Stakeholders' Perception of Critical Risks and Challenges Hosting Marathon Events: An Exploratory Study

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Management and International Business


The purpose of this study was to explore the major concerns and challenges in preparedness and implementation of risk management strategies at marathon running events in the United States. Marathons are considered open access sporting events and are susceptible to various risks, both natural and man-made. Identifying critical concerns and challenges in managing risk may aid race organizers in future planning and implementation of risk management strategies. The participants of this study (n = 40) were seasoned practitioners with over half possessing 20 plus years of experience. Results indicated that 93% of the participants experienced an increase in risk management planning actions since the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing incident, although over a third indicated they are not satisfied with their current level of risk management preparedness. In addition, more than 50% of respondents reported concern with the following risks: inclement weather; bomb threat; crowd control; medical issues; active shooter; logistical failure; and emergency response time. Furthermore, the major challenges cited by these participants concerning developing and implementing risk management strategies at race events included: interagency communication, staff/volunteer recruitment and training, knowledge of jurisdictional responsibilities, finances, course logistics/equipment, and balancing the public safety with a race friendly environment. Implications discussed in this paper will aid other stakeholders in planning and implementing risk management strategies within similar events.

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Journal of Contemporary Athletics





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