The Łódź marathon, first under the name of ‘Łódź Maraton Dbam o Zdrowie’ and now ‘DOZ Maraton Łódzki z PZU’ became part of the Pelion Healthcare Group’s catalogue of CSR events in 2011. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and physical activity, combining a running event with a charity initiative.
The fourth edition of the Łódź marathon took place on April 11th−13th 2014, attracting a record-breaking turnout. 4,652 people crossed the finish line of the marathon and the accompanying 10 kilometre run, i.e. over 60% more than in 2013.
Performance-wise, the level or the marathon run was high, and the Times of both winners (Yared Shegumo and Karolina Jarzyńska) ranked among best results in the history of marathon running in Poland.
The fourth edition of the marathon was a three-day event combined with a number of accompanying events and numerous attractions for runners and their supporters, including: the Kids’ Run, the Breakfast Run with Polish sports stars, a family picnic with medical check-ups, as well as the Expo Run&Fun fair for exhibitors and partners of the event.
All runners who wanted to get prepared for the event were offered an opportunity to train with the ‘Dbam o Zdrowie’ Team, free of charge and at three different skill levels, under the watchful eye of experienced trainers. The programme continued from October 2013 to April 2014, with a regular turnout of about 100 participants and he overall number of 300 people taking advantage of the trainings. At the same time, the Marathon Cup was organised, which included five running events meant to prepare runners for the main marathon. The event included a series of runs organised monthly in Arturówek and in the Łagiewnicki Forest in Łódź, from November 2013 to March 2014, at distances from 5 to 25 kilometres.
On top of the sports-related goals, the Łódź marathon was meant to promote charity in a modern style. As part of the ‘Running to Help’ initiative, during registration for the event runners could make a donation to a chosen charity organisation, or organise their own charity drives through fundraising websites for an individual person or a public benefit organisation of their choice, or support charity drives organised by other runners. The overall goal of the ‘Running to Help’ campaign was to increase awareness of the problem of barriers in access to medication, and the ‘Dbam o Zdrowie’ Foundation became a partner of the initiative. The funds were used by partner organisations to purchase pharmaceuticals, medical products and rehabilitation equipment.
To encourage children and teenagers to practice sports, the marathon featured an additional competition (‘The Cheering Masters’) for schools and educational centres in the area of Łódź. Participating schools compete by preparing cheering stations for the race. Winners of the competition receive coupons for the purchase of sports equipment.
In recognition of the high organisational standards at the Łódź marathon, the event was awarded the title of a Silver Label Road Race by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), as the first running event in Poland and one of over 30 events worldwide.
‘The Cheering Masters’ competition was named a Best Practice in 2014 and featured in the ‘Responsible Business in Poland. Best Practices 2014’ report published by the Responsible Business Forum.