What I’ve Learnt: 10 Years Working With The Royal Parks Half Marathon

5 months ago

Tom Inskip, Director of Sport and Fitness at The PHA Group shares some of the main learning curves of working with a client for a decade

We specialise in providing PR support for multiple mass participation events. This year we celebrated a decade of working together with The Royal Parks Half Marathon. In the last 10 years we have successfully positioned the race as London’s most iconic half marathon, as well as engaging with key stakeholders to ensure that the race continues to be celebrated for its charity and sustainability credentials.

It is a unique event that takes 16,000 runners each year through four of London’s eight Royal Parks, including Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park, and Kensington Gardens. Whilst there have been some small changes to the route over the years, the race continues to celebrate London’s most iconic green landscapes as well as taking runners past some of London’s most iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and the Houses of Parliament.

To generate exposure and brand visibility ahead of the event, and to ensure The Royal Parks Half Marathon is continually positioned as one of the most iconic events in London, we have worked tirelessly to deliver successful communications and media campaigns over the last 10 years. During that time, we’ve delivered over 2,000 pieces of coverage around the race and employed a wide range of tactics to achieve our client’s objectives.

This year alone we have achieved over 150+ pieces of coverage in outlets such as ITV London, The Independent, Evening Standard, Marie Claire, Women’s Running and Metro.

Tom and his team have been working with Royal Parks Half Marathon for a decade

Here are some of the key lessons I have learnt over the past decade which have helped to continue securing a strong return for the client year after year. 

Harnessing the power of charity partners

The Royal Parks Half Marathon has remained focused on its charitable aims which is a credit to much of its success with its many charity partnerships. Since the race began in 2008, it’s helped to raise over £60 million for over 1,200 UK charities. Working closely with the race’s charity partners, we have always been successful at placing runner case studies of individuals who are taking part in the event to raise money for their respective charities.

Back in 2021, The Royal Parks Half Marathon, presented by Royal Bank of Canada, which has been the presenting partner of the race for the last seven years, unveiled its “Inspire” campaign in search of inspiring charity runners. Each year we have successfully managed to profile each of the five Inspire runners chosen in the national media as well as securing broadcast coverage in their respective regions, helping to increase their fundraising efforts. We’ve placed case study stories for charities including GOSH, Cancer Research UK, Mind, and MacMillan to name a few.

Maximising sponsorship opportunities

The Royal Parks Half Marathon works with many different partners each year and we work with them to maximise coverage around the race. Whether that’s inviting journalists and influencers to take part in a run club event with Sweaty Betty, to placing content with one of their event partners Tenzing, to announcing corporate sponsorship deals with Royal Bank of Canada, our campaigns always maximise opportunities.

In the last 10 years we have successfully positioned the race as London’s most iconic half marathon, as well as engaging with key stakeholders to ensure that the race continues to be celebrated for its charity and sustainability credentials

Tom Inskip

Engaging with celebrity runners

Over the course of the last ten years, we’ve had a number of high-profile celebrities take part in the race that has been arranged through the great relationships we have with talent management agencies. Just some of the names that have taken part include TV personalities Ben Fogle and Katie Piper, Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Eve Muirhead, soap stars Adam Woodyatt and Natalie Cassidy, radio presenter and DJ Chris Evans, Jenni Falconer and TV presenters Dermot O Leary and Emily Maitlis.

Incentivising media and influencer runners

Every year we have secured attendance from at least 20+ journalists including London Evening Standard, Mail Online, Daily Express, Mirror Online, Metro, ITV London, The Telegraph, Men’s Fitness, Women’s Health and Women’s Fitness. This has involved finding ways of encouraging them to take part, whether that’s helping them go from 5K to half marathon, giving them access to case studies, or focusing in on the sustainability credentials of the race to ensure that the half marathon hits different audiences.

In terms of influencers, they have become hugely influential in the last few years, creating engaging content that speaks to a wider audience. Standout names that have taken part over the years include Twice the HealthAlice Liveing and Tom Trotterto name a few. 

Do you have agency news? Email [email protected]

Join 3,000+ agencies

Get the Agency Hackers Newsletter, and read candid stories from other agency leaders.