Step One: How are you going to stand out?

It’s no secret: road races are everywhere. And these days… for about every cause? You name it, it exists. Whether it’s a Color Run school fundraiser or a charity event for the most specific and obscure cause, chances are that we’ve seen it.

So why are you planning this race? Are you trying to motivate your community to get together and be active? Are you raising money for a good cause like a school fundraiser or combating an illness? Are you looking to bring recognition to a business like a 5K that starts/finishes at your restaurant?

Whatever it is, pick a purpose and stick to it, and then figure out why people would want to run it.

In 2015, a recorded 17 million-plus American men and women crossed a finish line. Those numbers have dropped a little bit, but the sport is still widely popular. The good news? There are a lot of potential customers to tap into. The bad news? Runners have been exposed to so many different trends/causes, that it may be difficult to set your race apart.

So, what are you going to do to stand out? You need a thing. Here are some good things to consider:

  • Are you going to have an exceptionally compelling cause? Is there something that a community would be drawn to?
  • Are you going to give away really great race swag, such as medals, tee’s, etc.?
  • Is your course a destination, or somewhere really scenic?
  • Is your post-race party at a cool location, like a brewery or restaurant?
  • Are you having a theme run, such as a color run, obstacle race or costume dash?
  • Do you give away great prizes, like cash or gift certificates to local business?

If you answered yes to one or more of these, you’re well on your way! If you answered no to all six, well, then you better start brain storming. Long gone are the days of just running to run. Sadly, people (often) need incentives. You need to entice people to come, and like we learned in ECON 101, you need to increase your opportunity cost to get them up and running on a Sunday morning. Is that how it worked? Probably not. But you get the idea. Make your race worthwhile, and people will come.

Now get going and get a cause!