AO’s Race Director’s Summit

This past weekend, 60 Ontario running Race Directors gathered at Acme Works in Toronto for Athletics Ontario’s first Annual Race Director Summit.¬†Sheryl Preston, Athletic’s Ontario’s Road Running Coordinator spearheaded and organized what turned into a hugely successful event.

The day was what felt like a large reunion to some, and a new beginning to others. We had an overwhelmingly positive response from the nearly 60 race directors in attendance. The day was saturated with highly educated speakers, with an emphasis on the sharing of knowledge to help to cultivate not only safe and accurate races, but races that become a lifelong memory to Ontario’s running population.

Emcee’d by Steve Fleck, one of Canada’s top race announcers, the day began with Chris Troyanos, who is the medical director of the Boston Marathon and the Executive Director of the International Institute of Race Medicine (IIRM), in Boston Massachusetts. Chris, partnering with his coworker Dr. Lowell Greib, who also works with IIRM and out of the Sport Lab in Huntsville, spoke on highly important details of Risk Management from the medical perspective in running races. This was followed up by a further conversation on how by Jason Robinson of Toronto, an Associate at the sports Law and Strategy Group on Toronto who also spoke about event Risk Management from his angle. The focus shifted to effective marketing and social media advertising, and creating partnerships with two enlightening and informative speeches both by Kris Mychasiw, Managing Partner of the Surin Group in Montreal, and followed up by Brandan Laan, VP of Sales at Race Roster.

The afternoon was filled with race-specific conversation, beginning with Peter Donato of Good Times Running and Road Race Results, followed up with Jeff Moyle from the Army Run. They both highlighted the importance of standing out of the crowd, and thinking outside of the box to create a unique experience for participants at an event or challenge. We were honoured to also have Alan Brookes and Charlotte Brookes, who are Race Directors with the Canada Run Series (CRS) speak about the absolute essentials that Race Directors must practice. This was followed up with Erin Roza, of CRA, who led an informative discussion about the Volunteer experience and volunteer retention methods. We finished the day off with John Lofranco of Athletics Canada, who gave feedback from past survey’s and introduced the importance of Provincial Sport Organizations such as Athletics Ontario in the sport of running. Lastly, from Athletics Ontario, Sheryl Preston and Ross Ste-Croix, Executive Director, discussed the upcoming increased involvement which Athletics Ontario plans to have in helping our road running community.

The Athletics Ontario Race Director Summit was what felt like the official start of a new and revived era for Athletics Ontario’s involvement in Road Running. As we always have, we plan to continue to offer sanctioning, insurance and membership to our running community to ensure the safety and quality assurance of our running community. We are in the process of making these programs more accessible and advantageous to clubs, races, and participants.

We would like to give special thanks to all of our event partners; Race Roster, who was the title sponsor of the the event. Additionally, The Printing House did fantastic work with a banner and name-tags, and our additional partners: Good Times Running, Road Race Results and Henley Financial and Wealth Management.