Athletes race in Prague (© RunCzech)
An elite team competition designed to make the marathon a more strategic and engaging spectacle will be held in Prague on 30 May.
Dubbed ‘The Battle of the Teams’, the event is the brainchild of RunCzech, organisers of the Prague Marathon and many other leading road races in the Czech Republic.
Four teams – each comprising eight runners; four men and four women – will line up on the Charles Bridge in the Czech capital and race on a 3km loop in the city centre. One runner on each team will be from the Czech Republic, while other team members will be made up other nationalities.
Each team will be supported by a different corporate partner, and runners would be evenly distributed among the teams based on their best times from the past 48 months. The race isn’t simply a case of ‘first-past-the-post’, either; final standings are decided when the last scoring runner (the sixth finisher for each team) crosses the line.
Each team member will earn points for their performance based on the World Athletics scoring system. A personal best will be rewarded with a 10% points bonus. The team with the highest total wins.
TV coverage of the event will adopt a new model of marathon broadcasting akin to the Tour de France with on-screen graphics updated in real time to show the progress of each team.
The event will also incorporate the Czech national championships marathon, while a virtual event will also be offered as a way for recreational runners around the world to get involved.
“I believe that the marathon is wrongly perceived as an individual sport,” said race director Carlo Capalbo. “The marathon is a team sport. The training is done in teams, the people have help during the race. I would consider as well the marathon a team sport.
“This is an attempt to give a touch of freshness and engagement to our sport.”