The National Running Show 2023 at the NEC Birmingham, saw exhibitor and sponsorship revenue increase by 38 per cent this year (30 per cent increase on pre-covid figures) and the largest visitor audience it has ever attracted.
The fifth edition of the National Running Show, on January 21-22, saw the event firmly back on track with 26,158 runners gathering to find motivation, products and training advice.
Initial survey responses indicate that the 273 exhibiting companies will collectively benefit from over £14 million spent by visitors as a result of the event.
Nathalie Davies, Portfolio Director at Raccoon Media Group, said: “We couldn’t have hoped for a better event to kick-off the year. It felt like the running community was back to full strength and there was an incredible buzz in the air. Last year we had to check covid-passports and everyone wore masks, which obviously put some people off. This year, however, we were able to see the smiles and join in the hugs and high-fives. The aisles were full and exhibitors were rushing to get more stock overnight to satisfy demand. Given the current economic climate, we’re proud that this event has given a much-needed boost to some companies who have struggled to find new customers over the past year.”
The show featured some incredible speakers who came to motivate and inspire runners including the fastest British woman in history Dina Asher-Smith, Scottish Olympian Eilish McColgan and legendary hurdlers Colin Jackson CBE and Kriss Akabusi MBE.
Brands and features within the exhibition offer runners with expert advice and products to suit individual needs, with lots of taster sessions and workshops. These included Steve Cram and his team of coaches who offered training advice for those taking on races in 2023, including Eve Muirhead, former Olympic curling champion.
Creating a legacy
Raccoon’s mission to be zero-carbon by 2025 was also a focus at the show with visitors and exhibitors heavily encouraged to consider the environment with their attendance. As a result, the average carbon footprint per visitor has been reduced by over 30% year on year from 23kg to 16kg CO2e.
Working with Earth Runs (an organisation that encourages people to get active by rewarding them by planting trees), the National Running Show has planted 5,000 trees to support 1.5 million mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians with a legacy of over 75 years. Once fully grown the carbon offset is expected to offset 55 tonnes of CO2e per year.
A number of visitors to the show also opted to offset their carbon footprint with the Ecolibrium Trees+ initiative, offsetting a further 31.3 tonnes of CO2e.
£8,781 was also raised for official charity Birmingham Children’s Hospital through a combination of initiatives including Raccoon team sponsored runs and visitor donations. Each day the show was opened by a family that had been treated and supported by the hospital, who’s charity division also had a stand at the event to raise awareness and grow their community of fundraisers.
Charity Chief Executive, Mark Brider, publicly congratulated the team for putting on their ‘biggest and best show ever’.
Other features of the event included recycling initiatives with over 1,200 pairs of running shows recycled with the help of partners Jog On (assisted by GoodGym volunteers), huge boxes of second-hand running apparel collected by Collection4Clothes and an estimated £500 worth of items donated to a local Birmingham foodbank.
2024 dates announced
A large number of leading sports brands and partners have already signed up for the 2024 event to be held on January 20-21, at the NEC Birmingham, where headline speakers will include Dame Kelly Holmes, David Weir CBE, Jamie Baulch, Vassos Alexander, Adrienne London and Elsey Davis. More details are available at www.nationalrunningshow.com
In the meantime, organisers Raccoon Media Group will also be using some of the profits from this year’s event to offer a number of community grants across the country to running groups in order to encourage inactive people to start running and to develop positive attitudes towards running among young people.
For further details please contact [email protected]