Ultra distance events come with many of the same needs as typical race events like 5Ks and half marathons, but they also have very unique requirements and things to consider. For example, many ultra events don’t use a timer to officially score the race due to either the size of the registrations or the conditions of the course. However, events still need a way to provide finisher data to participants. Ultra event organizers address these unique situations through a combination of creativity, technology and sometimes by applying the good old fashioned approach to endurance experiences like manually writing down participants’ finish times.
RunSignup’s endurance focused technology can help Ultra event organizers address many of their unique needs and actually help to increase participation levels and improve the overall event experience – further helping to propel next year’s registration numbers.
Below are just four of the key ways RunSignup can help Ultra event organizers:
1. Registration Tools
RunSignup is the leader in race registration, with more than 25,000 races on our platform each year. This gives us experience many race organizers lean on and means we offer a broad breadth of registration related tools that Ultra organizers can customize for their event. We make it easy to get started, and our intuitive design is not only easy for race directors, but easy for participants as well. RunSignup’s registration platform offers simple to advanced registration setup features so that event organizers can select features as needed, such as:
With RunSignup, your ultra event registration comes with a free race website that is SEO optimized for desktop and mobile, and RunSignup races automatically publish to race lists like Runningintheusa.com.
2. Marketing Tools
Ultras are all about community, and RunSignup enables you to engage with participants, connect with your community, and build your brand. Our free and integrated email marketing lets you customize messaging to participants and those you wish to invite and encourage their participation. We empower you to build your email list, target messaging to specific audiences, and customize the email layout. Best of all, there are no caps on the number of emails you can send or the number of contacts you can upload.
You can use email marketing to communicate with your existing contact list, let people know about preview runs or trail work days, and communicate race-day logistics. You can also automate emails, making it easy to invite people to sign up for next year’s race shortly after this years’ race wraps up.
Another very important marketing tool is free custom websites. You can use the site as just a registration page or a your central event website. Whether you need to create a basic or more complex custom site, RunSignup’s web builder gives you the features you need. Some of the key web builder capabilities include:
- Action buttons (i.e. registration, donate and log your activity)
- Custom cover pages with automatic dynamic components like a countdown clock
- Custom branding, images, and logo
- Unlimited custom content and menus
- Integration with Results, Photos, Interactive map through RaceJoy
- Showcase event video
Want to know if your marketing efforts are working? RaceInsights Analytics on your race dashboard show the source of every page view, registration, and donation. Custom source tracking even lets you create unique tracking links for each marketing campaign you initiate.
3. Pricing Tools
RunSignup offers the ability to automate price increases, event-size discounts, coupons, and vouchers. Encouraging participants to register early gives people time to register and spread the word to friends and family. Running early-bird discounts in tandem with event sized based discounts (for example, giving the first 100 registrants $20 off) is one of many ways to leverage our pricing tools to increase registrations.
Taking advantage of RunSignup’s referral rewards program is another way to leverage our marketing and pricing tools. Referrals encourage participants to invite family/friends to attend your event in return for a refund or swag. A good example of a referral reward is that for 5 referrals, a participant gets a $15 refund on their own registration. Referral rewards make your participants willing marketers.
4. Race Day Tools
RunSignup has a dedicated division focused exclusively on the Race Day experience and offers products such as On-Site Registration, free RaceDay CheckIn app, RaceJoy participant tracking app, Results, Photos, and its newly launched Mobile Timing app. All of these can be useful products for Ultra organizers to improve the experience for participants and integrate seamlessly with the registration platform.
With RunSignup’s new Mobile Timing App, Ultras can easily time their race (for free) even in remote conditions and immediately publish results for participants. The Mobile Timing App works best for simple races with one or two different distances. If your needs are more advanced like lap events, splits, chip system integration, etc. then you can look at our advanced timing scoring solution– RaceDay Scoring.
Many Ultras utilize GPS trackers as an added safety measure and as a way for crew members to track their runners. Ultra organizers can opt to offer RaceJoy for participant tracking making use of the participant’s phone as a tracking device – something most have with them already. RaceJoy’s off-course alerts, SOS, and organizer at-a-glance tracking dashboard and communications features make this an ideal product for Ultras. This recent blog covers how it was used at the Midstate Massive ultra where 78% of participants chose to use the app. It’s also designed to work offline as many Ultras are in areas with spotty (or no) network connection.
RunSignup’s free photo solution gives Ultra events a way to offer photos of the race without the expense of a photographer. You can choose to have volunteers load photos straight from their phone and allow participants to load their own photos. The system will auto tag participants’ bib numbers and if you work with a timer, you can integrate results with their photos.
Clearly, RunSignup offers a lot of technology tools that specifically address the unique needs of Ultra organizers – and the majority are free (tight budgets being another concern for most Ultras). If you aren’t familiar with RunSignup or just want to know a bit more, we invite you to reach out to us for a demo of these and other tools that support the specific needs of Ultra event organizers and your participants. Also, there is a host of information on our blog page and many recorded webinars on our YouTube channel for self exploration.