7. Sports Event
Event Description and Key Objectives
The 20th Poli Marathon is the largest recreational cycling event in Slovenia that has seen an increase in the number of participants year after year. A pandemic in 2020 brought a ban on mass events. To keep the Poli Marathon going, despite restrictions, we transformed the mass event into an 'individual-mass' event - participants individually run a course of a prescribed length anywhere, and share their recorded 'tracks' in the on-line world. 2022 brought back "normal" life. We were happy to start organising events, but the past two years have also brought benefits that we did not want to lose. Because of the individual cycling on a route of a prescribed length anywhere, the Poli Marathon has taken place in 30 countries. In 2022, we created a new, hybrid marathon model, running both live in Ptuj and »individually anywhere« at the same time. Key objective of the event was to get the same number of cyclists at the live event as in 2019, the last time the event was held live in Ptuj.
An event that has been built over 20 years and had to adapt to the pandemic must live on after the pandemic. The main challenge was to get the best from classic live event and individual participation from the pandemic years. We didn't want to lose this connecting power of people around the world.
Basic information about the event
In 2022 we decided to implement a hybrid model of the event - the marathon was held as a traditional mass event in Ptuj and as an individual cycling event with results reported on the Strava app. We've combined the best of both types of events and made everyone happy - those who longed for a live marathon and those from abroad who couldn't make it to a live event.
The Poli Marathon was the first individual-mass (cycling) event conceived during the epidemic, something we were proud of even then, and the trend of participation in the following years shows that we did the right thing. In 2022, we took this innovative approach even further with a hybrid event model that brought together cycling enthusiasts from 16 countries and fans both in person and through online entries. This innovative hybrid model has transformed the Poli Marathon from a local to a global event. Poli has proven once again that it is a brand that has the power to bring people together, whatever the circumstances.
The Poli Marathon is a huge organisational and financial undertaking, mainly funded by the Perutnina Ptuj Cycling Club and Perutnina Ptuj d.o.o. Without the support and cooperation of partners from the local community, it would certainly not have been possible in such a high-profile form. A large number of volunteers and other various services are involved, such as rescue workers, police, firefighters, civil protection, various offices with permits, animators, a catering team that on the day of the event prepares more than a ton and a half of chicken delicacies, in addition to hundreds of kilograms of vegetables, and other accompanying delicacies. The Poli Marathon is the second largest event in the municipality, but the largest in terms of complexity of organisation, as it runs through 6 municipalities. The event is also a great opportunity to meet and socialise with employees, both at the level of the Perutnina Ptuj Group, business partners, the local community and loyal customers.
In 2019, the last time the marathon was held in the classic format, the number of participants at the Ptuj event was 2,996, and in 2022, the number of participants at the Ptuj event (live event) was 3,738. This represents a growth of 24.7%, which is significantly higher than the desired target. We recorded 24,230 users (+26% yoy) and 30,702 visits (+35% yoy) on poli.si. On our social media channels, we reached 763,640 users with 55 posts, which generated 3,787,063 impressions on users' walls. With all posts hashtagged #polimarathon, we reached 1,100,000 users.
Poli brings to life the values it embodies: love of recreational sport, optimism and joy of life. We are particularly pleased with the commitment of our employees in the organisation (different departments are involved) and promotion of the Poli Marathon, which we use in our communication on social networks (globally). More than 500 volunteers from the local community are also involved in the organisation. The high-profile and popular Poli Marathon is also one of the most effective ways to build the strength of the Poli brand, especially through engagement with its loyal followers, and is an excellent channel for the launch of product innovations. The popular cycling event is advertised on outdoor poster sites across Slovenia, radio advertising and digital and social media advertising. The event has a strong communication support dictated by a remarkable 150.000 Facebook followers. The outdoor advertising creative for the 2022 Poli Marathon was awarded Outstanding Graphic Solution.
We have tried to organise the event in a way that has as little negative impact on the environment and society as possible. Culinary and water: the culinary offer of the event was based on locally produced food and drinks. Meatless dishes were also on offer. Water taps were set up along the route. Waste: No single-use plastics were used at the event. Solid waste is collected in separate containers. There are enough containers and they are clearly marked. Sustainable transport: We have encouraged the use of bicycles to get to the event, although we have also provided car parking spaces. Communication: Communication between organisers, participants and other stakeholders is as much as possible electronic.