01-12-2020 - Blog

Hervé Favre – reflections on 2020

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2020 brought an unexpected set of challenges unlike anything we have had to face. For a while, the world seemed to go quiet, forced into silence by Covid-19.

Like many event organisers, in this period we have learnt a lot about how to adapt, find solutions and we’ve acquired new skills along the way, and while I reflect on the year, now is the time to focus on the positives and look to the future.

It has led to a change in the way we work. More than ever, I can see how resilient and adaptable our team is, and although it is by no means easy, they astounded me with their drive. Never ones to stand still, our team pivoted their approach and innovated to deliver extraordinary experiences for our athletes and participants. This included a new ‘connected’ Geneva 20km by Genève Aéroport that stood apart from other events thanks to stand-out communications tools, including the integration of an audio guide for the first time in Europe. You can read more about it here.

We’re also very proud to have worked with the World Health Organisation to help deliver the Walk the Talk: The Health for all Challenge. Running like an online global relay, the virtual concept that our team created offered people the opportunity to participate in a variety of virtual, timed events for all ages and abilities with nearly 7 million individuals joining in.

We used this period to move forward on developing our sustainability framework. As part of this we became a signatory to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. The aim of this work is to put in place the foundations on which to build and integrate a sustainability strategy that supports and enhances business operations as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and enter into what will hopefully be a more positive year for sport and humanity.

We’ve seen how the global travel restrictions have led to reductions in air pollution and our oceans have benefited from a reduction in pollution. The environment is an integral component of our health, and while these positive environmental changes may be temporary, we hope they can inspire future behavioural changes with positive long-term effects.

While the majority of our events were cancelled, we were fortunate to still be able to successfully organise two events; La Solitaire du Figaro and Run Mate, with the necessary health regulations in place to ensure a safe delivery for our participants and fans. We learnt a lot about delivering COVID-safe events and we’ve seen how sports that take place in the great outdoors are able to return more quickly. You can read about the measures in place and the different considerations at Run Mate here and La Solitaire du Figaro here.

We may not have delivered our usual 30+ events but our victories this year and the adversities we have overcome is something we will remain grateful for and learn from.

I have no doubt of the pivotal role sport has to play in the future and our healthy recovery. While virtual and digital experiences provide a welcome alternative, the real life feeling of taking to a start line or competing with likeminded people is one that people yearn for. The desire to share these experiences with others is stronger than ever, and while we will continue to work hard to return to sport and rethink how we deliver, I’d like to take the chance to thank every partner, fan, participant and volunteer for their unwavering support. We’re looking forward to sharing 2021 with you.

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