From 150 to 2000 runners, interview with Edgardo Ramos Verde, President of AAU

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Timers, we’re happy to present the interview with the president of Uruguay Athletes Association, which grew under his charge from 150 to 2000 associated, Edgardo Ramos Verde. Edgardo is an event organizer and he also became a Macsha Timer that continues to innovate and deliver more benefits to all runners in Uruguay. His events received a lot of press and a lot of support from the government of Uruguay, all with the mission to “transmit values through sport.”

Read the interview and find out how to attract more runners and the press to your events:

AAU_interview_EN

1. Hi Edgardo! Could you tell us a bit about yourself, about AAU and your role there? How long did it take you to build the success around AAU and what were the crucial changes you made to take it to the next level?

I have been the chairman and the leader of the Athletes Association Uruguay for more than a decade of uninterrupted time. We started to make structural changes in an entity that we encountered with no more than 150 members and a depressed and unattractive tournament at that time.

While the vision of its founders to create a tournament that brings together professional competitors, was terrific, we had to rearrange the idea, and logically open new horizons and introduce new technologies.

Our explosive growth begins in 2008 and today we have more than 2000 members around Uruguay, hundreds of offers to organize athletic events with one mission; “Transmit values through sport.”

At this point, all of our partners know our tournament, which is unique in Uruguay, but we were more ambitious and thought what else could we do with running races? And we embarked on social action plans that have left us speechless… for their tremendous results.

We created:

a. “Swim towards the horizon”, where children living in INAU (most without parents), invest their time in swimming along with us.
b. Support to the Telethon Foundation.
c. Support to the ALCO Foundation (an organization dedicated to combating obesity).
d. We create a job board, where we seek jobs for our members.
e. Campaigns for “frío polar”…

2. Before becoming a Macsha Timer, you were using another timing system. Could you please compare your previous timing systems with MACSHA’s One4All system?

When we stopped timing manually, we decided to hire a timing system with those green tags, with carpets generating a magnetic field, then other technology up to what we have today.

Logically, we decided to invest in this high-impact system that could live up to our expectations. Knowing that technology today has given us a tremendous results in the races we’ve timed. A new experience for us, in addition to organizing mass events, we faced the challenge to learn how to manage successfully these systems.

3. You have a lot of experience organising race events for AAU that have always turned out to be a great success. A lot of Macsha timers, apart from providing an impeccable timing service, also organise their own races. From your experience, what the top 5 must-do’s to organise a successful race?

1. Trust in the institution (we can have the best equipment and cutting edge technology), but event organizers must be of quality.
2. Organize 5 star events, at a low cost.
3. Brands, governmental and private actors, must trust in the work that you will carry on. Making a reference to intrinsic Social Responsibility.
4. Organize a championship, at a low cost, where in addition to running, we have the ability to arrange agreements with the brands sponsoring AAU. Direct benefits for our members, in regards to the purchase of inputs at low cost.
5. Sport should be a right, not a privilege.

In the AAU, have 2000 members.

a. Minors do not pay membership fees and they receive all infrastructure for free (200 children)
b. Over 60 year-olds pay half of the membership fee (45 USD per year) – (320 in that age range).
c. Under 60 year-olds pay 100 USD per year (1100 in this age range)
d. 400 athletes, PAY NO FEE, athletic scholarships are awarded to households with low income.

The question is, how do we finance 20 races around the country?

The answer is: professional, honest and credible leaders. This presentation is the key to any business, government, etc.

4. Your races always get a lot of publicity, you are an expert in promoting the race and getting admirable numbers of runners to participate in your events. How do you do it? How do you get all the sponsors and the press? Could you please advise our timers on what should they do to attract more runners to participate in their races?

1. Of the two thousand members we have, I know them all, names and surnames, so when I have the desire, I also act as a presenter, ie. I cheer and motivate the runners from my position of general direction and now as a Timer.
2. I repeat the above, to lead a business or a company with excellence, the key is the complete knowledge of it. High points and low points, implementing reforms, from the inside out.
3. Companies see in AAU one of the few institutions with international projection. It took us a couple of years, some fights, and hard work. We are full time. Without charging a single penny. The directors of this entity are volunteers, and will remain, as long as I’m the president. Who runs this type of social, non-profit entities, must do so with passion and conviction. At least in this entity.
4. Is there anything nicer than combining sport with social work? That’s what we do and it’s our presentation card.

5. As you know, in Macsha we are addicted to constant improvement. As a race organiser that used to hire timers, what is the most important advice you would give to our timers which they could use to impress their clients, the race organisers? What were your expectations from a timer and what would impress you as a race organiser?

1. We are organizers, and have our own timing system.
2. When a Timer is dedicated to timing private races, the universe of actions they could perform are endless.
3. You should play with state of art technology which an athlete needs:
a. Immediate results.
b. Kiosks present at events to see the results immediately.
c. Sending results by sms, email, etc.

Many thanks to Edgardo for all his effort and the time he invested in this interview!  If you have any comment or question for Edgardo or us, write us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ or Pinterest!