220: You already organise some Tour de France-themed single day bike races, but what impact will the buyout have on your multisport events? Can we expect to see Human Race expand into long-distance triathlon and duathlon events?
Nick Rusling: Good question. Although ASO don’t organise triathlons currently, with Human Race in the ASO family they’ve just acquired 26 years of triathlon experience. We still have people working on those events who started in 1990. ASO love triathlon and our calendar of events was a key part of why they wanted to buy Human Race. We added a middle-distance race at the Woburn Abbey Triathlon this year also (the WoBurner). We’ve begun long-term planning conversations already about what the future can hold for us together and it’s a case of watch this space in terms of triathlon and duathlon.
The popularity of duathlon in France eclipses the UK’s love for the sport. Does this represent a major opportunity for the growth of run/bike/run events in the UK?
I’m not so sure. I was part of launching the London Duathlon in 2007 and had high hopes for the sport as a great way to bridge the gap – especially as so many people don’t fancy the swim. Quite simply, duathlon isn’t as sexy or as well known as triathlon. It still needs defining to the audience, which is a tough place to start in promoting an event. This is a shame as our Ballbuster event has stood the test of time after 26 years and it’s a fantastic sport.
AOS’ flagship events have major television coverage and productions. Can we expect to see increased TV exposure of your multisport events?
It’s definitely an area to explore. We started working with Bike Channel across all our sportives this year. They followed the events, getting under the skin of the participants and personalities, despite the fact it isn’t a race. They want to explore something similar with triathlon also. This is also an area of expertise where we aren’t specialists, so we very much hope to be able to learn. If we can bring some of that magic to multisport then we’d love to.
Where does your remit with ASO extend to in terms of locations? Will you have a pure UK focus or can we expect a HR extension into European and worldwide events?
We’ll be focused as a team on the UK, however, especially with our triathlon history and expertise, we’ll be hoping to get stuck into other global opportunities. The main focus, with such an exciting and competitive landscape in the UK, is to get our events right and brimming with new ideas and improved experiences in the UK. For example, we launched a new event with Jessica Ennis-Hill that’s based around running with music called VitalityMove.
We’d love to see a unique multi-day, multi-stage triathlon event along the lines of the Tour of Britain. Is that something that may be explored?
Great idea – we should team up with 220 perhaps. Why not? It’s this type of creativity that participants are demanding and all events need. We also know people want tougher challenges all the time, plus regions want their landscape to be showcased.