Anyone who knows about Atlanta Track Club knows that, as an organization, they feel strongly about their responsibility to connect Athletes to the magic that running can hold for a city and its community. Regardless of age, ability or fitness level, ATC is committed provide ways for all athletes to continue to grow and compete. With a mission like that, ATC not only represents the people of Atlanta, but Athletes all around the country as well.
As home to the second largest running club in the United States, the members of Atlanta Track Club also feel strongly that Atlanta is Running USA. And what better place to host the 2020 Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, than in a city like that?
A Presence That Never Left
Their commitment to unparalleled Athlete inclusion and experience, was the same foundation that drove the leaders of ATC to pitch – and win – the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Team Trials.
To their advantage, the history of Olympic presence in Atlanta was unmatched by the other 4 cities competing for the trials. Recreating and replicating that Olympic feeling came second nature to the team at ATC, as the spirit of the five rings has never really left Atlanta since the ’96 Summer Games. However, in addition to pitching the spirit of the city, the club also had to put together a strong logistical and operational strategy to win the bid.
Their goal? Pitch a course that highlights the history of Atlanta and one that is both Spectator and aid station friendly. ATC Director of Marketing, Jay Holder notes that the three most important pieces of olympic qualifying trials are the officiating, the hydration and of course, the timing. ATC and timing partner Leone Timing, a timing company that has been committed to using CT products for over 10 years, knew they had all the tools and the team to pitch the perfect event. Read on to find out how they’re preparing for the big day, and how Athlinks Services will be there every step of the way.
“Olympic Legacy, Olympic Future”
In preparation for the actual 2020 Team Trial course, it was decided that Olympic hopefuls would be given two opportunities to test the course before the official marathon trials. The first of these two came just last month on March 2nd, where 116 timed Athletes toed the start line and ran the last 8.2 miles (12K) of the planned 2020 course. It was the hope that the Athletes would have a safe and encouraging test event to familiarize themselves with the atmosphere and the roads of downtown Atlanta.
Community Spectators were encouraged and inspired to come watch the men and women who would potentially represent their country in the next Olympic games. Even more inspiring and true to the spirit of the ATC’s mission to encourage its community, is that the course was open to the general public as well. Two-thousand non-professional Athletes were invited to run and experience the Olympic legacy and be a part of the Olympic future.
Starting near Centennial Olympic Park, the crown jewel of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, participants made their way through Downtown, Midtown, Old Fourth Ward and Summerhill Neighborhoods. Runners passed the 1996 Olympic Rings, Georgia Capital, Jackson St. Bridge, Fox Theater, Margaret Mitchell House and Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Says Holder, ‘It’s our belief that ALL Athletes should be treated like champions, regardless of your athletic status.” The Olympic Hopeful Division featured Athletes with hopes of winning the gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games and the open division gave every runner in Atlanta and beyond the unique opportunity to chase their “gold” on the same streets that will take six Americans to Tokyo.
Gold Medal Services
The world “olympic” itself has a reputation for inciting greatness, professionalism, pride and perfection. It beholds the spirit of nations, communities and Athletes alike. In 2020, 500-600 of those elite Athletes will toe the start line for the real deal, and when Olympic Gold is the end goal, perfection is what we must aim for.
So, what does it take from a timing standpoint to produce an event at this level? Pat Leone of Leone Timing noted that an event of this magnitude, albeit just a test, required an extensive breadth of hardware equipment:
- 13 Pro2 Controllers
- 2 additional Pro Controllers
- 80 Gator mats for cord protection
- 10 Flashpoint Antenna Setups
And while that many pieces of equipment might seem excessive at a 2000 person event, it’s because Leone Timing and ATC left nothing to chance. Primary, backup and tertiary systems were set up at each location, Start, Finish, mile splits, etc., to ensure full redundancy of all systems and communication. Additionally, CT Live was used for Scoring the entire event, and the Athlinks platform hosted the timed Results for all professional runners. Overall, the team at ATC and Leone, are confident that the ChronoTrack systems will produce a seamless event. As the provider of those systems, we couldn’t be more proud.