Networking on the run

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Forget Opening Cocktails or Gala Evenings. The real way to network in Cannes this year is jogging.

In preparation for the ‘Miles for Smiles’ fund-raising 10k run in Dubai on 22 November, The Moodie Blogster has been hitting the roads around from the old port here in Cannes over the past couple of days. Besides offering some gorgeous Mediterranean scenery to take your mind off a) the pain of running and b) the gloom within the industry, it’s amazing who you meet along the way.

On Saturday I ran with Aer Rianta International-Middle East Managing Director John Sutcliffe. Ever since I started this training malarky, I have felt in urgent need of a pacemaker but I didn’t reckon on finding one in the form of an Irishman who must be the fittest man in the Middle East.

Run with John Sutcliffe and any of your gentle 7k an hour sessions go out of the window. Among the phrases you probably don’t want to hear in life is “Let’s step up the pace a bit,” spoken in a rich Tipperary burr. What that means, I learned, is that when you are actually almost out on your feet at the end of an 8k run at a clip faster than anything you have ever done before, he asks you to raise the tempo to about 12k an hour pace “just as far as my hotel”.

The trouble is, John’s hotel is the Martinez, and given that we “stepped it up” as we passed the Palais, it is a small miracle that this Blog is coming to you at all.

On the way I made another error, deciding to ‘high five’ a fellow runner, Gerrit van Tilj, Managing Director of Sea & Sky Supply (below) and one of the driving forces behind the creation of GABICO, partner in the acclaimed duty paid domestic retailing operation at Beijing Capital Airport. Gerrit and I are known affectionately as ‘brothers’ – the fact that we clearly visit the same barber results in many people greeting one of us by the other’s name.

Martin Moodie

Gerrit van Tijl

Unfortunately with us both running at around 11km per hour in opposite directions the timing of the high five was not optimised. Embarrassed I didn’t look back to check the damage but if you chance to see someone looking very much like The Moodie Report Publisher but with a broken nose, you’ll know it’s not me.

On today’s outing I met Fred Kiang, Chairman of Sunrise Duty Free and one of the great gentlemen of this business. Fred as always was looking impeccably dapper, even in his running attire. I wasn’t. Fred did well to recognise me. He’s a fine man who could even do his early morning work-out smoking his hallmark Cuban cigar and still look stylish.

Overall though the training regime is going well. Pounding the streets of the French Riviera sure is an improvement on a dreadmill in dank London.

It’s a glorious day in Cannes that could, just could, make you forget about the woes of the world. Just across the Croisette from The Moodie Report Cannes Bureau, delegates are gathering for the Opening Conference, which starts in 15 minutes. It’s time to forget the fitness and get down to work.

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