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%:
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.