World Marathon Challenge
The World Marathon Challenge called us to arrange for an aircraft to take a group of marathon runners to seven marathons in seven days across seven continents. The tour had to be completed in 168 hours, with an extended stop in Dubai for rest, to arrive at the right time of day to partake in each race and to arrive in Miami at a certain time due to a welcoming crowd being arranged. We had to have onboard branding, an aircraft comfortable enough for the runners to be able to sleep well on, and catering that meet all their nutritional needs, all whilst keeping crew hours and costs to a minimum.
This was our third year chartering for this event, so from experience (after using a number of aircraft) we knew the Boeing 757-200 VIP was the perfect size aircraft for the group size and budget. This aircraft has 76 VIP deep reclining seats, which meant that the athletes on board can get a good sleep in between each marathon. We flew the route from east to west, starting in Cape Town after the World Marathon Challenge had returned from its Antarctica event. From here the running would head on to Perth, Dubai, Madrid, Santiago and finally, Miami, as this made the most of the time in the air and synced up best with the events.
Due to the complexity of the event’s time restrictions, along with crew logistics to plan around, it took around two months of planning by ACS and the client to piece together a final itinerary and schedule the flights. We had to take into account weather across the seven continents, so allowed a 2-3 day buffer with the aircraft, and to minimise crew costs created a solution that allowed us to pick up and drop off crew in suitable destinations en route so that they could rest before being picked up again for another flight further down the line.
As nutrition was important due to the nature of the event, we sourced meals that were high-calorie in order to replenish the athletes and arranged for mealtimes to be as soon as possible after boarding, to give them as much time to rest and sleep as possible.
The organisers wanted to showcase their brand as much as possible, so we had both internal and external branding across the aircraft. We also arranged for branded exterior floor mats, branded napkins and coasters. We put branded headrests on each seat, along with internal branded stickers and a route map at the back of the plane.
THE FINER DETAILS
CATERING: Alongside the nutritionally balanced meals, we also organised for high energy snacks and drinks to be left in each passengers’ seat so they could snack on these as required.
FLIGHT REPRESENTATION: We had a flight representative on board for the duration of the tour, allowing us to be on call 24/7 and deal with issues as they arose.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES: Along with the internal branding, we also created bespoke ‘Please feed me’ signs each passenger could pin to their headrests to ensure they were woken up to eat if they had fallen asleep.
The World Marathon Challenge maintained its 100% record in running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 continuous days
Comment from Richard Donovan, World Marathon Challenge founder and event organiser:
"Air Charter Service has been pivotal to the success of the World Marathon Challenge in delivering 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days."