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The people that make it happen: Adam Roberts

31 March 2020 in 10:51AM

A huge amount of planning and effort goes into delivering an international events series such as the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. In a new series we are showcasing the exceptional people behind the scenes who make each Bloomberg Square Mile Relay race run like clockwork.

In this first instalment we caught up with Project Director, Adam Roberts who has been a popular figure in the Square Mile Sport office since he joined the team in October 2017.

“I currently work on the Sydney, Beijing and Shanghai races, and have previously managed the Tokyo, Singapore and Sao Paulo events as well”, explains Roberts who has so far worked on 15 races and counting.

Roberts on duty at the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay in Singapore.

7am calls on a Tuesday morning to our Australian agency, keeping tabs on project timelines and signing off site and route plans are part of the norm for Adam, who also sneaks in a lunchtime work out at the local gym most days of the week. But race nights are a different matter!

“I’m fretting over the weather mostly! On race night I am working on a lot of different elements which all play a crucial role in delivering a successful event. I check in with key suppliers and sponsors to see that they have everything they need and I ensure everything with the course is ready to go.” explains Roberts. He then segways into a range of other responsibilities and tasks from setting up the relay’s iconic start/finish arch to production rehearsals, briefing staff and volunteers and doing final checks on all operational matters including branding.

The excitement of working across a range of different cities comes with its own unique challenges: “Switching your approach from city to city depending on the local culture and social norms is a big challenge. Organising a race in Sao Paulo is very different to organising an event in Beijing for example.”

But crucially, does he have a soft spot for any particular race in the series? “Although I love Tokyo as a city, I’d have to say that Sydney is my favourite – I lived there a few years ago and I always love going back. We also have a tradition whereby when we go away to deliver an event, we like to bring back local delicacies from that city for the rest of the office to try. The hot and spicy shrimp cookies from Shanghai were a particular hit!”

Roberts takes pride in seeing runners of all standards enjoy the races. “The great thing about the work we do is that we provide a platform for people to achieve their personal goals, whether that be completing a four-minute mile or just being able to finish the course at all.

Roberts project managed the inaugural Bloomberg Square Mile Relay in Beijing last year.

“That moment when the last runner crosses the finish line is really important to us. We like to make a big deal out of them by getting the winning team and all of the volunteers to run over the finish line with them together. It’s always a special moment and really shows the spirit of the event.”

However, nothing provides as much pride and satisfaction as the work of the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay’s The Extra Mile Program. “I’m very proud when I see the positive impact we have through The Extra Mile program” said Roberts.

“Whether our Extra Mile Partners are developing educational programs for coaches and athletic leaders in Tokyo, or providing after school opportunities for children in San Francisco, it’s fantastic to see how our runners can have a direct impact on issues facing their cities.”