Fleet Feet Rochester & Buffalo and YellowJacket Racing Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Case Study focuses on how a Running Store, Training Programs, and a Racing Company support each other.

View the PDF Version of the Fleet Feet Rochester & Buffalo and YellowJacket Racing Case Study

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Fleet Feet Logo2 Fleet Feet LogoFleet Feet Sports Rochester & Buffalo, YellowJacket Racing, and RunSignUp

Fleet Feet Sports Rochester & Buffalo and YellowJacket Racing use RunSignUp to tie together the 3 legs of their business and support a robust running community.

About Fleet Feet Sports Rochester & Buffalo and YellowJacket Racing

Ellen Brenner-Boutillier and David Boutillier (Boots) own both YellowJacket Racing and 3 Fleet Feet Sports in NY (2 in Rochester, and one in Buffalo). Boots founded YellowJacket Racing in 1998; he was joined by now-wife Ellen in 2001, and they opened their first Fleet Feet Rochester in 2004. Today, their businesses support and enhance each other to provide a better experience to Western New York residents.Store Photo

A Triangle Approach to a Running Store

When Boots & Ellen first opened Fleet Feet Rochester, they went it with a Triangle approach of 3 interconnected sets of services:Triangle

  1. Running Store (for runners to acquire their training and racing gear)
  2. Racing Company (to produce races for runners to run, and provide Timing services to additional local Race Directors)
  3. Training Programs (to offer training for runners to prepare for races)

Some customers may only be interested in one of those, but many participate in 2 or 3 of their offerings, and all three are integral parts of their business strategy.

Training Programs and RunSignUp

The Rochester Fleet Feet Stores have a robust set of Training Programs to meet the needs of runners of all levels. These include:

  • Training Center Classes and Clinics like Core Class, Yoga, Good Form Running Clinics, and Ton of Fun Weight Loss Challenge.
  • Training Programs for Beginner and Intermediate Runners, as well as specific events like the Boston Marathon or their own Sehgahunda Trail Marathon.

Some programs are free, whereas others have an associated charge, but they all track their
registrations on RunSignUp. Free programs do not incur any processing fees (for Fleet Feet or the runner) because there is no payment to process. They set up each training program as a “Race”; free programs just have a $0 registration fee. This setup allows them to keep track of numbers for programs and enforce participant caps.

To avoid confusion for runner registering, the word “Race” has been set to default to Custom Word“Training Program” throughout the Race Info Page.

To keep track of the programs and help runners register for the appropriate race, they label each “race” with their Title, the season, and the store they are affiliated with.

On occasion, the stores do have to take a paper registration for a program because of a long-standing Voucher system, but they try to keep registrations online whenever possible.


YellowJacket Racing and RunSignUp

In addition to Fleet Feet’s Training Program “races” on RunSignUp, YellowJacket Racing also uses the system for the 30 or so races they produce.

YellowJacket Race Series’

Among their many events, YellowJacket puts on a “Dirt Events2Cheap” and a “Snow Cheap” Series: evening, bare-bones races for just $12 each, or $65 for all. To handle registrations for the series, they have each Race Day set up as a Separate Event on a single Race, with the Full series as an additional Event option.

Results for both the individual races and the full series can then be found from the Results Tab on a single Race on RunSignUp.

YellowJacket Racing has even added video results to their Dirt Cheap Series – not a bad added-value for a $12 race!

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For Boots & Ellen, the benefit of RunSignUp is having all their data for both Training Programs and Races in a single system. Previously, they had to use two separate systems for the types of signups; keeping it all on RunSignUp brings cohesion to the separate branches in their Triangle approach.

If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us
…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

The Synthesis of Races, Stores, and Training Programs

At our 2015 RunSignUp Race Director/Timer Symposium, Andy Marsh from Playmakers shared his view of the synthesis between Races, Training Programs, and Running Stores:

We’ve shared our philosophy of the Running Community before; that Micro Communitiesthe running community is made up of tens of thousands of micro-communities that overlap – races, running clubs, running stores, timers, as well as many technology providers. Andy’s presentation is a prime example of these communities overlap, and how you can leverage the micro-communities in your area to improve your local Running Events.


Gobble Gobble Four Miler Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Gobble Gobble Four Miler Case Study focuses on creating techniques for fundraising and engaging Sponsors. 

View the PDF Version of the Gobble Gobble Four Miler Case Study

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Picture1Overview: The Gobble Gobble Four Miler uses RunSignUp for creative fundraising efforts for their St. Matthew’s House charity, and creates strong incentives for local Sponsors.

About the Gobble Gobble Four Miler:

The Gobble Gobble Four Miler is a Thanksgiving Day Race in Naples Florida directed by Matthew Sonneborn and timed by Endurance Sports Timing.  The long-time race has benefited St. Matthew’s House for much of its tenure, and in 2015, Matt’s 13th year with the race, they used some unique Sponsor relationships and fundraising tactics to maximize their impact.

The Building Blocks:

Why Four Miles? The stretch of road that the Gobble Gobble race wanted to use naturally lent itself to a 4-miler.  Additionally, there are not a lot of 4 mile races, which allows the distance to be something of a differentiator. 

Separating Categories of Participants:
The race offers 4 Event options:Picture2

  • ‘Lil Gobbler’s Dash: A short race for those 6 & under
  • 1 Mile Run/Walk: A family-friendly fitness walk
  • 4 Mile Run/Walk: An untimed, non-intimidating 4-mile run/walk for runners who don’t care abut timing, slow joggers, walkers, strollers, etc.
  • 4 Mile Competitive Run: A timed 4-mile race

The separation of categories serves a few purposes:

  • The timed 4-miler is a few dollars more expensive; this covers the additional cost of timing, an encourages only those who care about being time to sign up for that division.
  • There is concern about how many people are on the road at the time, and dividing the divisions (with slightly different start times) spreads out the traffic, and creates natural “waves” that help ensure people are lining up more-or-less according to their intended speed.

    A Sustainable, Green Race

Gobble Gobble Four Miler uses a few green strategies for their race:

  • Parking: The limited available parking (just 200 onsite spots) makes green options not just responsible, but necessary.  To get around this, they offer VIP Carpooling, shuttles, and a free bike valet.
  • The event is Cup-Free: there are no cups on the course.  Instead, runners who want water on-course should bring a drinking device (hydrapouch, fuel belt, or water bottle), and will have water dispensed through a high speed valve (hydrapour system).

    Supporting a Charity through Donations & Fundraising

After many years of working with them, Matt has a great relationship with the chief Picture3Charity, St. Matthew’s House, and considers the fundraising they can do for them, and the second charity (95210 Kids on the GO!) the “why” of the having the race.  To encourage and increase fundraising, he tests out a range of unique fundraising options.

All registrants are prompted to make a donation during registration.  They use a series of Thanksgiving-themed Donation Levels to encourage more donations.

In previous year, Matt had an option to donate $100 and get into the race for free.  While this was not the case this year, he still saw a relatively high number of $100 donors (17 participants), and attributes this to an established tradition of giving.

“I don’t know many races where that aspect – the donation – has become a tradition.  The idea is basically that I’m going to sell you a $25 entry for $100…but people love it.  And the Charity wins, because all the money goes to the charity at my race” – Matt Sonneborn

Enabling Fundraisers on RunSignUp

Waiving the Entry Fee with a Fundraising MinimumPicture4
The ability for a runner to create a fundraiser was enabled and runners were able to waive their registration fee for a minimum of $250 in fundraising.

Picture5A Fundraising Challenge: The race provided an additional incentive for creating and promoting a fundraiser.  Matt implemented a Fundraising Challenge in which the top fundraiser (over $1,000) would win a meal, to be prepared in their home by two high profile local chefs.  In the end, instead of a home, the chefs will go to the St. Matthew’s homeless shelter to help the catering team there to make a meal and tour the charity they helped.

 Final Result of the Fundraising Effort:

$7,147.14 to St. Matthew’s House
$1,578.25 to 95210 Kids on the GO!
$8,725.39 collected from donations & fundraising by 1,555 Race Participants

Thinking Outside the Box: Getting Sponsors Involved

Partnering with a Running Store for Packet Pickup:

In 2015, the race packet pickup was hosted by a relatively new, local running store,Picture7 Fit2Run.  Offering on-site packet pickup to a Running Store sponsor was  great way to add value to a sponsorship, while encouraging runners to get their packets prior to race morning.

Fit2Run was thrilled by the outcome of the sponsorship, seeing their best day in sales (to date) during the packet pickup.

Packet Pickup: A selling point for all types of sponsors:

Picture8While Fit2Run was a fitting sponsor for Packet Pickup in 2014, Matt has worked with, and will in the future, less traditional sponsors for Packet Pickup as well.  In 2013, Packet Pickup was hosted by their partner bike shop.  The 1,000 people of foot traffic to their store – checking out bike products and learning about the race morning bike valet – was a tangible value to them.

Beyond a Packet Pickup: Providing Sponsor Value:

Matt is always looking for new ways to tie in sponsors, and make sponsorship a mutually Picture9beneficial partnership.  For example, he offered a car dealership a number of free entries for their sponsorship; in exchange, people who came into the dealership for a test drive got a free entry

“I love finding out how I can help Sponsors.  With Sponsors, if you can provide people viewing their product, you give them an incentive.  You just have to think outside the box!” – Matt Sonneborn


“Bryan’s counsel is priceless – he’s someone I trust for his understanding of the industry” – Matt, on his RunSignUp Sales Rep Bryan Jenkins

If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

Playmakers Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Playmakers Case Study focuses on Running Store Race Calendars, registration for Races & Training Teams, and advising local races. 

View the PDF Version of the Playmakers Case Study

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Playmakers and RunSignUp

Playmakers Store uses a RunSignUp Calendar and registration to enhance their partnership with local races and their ability to serve the local running community. 

About Playmakers: Playmakers is an award winning footwear and apparel store in Okemos, MI, that operates under the principle that there should be a mutually beneficial relationship with all associated with the store: staff, customers, vendors, and the community.  Beyond selling shoes, Playmakers sees it as their responsibility to promote area running and walking events.  Andy Marsh is on their Events and Marketing Team.

Adding a RunSignUp Race Calendar

Like many Running Stores, Playmakers initially became involved with Picture2RunSignUp because they saw a RunSignUp Race Calendar as a solution to reduce the labor of providing a local running calendar.  Previously, Andy would manually add all races that were submitted to the store – while each addition was not particularly time-consuming, it added up.

The calendar serves 2 purposes:

  • It allows local Race Directors to add their own events to the Playmakers Calendar via a “Submit a Race” button, with no manual work from the Playmakers staff.
  • Playmakers hosts a few Premier events, a number of Fun Runs, and many clinics/training sessions (Good Form Clinics).  All of the Playmakers events show up on the main calendar; additionally, runners can view a calendar that shows only their Training Programs.

The Playmakers Calendar Widget is formatted to match the color scheme of the Playmakers website.  They choose to set their default radius for races at 50 Miles from the store.


Registration on RunSignUp

Playmakers uses RunSignUp for 3 types of events:

  • “Premier” Events: Each year, they manage and put on a team Picture4marathon, a triathlon, and an 8K/1-2 Mile, as well as the 2,600+ Capital City River Run Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay & 5K.
  • Fun Runs and other free eventspreviously they did not have registration for free events, but would always get to the event with no idea how many runners to expect. The RSVP’s helps ensure they are properly prepared.
  • Free Training Classes: they host Good Form teaching clinics for running, walking, and movement on a regular basis.

Playmakers also has a foundation; while registration for Fun Runs & Good Form clinics on RunSignUp are free for Playmakers & runners, hosting the registration online allows them to suggest a donation for the Playmakers Fitness Foundation during registration, thus supporting their community outreach.

Team Playmakers on RunSignUp

Team Playmakers has 3 options for participating in a Training Group:

  • Picture5Women’s Couch to 5KRunning/Walking specifically for Women working towards a 5K.
  • Team TriathlonTraining Sessions, support, and resources for all 3 disciplines.
  • Any Distance, Any PaceRunning/Walking team that is designed to support runners with different paces and goals in a team atmosphere.

The 3 Team Playmakers options are all setup on RunSignUp as “Races”.  To prevent confusion, Playmakers uses custom wording to change “Race” to “Team Playmakers.” This option can be found on the Dashboard:

Picture6Race -> Race Page -> Misc Settings 

Each of the 3 Teams (Couch to 5K, Triathlon, and Any Distance, Any Pace) is set up as its own “Race”, with various membership options set up as Events.

Playmakers allows runners to register to for their Team programs either in-store or Online; the summer 2014 Any Distance, Any Pace Team got 56% of their Sign Ups Online.

Playmakers and Local Races

PlaPicture7ymakers will partner with any local race that approaches them.  The extent of the partnership varies: they allow them to add themselves to their online RunSignUp calendar, they do a yearly Race Directors Clinic, and they offer a “Playmakers Truck” with finish line materials, etc., when available.

One thing that makes it easier for them to partner with so many races has been having a local timer, Michigan Running Foundation, who works a number of area race.  The Timer will frequently set up the race on RunSignUp for the Race Director, meaning Playmakers knows that those races are set up consistently.

Next Steps for Playmakers

Results and Real-Time Notifications

Currently, results are hosted on the Playmakers site as emailed by the Timer in html and pdf format.  Playmakers would like to move more towards live results, to ensure that they have any updated/corrected results instantly, and to allow for real-time notifications and results as runners are finishing.

“What we are trying to do at Playmakers is to create a cool, vibrant, and fun running – walking – racing scene.  We want to do whatever we can to help people move more and enjoy an active lifestyle.  RunSignUp is a great partner that helps us achieve our goals.”
– Andy Marsh

 If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

Case Study: Gallagher Fitness Resources and ActiveSalem.Com

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Case Study on Gallagher Fitness Resources and ActiveSalem.com focuses on implementing a RunSignUp Race Calendar, providing resources to local Race Directors, and using RunSignUp Clubs to manage Training Programs.

View the PDF Version of the Gallagher Fitness Resources & ActiveSalem Case Study

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Overview: Gallagher Fitness Resources integrated RunSignUp into the overhaul of their website, ActiveSalem.com, to create a community running hub that can be self-sustaining.

About Gallagher Fitness Resources and ActiveSalem: ActiveSalem (ActiveSalem.com) is the online running resource driven by Gallagher Fitness Resources in Salem, Oregon.  Gallagher Fitness Resources, owned by John & Susan Gallagher, is located directly between Portland, OR and Eugene, OR, and has built its online presence to expand their reach beyond the physical store.  They aim to be a source of information for all things running & walking within a 50 mile radius, and see the ActiveSalem site as a crucial piece in that goal.  In 2013, they decided to make a major overhaul to their website to better meet their objectives, and partnered with RunSignUp.

The ActiveSalem Philosophy: The Gallaghers believe the many small races and events in the area are important to the local running community, and need support to survive in the age of mega-races.  Gallagher Fitness Resources has long been a resource for the little events, providing tools to help them succeed, and a way to promote their event to the local community.  Operating as a de-facto race advisor for a dozen races each month, however, is a time-consuming endeavor.  ActiveSalem gives the Gallaghers a way to disseminate Race Director tools & provide promotion to Race Directors collectively and efficiently.

Stage 1: Local Race Calendar

Gallagher Fitness Resources and ActiveSalem have hosted a calendar of local races since 1999; the site has grown into a destination or event-posting throughout the Northwest, with over 900 events.  The calendar required extensive manual input, and was largely volunteer supported, with help from the Willamette Valley Road Runners.  When availability for the primary volunteer began diminishing, the Gallaghers knew it was time to find a less labor-intensive calendar option.Calendar1

RunSignUp was able to write a script to bring all the races from the old calendar into the new RunSignUp powered Race Calendar.

The process of completing an import of significant size was not only beneficial to ActiveSalem; it also helped RunSignUp to identify the data needed from stores building a RSU calendar to ensure a smooth transfer.

“Nearly every time, the answer was ‘yeah, great, we can do that – or else, we should do that because other customers will like it too.” – John Gallagher, Owner, Gallagher Fitness Resources.

Stage 1: Advantages of the RunSignUp Calendar

Zip Code Search: The Calendar has options to search for Races within 5,10, 15, 25, 50, 100, or 250 miles of the store.

Affiliate Fees: By embedding the calendar on their site, ActiveSalem is now an Affiliate of RunSignUp and eligible to earn an Affiliate share of 15% of the RunSignUp Processing fee for RunSignUp registrations that initiate (within 30 days) from the ActiveSalem Calendar.

Saves Time & Labor: The RSU calendar significantly reduces the commitment from the Gallagher Fitness Resources staff and volunteers because it is self-sustaining.  This works in 2 ways:

  • New Races that want to be added to the calendar can use an “Add your Race” link to list their race themselves.
  • Races that were transferred from the previous calendar show up with a “Claim Your Race” link that allows Race Directors to claim and manage the listing for future years.

No data entry, no maintenance.

Calendar2The Race Director can use this link to manage their own listing.


Stage 2: RunSignUp as a Resource for new Race Directors

Providing free race consultation to any small race in the area is not sustainable, but Gallagher Fitness resources wants to provide as much guidance to new races as possible.  To achieve this, they include a section on the ActiveSalem website for “Race Director Tools.”  This includes things like Tips, How-To’s, and Timing & Promotion Contacts. Additionally, they include a “Create a New Race” button that allows Race Directors to start the RunSigUp Race Creation Wizard from within a widget on their ToolKit page.


“There is still a place for those kind of [small] fundraisers & events, and RSU helps us keep them on the calendar, and keep them relevant and introducing new people to the sport. It’s refreshing to see Bob [Bickel]’s philosophy of providing a service without stealing all the information and selling it off – we don’t do that to our customers, and it’s nice to have a partner who feels the same way.” – John Gallagher

Stage 3: Integrating Training Programs and Memberships with an Existing Store ProgramAS photo

Gallagher Fitness Resource has a variety of training plans and clinics that they have hosted for years. These include both workout groups, and Plans & Guidelines, by level and goals, sent to both email & phone.  To manage this, they wanted to integrate some RunSignUp features, while still utilizing the plans and schedules built into their own internal system.

Because Gallagher had an internal system, RunSignUp worked with the developer at the store.  They set up an OAuth connection that allows runners to Trainig Programssign in on ActiveSalem and pull their data from RunSignUp.  This allows ActiveSalem members to access their RunSignUp information simply by logging in on the ActiveSalem site, and allows the Gallaghers to continue using the training plans and tools from their previous system.

Stage 3: Training Programs and Memberships as “Clubs”

Running Stores without an internal system like ActiveSalem.com will be able to replicate using Clubs for Training Plans and Clinics without the same level of development work.

ActiveSalem accomplishes this by:

  • Setting up a Running Club in RunSignUp, with specific “Membership Levels” for each Training Program – for example, “Injury/Recovery 2 Month Plan” or “5K Training Plan.”
  • Categories are set for Beginner, Recreational, Advanced, and Competitor to allow ActiveSalem to send more personalized Training Plans.
  • There is a RunSignUp Club Page, with all the Training Plan options, but most people will register directly on the ActiveSalem site.  Each Training Plan has its own dedicated page on ActiveSalem with details of the program. A RSU registration widget has then been embedded into the page that shows only registration for that specific Training Plan.  This is advantageous in several ways: it keeps runners on the ActiveSalem website to sign up for their Training Plan, and it prevents confusion regarding what they should sign up for by only showing the Training Plan that relates to that information page.


Stage 4: Towards the Future

Looking to the future, Gallagher Fitness Resources wants to continue to improve ActiveSalem.com, and find new ways to use technology to centralize the local running community.  They have 2 things they are currently exploring:

Promoting Training Programs through Race Registration

ActiveSalem can use Club Cross Promotion with races it sets up in two ways:

  • Auto-identify if runners signing up for a race are also members of a Training Plan, and offer them discounts for the race.  No secondary steps or coupon codes needed: RunSignUp can automatically recognize that they are members and should receive the discount.
  • They will also recognize when runners are not already a part of one of the Training Plans, and suggest that they join a program.  This will give additional exposure to the ActiveSalem Training Programs.

Looking into new Technology Solutions

Final Surge LogoJohn Gallagher has also been in talks with Final Surge, a RunSigUp Tech Partner, about ways to enhance their Training Plans and Coaching interactio by incorporating features offered through Final Surge.  This attitude of continuous improvement demonstrates a dedication to keep the ActiveSalem site dynamic and engaging for the local community.

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Gallagher Fitness Resources has used the RunSignUp Calendar and integrated Race Director tools to help enhance the ActiveSalem site, thus expanding the reach of their store throughout the area while reducing the manpower and labor required by the Gallaghers and their volunteers & staff.  Additionally, they have improved the experience for members of their Training Programs, and are continuing to build their presence throughout Oregon.

If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us
…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

Sponsor Rewards and Gift Certificates

RewardsSome race sponsors want a way to distribute special gift certificates or rewards. We recently had a race in Colorado that is closely linked with a store that is giving gift certificates to the first 50 participants in each event. The purpose is to increase store traffic and drive early registrations.

Rewards Code in Confirmation PageRunSignUp now provides a mechanism to upload a set of codes that are then distributed to each runner who signs up. The code is included in the Confirmation page as well as the confirmation email.

There are a number of ways this can be used in addition to packaging it as a gift certificate. It might be a give away (like a free pair of running socks in a running store). It might be used for a coupon to a training class. You could even hand out RunSignUp Coupons for another race or training class or club that is using RunSignUp. This would be a nice way for two races to collaborate with each publicizing the other race.

Note that you can upload specific codes for each event, as this race did with increasingly large gift certificates for the different race events. You can also customize what the reward is called, as well as the instructions for the reward. This is set up on the Rewards page:

Gift Certificate & Reward Setup


The other way to do this is with our partner, Virtual Event Bags. They allow for multiple offers from multiple sponsors, although does not currently have the advantage of a closely tied mechanism during race sign up.