Over 100.000 runners worldwide

What do you do when the whole world is forced to sit at home? When lockdowns ensure that no one can get out the door anymore? Do you sit still or do you get moving? NN Running Team chose the latter. It organised a marathon. And not just any marathon, but one that people over the entire world could run from their own country.

The event was named MA RA TH ON. An initiative where people could run the marathon distance together in teams of four. Each participant runs a quarter of the distance. The combined times form the team's finishing time on the scoreboard.

NN Running Team MA RA TH ON
Visual voor campagne MA RA TH ON van Running Team

The sheer volume of entries showed how the world yearned for movement. For a sense of belonging. And for a challenge to divert attention from the world's misery. A total of 106,785 participants from 177 countries appeared at the virtual starting line. This immediately made MA RA TH ON one of the biggest virtual sporting events ever.

Performing with pros
Among the participants were not only running enthusiasts. Well-known athletes could not pass up this challenge either. World record holder Eliud Kipchoge, Olympian Kenenisa Bekele and multiple marathon winner Ashete Bekere joined random teams to bring the total running time down considerably.

The results were awe-inspiring. Together, the participants ran a distance of a whopping 843,119 kilometres. That is over 21 times around the world. An achievement that once again underlined how hugely popular running is worldwide. The second edition in 2021 - when the new lockdowns were in full effect - also attracted more than 70,000 enthusiasts from all over the world.

A marketing success story
Of course, the name MA RA TH ON did not come out of nowhere. The division into four stages formed the basis for the name MA RA TH ON. The spaces between the letters also refer to social distancing; a bitter necessity during the pandemic and crucial for the success of this special event.

Capital Sports was called in for the marketing of the event. Via social media, we managed to gather over 30 million impressions, resulting in 50,000 new e-mail opt-ins and 25,000 new Strava Club Members. The cherry on top? In 2021, MA RA TH ON won silver at the Digital Communication Awards in the 'Multichannel Communications' category.

The end of corona also meant the end of MA RA TH ON. Fortunately, the reason was positive: live sporting events made their return, allowing athletes and fans to get back to the real thing. After all, nothing beats an official marathon - with no blanks, no social distance and with cheering crowds.

About NN Running Team

Not so long ago, running was an individual sport. Until NN Running Team changed that in 2017. Former athlete Jos Hermens decided that long-distance and marathon runners are stronger as a team, and founded the world's first professional running team. In doing so, he started a revolution.

Soon, top athletes like Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele and Abdi Nageeye joined the team. With such names, of course, success was just a matter of time. In recent years, NN Running Team was able to win many marathons, Olympic 5,000, and 10,000 metres and set multiple world records. The top performances follow each other in rapid succession.

Capital Sports was involved in this successful project from the start. Together with Global Sports Communication, we ensure that not only runners are ahead in their races, but that the marketing also outshines the competition. Together, we bind and captivate fans around the world.

The goal of NN Running Team is to further professionalise the running sport. This increases its attractiveness to fans and sponsors. This professionalisation is also reflected in the communication. Through campaigns, websites, apps and activations, we are increasing the fan base to boost NN Running Team, the fans and the athletes.

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