As marketing ideas go, it’s actually ingenious: running a limited-registration 5K alongside the World Athletic Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Even better: Getting it sponsored by a big brand in the running space. Put it all together and what do you have? The ASICS Uplift Oregon 5K, set to be held in July, during the men’s marathon.
First, the background: ASICS, in partnership with the local organizing committee (LOC) for the World Athletics Championships (WCH) Oregon22, announced the event in mid-April. The course will include a section used by the men’s marathon.
ASICS will also play host to a two-day fan festival just steps from the finish featuring prime viewing, food vendors, athlete appearances and more. The men's and women's marathons will start and finish outside of Autzen Stadium on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
"As a proud partner of World Athletics, we are excited to host the ASICS Uplift Oregon 5K during the World Athletics Championships Oregon22," said Richard Sullivan, President and CEO of ASICS North America. "We are thrilled to offer runners this one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the World Athletics Championships and create an environment for fans to join in the festivities with our fan festival just steps from the finish line."
"This bespoke event is all about innovation and fan engagement, two of the main driving tenets of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22," said James Tolputt, COO of Oregon22, LLC. "The incredible collaboration between the LOC and ASICS will enable us to bring to life a truly unique experience – one that will take place not just in the streets and parks of Eugene, but as part of the very footprint and fabric of these World Championships."
But while it’s listed as a mass-participation 5K, be aware that the race is not for everyone. It’s open only to OneASICS™ members (in other words, customers of ASICS, although membership is free). It’s also only for those who are at least 16 years old and able to run a 5K in 35 minutes or less. (More FAQs and information are available here).
Once runners complete the race, they will be ushered into the ASICS Uplift Oregon 5K Fan Festival, located adjacent to the finish line. The fan festival is set to feature a big screen viewing experience, interactive recovery stations, post-race food and beverage options, social and shareable moments and much more. The fan festival will be open to the public during both the men's and women's marathons and fans are encouraged to take advantage of this one-of-a-kind experience for witnessing those Championships races.
The World Athletics Championships Oregon22 will take place July 15–24; this iteration will mark the first time the event takes place on U.S. soil. Oregon22, LLC is the local organizing committee managing the 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships. The World Athletics Championships Oregon22 will be held at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon and will be delivered in partnership with USA Track & Field.
The event in July marks the first time the competition will take place in the United States, with 2,000 athletes from more than 200 nations expected to compete. Oregon22, LLC has the goal of showcasing the State of Oregon and the sport of track and field globally – and it looks like it is on track (heh) to do so.
Approximately 200,000 visitors are expected, according to reporters at Oregon Live, with a global audience of over 1 billion. And since the visitors will likely stay a few nights, the area is set for an economic impact of over $50 million, says Eugene, Cascades and Coast.
In fact, since the Lane County area has about 5,900 hotel rooms total, local officials believe it’s likely that some World Championship attendees will be staying in Corvallis, Salem and possibly Portland.
While it’s not uncommon for marathons to create running festivals with multiple events – family fun runs, 5Ks, 10Ks and other events – what sets this 5K apart is the fact that it is held during an international competition, and that it harnesses the marathon course. (It also has a time requirement, which may cause slower runners to rethink their participation, particularly if they are looking at it as a bucket-list check-off).