Metasprint Duathlon Possible Industry Marker for Return of Physical Races

MetaSport celebrates double success with Aquathlon and Duathlon events, but will have to wait on Triathlon and 'Run As One' following suspension of events

PHOTO: SPORTPLUS.SG


Some 890 participants took part in the Duathlon Origin MetaSprint Series event on Saturday, 24 April 2021.


In a new format of racing which saw participants flagged off via a rolling start across four bubbles over the course of the day, even a heavy downpour in the morning did not dampen spirits.


It was MetaSport's second of three events that make up the Metasprint series, the first being the Aquathlon that took place on 27 March 2021 in Sentosa and saw over 1,000 sign-ups, and the last of the three in the series being the Triathlon, which has been postponed indefinitely following the new Phase 2 Heightened Alert measures.


Nathalie Marquet, CEO of Metasport, organisers of the Metasprint series. PHOTO: SPORTPLUS.SG


When asked on the difficulty of hosting such events during the Coronavirus pandemic, Nathalie Marquet, CEO of Metasport admitted it has been challenging, and that her team has had to find new innovative ways to keep participants engaged among other challenges.


She said, "The biggest challenge was of course adhering to the social distancing guidelines - which meant spreading participants over a longer period of time - in groups of 50, re-inventing the way the event was run, its format, structure, and protocol."


The Chief Executive was not exaggerating when she said her team has had to re-imagine race protocols and returned to the drawing board on numerous occasions, with the process from day one taking her up to seven months to complete.


PHOTO: SPORTPLUS.SG


"It gets slightly easier along the way, but every event has its own challenges. We just completed the Duathlon, which faced different challenges from the Aquathlon, which was a swim-run a few weeks ago," she reflected.


"We know the new processes are working, but at the same time it's a different format. For the (upcoming) Triathlon, it's again fine-tuning the plans from the learnings of this event, and it takes a lot of communication."


Indeed, feedback from participants has played a huge role in providing Nathalie's team with new insights. Afterall, it is an entirely new way of racing as well.

PHOTO: SPORTPLUS.SG


One of the participants, Stella, enjoyed her first physical race in over a year, and said the atmosphere at the event has motivated her to want to come back and do more.


"I haven't trained a lot over the Covid period, and I haven't been on a bike for 20km for a long time, but it was a good start," she said with a smile.


"It's nice to have people cheering at the side, you can't help but get in the spirit of things," she continued. "Even though I woke up at 4am, I can't help but smile."


PHOTO: SPORTPLUS.SG


The Metasprint Series is part of Sport Singapore's list of "Blended Events” initiative, a slice of the Government's $50 million Sports Resilience Package to help the sports industry cope with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.


"Run As One", a running event that is also organised by Metasport, was originally slated to happen at the end of May 2021, has been postponed to a later date, owing to the Phase 2 Heightened Alert measures that saw all sports events suspended till further notice.


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