Running USA Event Members Appreciate Summer NCS4 Training Sessions


National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security conducts two-day training courses in Boulder, Colo., Minneapolis and Michigan this summer


(Aug. 13, 2018) - No athletic event ever wants to be faced with the necessity of evacuating a stadium or marathon course, abruptly changing plans mid-competition to address a threat or catastrophe or responding to a weather situation that brings best-laid plans face to face with Mother Nature’s wrath. But in 2018, our global reality is that we all must be prepared to change our plans and deal with the unexpected at any time.

For event directors, that means preparedness, planning and training is an absolute necessity. This summer, several Running USA event members had the opportunity to host training sessions with certified trainers from the Mississippi-based National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security in their home cities.

The BolderBOULDER team of Colorado, Medtronic Twin Cites Marathon of Minneapolis, and Detroit Free Press Marathon were the Running USA members selected by NCS4 to host the training sessions this summer.

In each location, two trainers presented a comprehensive course on Sport Risk Management and Sport Evacuation Training. Attendees took a challenging pre-test to determine where they might have gaps in their knowledge and the second day culminated with a final exam.

The two-day trainings, which brought together sports officials from colleges, professional teams and major running events with government officials like state and local police, fire and emergency responders, public works, Homeland Security officers, the FBI and others, were opportunities for the events to learn more about what they must be prepared for.

“The uniqueness of our area and our event made it especially beneficial to have this training,” said Barbara Bennage, Executive Race Director of the Detroit Free Press Marathon. “We’re on an international border and we work with a variety of public officials from different agencies to produce our marathon weekend each October. This was an excellent opportunity to share ideas and also learn from the other sports organizations, like the Tigers and the Lions, in the Detroit metro region.”

“Having gone through this training, we now know that there are even more factors to consider than ever before. Diving into a topic like perimeter security for a 26-mile long marathon course spread out across the city was eye-opening,” Bennage said.

Also of great benefit was the chance to spend quality face time with public officials responsible for maintaining public safety in the event of any unexpected threat or emergency.

In Minneapolis, Twin Cities in Motion Executive Director Virginia Brophy Achman said that the ultimate benefit of the training was bringing so many agencies together.

“Bringing everyone together in the room, the tremendous benefit of that, is intangible. A lot of these entities might only email each other or only work together when mandated to. To be able to plan together and talk about possible scenarios was tremendously beneficial. That’s then creating conversations that will continue after the training,” Achman said.

“Marathon incident response is probably the hardest, because of the 26 mile course. But other large scale events in Minneapolis-St. Paul are going to reap the benefit of this training collaboration as well,” Achman said.