Improve your Race in the Offseason easily!
Let’s all take a minute to breathe a collective sigh of relief (sigggggggghhhh). We made it through the busy season. Here at RaceWire, from Labor Day to Thanksgiving is a 3 month period that consists of early mornings, late nights and a lot of races. But outside of a few Jingle Jogs and Reindeer Dashes, we’ve pretty cleared the high season. Now, we’re pretty sure that you aren’t quite ready to think about your late summer or fall races yet, but you spring time events, you better be getting your ducks in a row now. There’s a lot you can be doing to improve your race in the offseason – just keep reading!Check in with your “people”
A few weeks (or even the week) after your race, you’re going to want to check in with everyone. See what worked and what didn’t, what you can improve or where you stood out. There are a lot of people that go into the race, so you’ll want to hit up the following groups:
- Your race committee: okay, this is probably a given, but you want to check in with any co-race directors or the group you worked most closely with to execure your event. Whether it’s the school PTA or the President of your Run Club, make sure you go to this group first. How do they think you can improve your race in the offseason – they know it better than anyone!
- Your volunteers: did you have enough? Did they feel prepared? Was it gratifying? Did you thank them?
- The town/local law enforcement: did you get your permits together fast enough? Did the road closures prove effective? Was safety ever an issue?
- Your runners: potentially your most important check in. We get a ton of reviews for our races on social media, and if we’ve learned one thing, it’s that runners are vocal. See if you can check your Facebook page to valuable insight as to what you can improve. Note: you don’t need to change everything, but if you can get a couple of takeaways, it’s a win
Take an inventory
Taking an inventory of your race is one of the best ways to save money (or make money) in the future. Did you order too many t-shirts or medals? Did you account for the average runner drop off rate of 10-20%? Do you have any idea the number of pre-registrants versus day of registrants? Understanding all these numbers will help you be better prepared for your next race.
Secure partnerships and sponsorships early
You don’t want to be running around a few weeks before your race asking people or businesses to sponsor your event. Get in touch with local restaurants, breweries, t-shirt printers, etc. early in the process. Tell them about your numbers and the good exposure their business could receive by working with you. If you had a successful experience with a sponsor in the past, make sure you thank them and reach out early to secure their support in the future. If you do this early enough and someone does drop off, you’re protecting yourself from a lot of out-of-pocket costs.
Review the Course
This kind of ties in with checking in with your runners, but it deserves it’s own point. Was the course too hard, or too easy? Is it accessible for fans? If you advertised a 5K, was it actually 3.1 miles? Do you want to become USATF certified or sanctioned? There are lots of things to consider about your course. After multiple (and we mean a lot) of feedback about the Mayflower Brewing Half Marathon being too hilly, the race directors met to change the course design. You’ll have to wait to see what it is though ;).
Think about your marketing
Marketing in the offseason is a really important component of race management. Many runners plan out their entire year in races months in advance, and you want to be on their radar. In addition to utilizing all forms of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), you should start to consider email marketing blasts. RaceWire just so happens to have a free emailer service that comes as a part of our registration platform, and we love to use it (click here for more info). You’ll probably want to send a note out to runners about 6 months in advance of your race, but there isn’t a golden rule about that.
Open your online registration
Again, there isn’t a magic number or golden rule about when to open online registration, but we see an a good range between 3-6 months. Bigger races tend to open earlier, but maybe that aids them in hitting their numbers. If you use RaceWire for your online registration, you can customize your page, add a personalized domain name and utilize a ton of advanced features like promo codes, the above mentioned email service and a lot more.
So, before you settle down for your long winter’s nap, check off a few boxes. You’ll be thanking yourself next year!