Advice for First-Time Race/Challenge Directors

Virtual races aren’t really new – but with COVID-19 restrictions turning in-person events into virtual ones, experienced race directors are learning what it’s like to be a rookie director all over again.

This episode of talkSIGNUP covers tips for a first-time virtual race director (or a second-round virtual director hoping to improve).

Key Takeaways

  • Utilize groups and teams to help market your race and motivate participants
  • Use milestones to make a Virtual Challenge journey more interactive and engaging
  • Be clear about the date of swag delivery (and wait to order and ship if you have a lot of uncertainty)
  • Consider influencers (members of the local or running community with a large social media following) for out-of-the-box marketing
  • When budgeting for the event, think about the costs you don’t have (porta-potties, police, etc.) and roll that money into new perks and swag to add value to the virtual edition.
  • GoVirtual…and continue virtual. Hopefully, in-person races can return next year – but keep a virtual option to maximize possible participation. Both races saw an increase in new runners in 2020, including 67% of registrants in the Great American 5000 who were new to the Sports Backers database.
  • Anticipate questions. It’s often everyone’s first 5K, so plan for additional email support.
  • Consider hiring your timer to support your event in new with ways, either with technology, swag fulfillment, or as an email support channel for the races listed above. It’s a win-win for your event and the timing businesses that need work to bridge the gap until in-person timing is needed.
  • Get Creative. This is the time to talk to people in your community and the running community and consider new ideas.

Featured race organizers include Megan Silva Schultz from Sports Backers and Jonathan Farrell (officially from RunSignup, but representing the Women’s Distance Festival). The races discussed were:

  • Great American 5000, a new Virtual Challenge in which teams of runners ran “from San Francisco to New York”.
  • The Women’s Distance Festival, an established in-person 5K raising money for Center for Safety & Change that set a record for participation in their first year as a virtual run.

More talkSIGNUP videos (and all videos from the Fall Cram Session) can be found on our YouTube channel. Subscribe for updates!

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