of working with volunteers. We hope that next year they will come to us.
- Indeed, volunteers help in organizing the marathon in Moscow, and is the volunteer movement developed in America?
- The volunteer movement in Russia is one of the youngest in the world. For example, 10-15 thousand volunteers take part in the organization of the Chicago and New York marathons. This is incomparable with the number of volunteers who work with us at the Moscow start - about 2.5 thousand people.
Photo: Press service of the Moscow Marathon
- Tell us, which city is a benchmark for you in terms of organizing races?
- Chicago, New York and Berlin. They are the best for me in terms of communications, staff work and experience.
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- What other international marathons are you planning to watch this year?
- This year we are planning to attend the marathon in Valencia. There I am going to run 10 km in order to see from the side of the participant how the event is organized.
- You have already started preparations for the Moscow Marathon 2020. Now you can guess how many participants will be next time?
- Now it is impossible to answer unequivocally. We are improving services: first of all, changing rooms and storage rooms. We also plan to improve communication within the event. In 2020, we want to see the same level of participation as this one. But, of course, we will make every effort to ensure that the number of runners only grows every year.
- What needs to be done to make the Moscow Marathon one step with the majors?
- He needs to go through certain stages of development: first get a bronze label, then silver, gold and platinum. But for this to happen, the Athletics Federation must be lifted from the suspension. Then we will be able to invite foreign runners and professional athletes to participate in the Moscow Marathon. Once that happens, we will begin to implement the requirements for getting a label. And only after that, if everything goes well,we will enter the majors.