What the Running Boom Pop Means for Races

In a recent New York Times article “The Running Boom Has Popped”, Jen Miller says

“Road races have hit the wall. The number of finishers in events in the United States has fallen from a peak of about 19 million in 2013 to just over 17 million in 2016.”

In the RunSignUp Trends Report analyzing trends from 2015-2016 of races, we found a flattening of registrations for races, with the number of registrations going up only 0.5%:

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Before getting too depressed, realize the RunningUSA numbers are based on finisher data that is incomplete, and an increasing number of events are less about the finish times and more about fun and community or charity activities. And there are still tens of millions of people participating in events across the country.

So What’s Race Director to Do?

In short, focus on what happens before and after registration – Promoting your race, and making Race Day a great experience.

RunSignUp knows that race directors have a tough job, and most are volunteers or part time. So we have been building more automated tools that help you promote your event and make race day special. Here are some of the best things you can do that will be quick and easy to set up, and bring more people to your race:

Automated Emails – Simply turn on the Automated Emails for Incomplete Registration and Price Increase. The system will take care of the rest for you – sending emails to people who did not complete registration, and to send custom emails to past participants before price increases.

Referral Rewards – Our recommendation is to set this up to give participants their registration fee back if they get 5 friends to sign up. Races doing this get over 10% of their registrations from the referral program and have an ROI of over 1,000%. And the RunSignUp system does everything else for you.

Facebook Page – Make sure you are integrated with your Facebook page and have set up good sharing options. This way your referrers will be even more powerful getting your race brand exposure. And for advanced Facebook advertisers, use our Facebook Custom Audience feature.

Race Day Notifications – Make sure your timer turns on automatic results notifications so participants get txt alerts of their results seconds after they cross the finish line.

RaceDay Photos – Get a photographer (or ask your timer to provide one!) and get your photos uploaded fast after the race. We automatically tag bib numbers so participants and spectators can enjoy their own pictures – and turn on the ability for them to add their own tags. This can be done very cheaply, and people love photos – at one race of 800 people there were over 34,000 photo views in the 2 days after the race.

RaceJoy – Here is a quote from a recent participant: “Racejoy was amazing. My brother out in Florida watched the “blue spot” go around the screen and listened to a cow bell the entire way and it was so special for him and me. I love it and I will always use RaceJoy! And by the way I’m 71 years old, and I figured it out myself, and that’s saying something. Which means the technology was not complicated and very user-friendly.”

Need more ideas? Feel free to talk with our team to discuss your particular race and what might work for your situation. We have hundreds of features that you have at your fingertips in your RunSignUp bag of tricks – make use of them so your race is not only a survivor in the bubble pop, but a true success.

Author: RunSignUp

RunSignUp is the leading innovator of online tools for race registration, race day solutions, and running clubs. Services include RunSignUp for registration, RunSignUp Go for Race Day, RunSignUp RD Go for Timers, RunSignUp Clubs to enable membership management, and RaceJoy for mobile experiences. More than 10,000 race directors, timers, running club officers and running stores use these services today, including leading organizations like the Boilermaker Road Race, Crim Festival of Races, Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc., Fifth Third River Bank Run, Blacklight Run, Bubble Run, Night Nation, Mercedes Marathon, Kentucky Derby Festival, Leone Timing, KC Running Company, Compuscore Timing, Knoxville Track Club, Pikes Peak Road Runners, Gulf Coast Runners, Columbus Running Company, Playmakers Running Store and many more. In 2015, over 10,000 races used the system to register more than 2.7 million participants. In 2016 over 14,000 races will use the system to process over 4.3 million paid registrations. Services are free except for processing fees when conducting monetary transactions such as race registration or club membership renewal. RunSignUp is founded by runners for runners, using technical capabilities to bring the power of cloud computing to benefit the running community. For more information, visit www.RunSignUp.com.

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