Night of the 10,000 Beers | On Track Nights: London

By Kyle Merber

May 24, 2023

The second stop of the On Track Nights was in London for the Night of the 10,000m PB’s, an event that showed that with enough beer and food, people can be convinced to attend even meets centered on 25-lap races. The genius of this festival is that it leverages the 10,000m being a traditionally more boring race to watch to create an environment that is no longer dependent on watching the races.

Imagine a Night of the 100m PB’s. Fans can’t get up to grab a beer or take a piss to get rid of all the previous beers without missing six heats. In this case, the disadvantage becomes the advantage. With 10,000ms… long line? Doesn’t matter! You have 25 minutes before things start to get good.

Spectators are not necessarily there because of the track meet. They’re there for all of the entertainment points, the community, the food, and there also just so happens to be a track meet going on.

The key here is that there is a low barrier to entry: it’s free to attend or watch online. As someone who occasionally dabbles in acquisition marketing campaigns I can speak to the importance of establishing an attainable threshold with a high perceived value. Even though Paul Chelimo is a 2x Olympic medalist capable of ripping a 27:12 10,000m under the lights to win by 19 seconds, there were droves who showed up having no idea who he was. But they left knowing who he is.

The women’s side saw an even more dominant victory for Ethiopia’s Mizan Alem, as she won by 65(!) seconds in 29:59.03 – the 11th woman ever under a standard sitcom-length TV slot. Two years ago, Alem won the World U20 championships at 5000m, and although she has run 14:46, this performance indicates she’s taken her game to a whole new level.

An important takeaway here is the organic way in which the Highgate Harriers club spent the last decade growing this festival to where it is today. Supporting grassroots community events that already have a committed following is the way to go. If you want to build a treehouse, then you can plant a tree today and wait. Or you can just pick out the sturdiest 100-year-old tree in your backyard and start from there. And would could be better than hanging out in a tree house with Paul Chelimo?

Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.