The 2019 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships will feature the event’s first-ever midnight marathon as part of a range of new fan-focused initiatives, the organisers have confirmed.
In a significant departure from previous editions of the championships, the morning sessions will be removed, with split evening sessions introduced for the first time – avoiding the stifling temperatures of earlier in the day in the host city of Doha, Qatar. One-hour intervals will be incorporated into each session to combine entertainment and family-centred activities with the sporting action.
The midnight marathon will take place along Doha’s Corniche with the city’s night skyline providing the backdrop, with lighting effects along the route.
“It is our ambition to organise an innovative, creative and exciting event that inspires and engages new fans, new athletes and new audiences and maximises the full potential of our region’s first-ever IAAF World Championships,” said Dahlan Al Hamad, the event’s vice-chairman and director general of the local organising committee who is also an IAAF vice-president.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe added: “Finding ways to bring the emotion and appeal of athletics to the local community and the region has always been one of Doha’s ambitions for hosting the IAAF World Championships. Both our teams have explored creative ways to meet this ambition, bringing together sport expertise and cultural knowledge in a new and entertaining way.
“The first 4x400m mixed relay will have its global debut ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the first midnight marathon, the evening sessions with semi-finals and finals only and dedicated slots in the timetable for the final stages of field events allowing full focus on the decisive and most thrilling moments and attempts.
“We are looking forward to seeing how these firsts and the engagement format will come together next year to deliver a World Championships that will look and feel different.”