Locked-In Pricing for Cap Priced Events

With our Participant Count price increases always has the downside of people being upset they did not get the price they wanted. The default way it works is the first X people who click Submit on the Checkout page to process their transaction. The problem with this is that we redirect the participant back to that checkout page to tell them they need to re-enter their credit card (for PCI security reasons) at the new price level.

We have added an option (on Miscellaneous Settings) to set a window for people to complete the checkout page before the price expires. This means that more than your limit would get the special pricing – so be careful on this.

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Race to Robie Creek 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 Race to Robie Creek Case Study focuses on a smooth sellout process. 

View the PDF Version of the Race to Robie Creek Case Study

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2The Race to Robie Creek and RunSignUp

The Race to Robie Creek moved to RunSignUp to handle the fast sellout of their unique event, and saw a drastic improvement in their runners’ registration process.

About the Race to Robie Creek

The Race to Robie Creek began as a tradition in the 1970’s. The organizers set a challenging 13.1 mile course that attracted a steadily increasing flow of runners. The event field has long been limited in size by logistics, and over the years has adopted a unique structure for dealing with the high demand for race registration.

Moving to RunSignUp

After several years of compounding issues on another registration site. The Race to Robie Creek felt it was time to move to a new platform. They did some research and demos on various options, but ultimately took the guidance of their Timer, Matt Pasley from Authentic Sports Timing, and elected to switch to RunSignUp.

We spoke to Brian Rencher, a former Race Director for the event who has been involved with the race for 25 years and currently handles all runner communications.

1Drawing Runners with a Unique – and Especially Difficult – Course

In contrast to many races that market themselves as PR material the Race to Robie Creek prides itself on its reputation as the toughest half-marathon in the northwestThe course ascends from 2,725 feet to a peak of 4,797 feet in the first 8.5 miles before descending back to 3,065 feet.

The nature of the course and the finish area make it necessary to limit the course field. The field has been selling out since back when all the entries were paper! Eventually, they developed a system of accepting the bulk of registrants first-come, first-serve, and then doing a 2nd-Chance Drawing to give those who missed out an opportunity to get in. The 2nd-Chance Drawing accepts entrants for an additional 5 days at $5 an entry and then uses a random drawing to select participants.

Picture1A Seamless Sellout

“Once we learned to drive the software, it’s been easy. It’s easier to guarantee spots and easier to activate Sponsor coupons; the site looks good, it’s user-friendly, and we can send VIP invites. One of the biggest things is that participant search is so much easier, and then updating their info is easier. Some thought has gone into the site setup.” – Brian R.

In 2016, the 2,100 race cap was filled in the first 10 minutes of registration, to race reviews from runners who noticed the smooth, easy process.

“I counted my emails from noon Monday (when registration opened) through Tuesday evening, and I had 24 runner emails. Last year, I had 600 in that same time.”

3Transfers and Runner Satisfaction

Transfers are another way that the race is able to maintain runner goodwill despite shutting participants out due to size limitations. This race allows people who are unable to run to sell their spot and transfer their bib to another runner; generally, around 300-400 people will take advantage of this policy. This flexibility, in addition to the 2nd-Chance Drawing, cuts down on frustration for runners who miss out on initial registration because they know that there will be other opportunities to get into the race.


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!

Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run 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 Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run Case Study focuses on tiered pricing for a sellout race, building bib labels, and differentiating your race to create positive word of mouth. 

View the PDF Version of the Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run Case Study

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Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run and RunSignUp

Picture1 The 2015 Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run came to RunSignUp after hearing about the integration with Race Director during a Webinar, and seeing results of a poll indicating that a high percentage of Race Director users prefer RunSignUp.  The important factors in the move included a lower cost (the race chooses to absorb processing fees), and the potential to better integrate with their club system.

About the Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run:

2015 marked the 12th edition of the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners’ Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run, directed by club member Daniel Todd.  The event was initially named to indicate that runners’ “dogs” (feet) would get dirty…but someone suggested that Daniel allow actual dogs as well, and the idea took off.  Dogs are not only allowed to participate, but are actually encouraged and provided accommodation (at no additional cost).

Offering Low Cost, Tiered Pricing with a Sellout Race

While the race started with just 63 runners, it has grown over the years and now caps out each year. Because of this, Daniel is able to use a unique tiered pricing system that allows him to reward early registrants.

  • The first 100 Runners pay just $15
  • The next 150 Runners pay $25
  • The remaining Runners pay $35Picture2

To accomplish this in the RunSignUp system, Daniel sets the race at $35, and uses publicly posted coupon codes (limited to the number of users for that price range) for the discounted options.

This year, Daniel used the RunSignUp Loyalty Program to give last year’s runners first access to the $15 slots by allowing them to register earlier.  60 runners took advantage of the Loyalty Program access; the remaining $15 registrations sold out in a few hours when regular registration opened.Picture3

Because the race sells out, the tiered pricing allows Daniel to know ahead of time exactly how many registrations will be sold at each price point, and budget accordingly.  This also helps him to maintain a low price point on the race: his goal each year is just to collect enough in registrations to offer runners a good process, make a donation to a local animal shelter, and put a little bit of funding into the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners Club.

 Building Bib Labels for an Easier Packet Pickup

DPicture4aniel used to do Bib Assignment in Race Director; this year, he assigned his bibs in RunSignup and then synced it with Race Director.  He was able to customize his bibs to include ALL information that volunteers at Packet Pickup might find important, including information collected in custom questions (like whether they have a dog and need a bandana).  The system saves his Bib preferences, so he can re-use that bib label.Picture5

The Bib label builder was very easy and saved automatically. Always, no matter what system I use, somewhere in the mix the labels get screwed up and print off the label…this time, every page printed perfectly.  In other words…it WORKED.  That’s the key.”
– Daniel Todd

Communicating with Runners: Widgets & Email Marketing

The Dirty Dog 15K is listed on the WVMTR’s website; to keep traffic there (and engaged with the club), they use a widget on their Club site for sign ups.

“I really like the addition of widgets.  It appears that people are staying on your website; you can customize it and really make it a part of the site.  Our entrant list on our website is just a widget to RunSignup.”

The second tool that Daniel used to keep runners informed was the new Email Marketing system.  He likes to send both pre and post race emails to his runners, and values the ability to use RunSignUp to communicate effectively with those runners.

“One thing we try to do is to make the race a little bit better each year: that much more organized, that much more efficient…the only way you get a good word of mouth is by putting on a good, efficient race with a positive experience for runners.”

Differentiators:  Creating a Unique Race Experience

The goal of every race is to create an experience that differentiates it from other race options. While allowing dogs was more of a post-naming accident, it has become an integral part of why runners to Charleston, West Virginia from throughout the area for the 15K trail run. In 2015, they had runners from 15 states, as far as Florida and Ontario, Canada.

Runners can bring 1-2 dogs; dogs must be on a leash for the first mile, but can run the rest of the race off-leash within eyesight, and running dogs receive a bandana.  There is also a “Top Dog” prize for the first dog to finish.  A full 107 runners (27% of the race) indicated that their dog was running as well.

There are a few other bells and whistles that Daniel uses to set this race apart:

  • Notifications: Because of the remote location, there is no internet and runners cannot get instant notifications; however, notifications are still turned on and go out as soon as an internet connection is made.  For a 400-person race, this is a nice perk even with the delay.  In 2015, 187 SMS notifications, and 168 Email notifications were sent out.
  • Results Scrolling on a TV Screen: Daniel further addresses runners’ desire to see their results instantly by setting up a scrolling results screen on a TV within about 10 minutes of the first runner finishing.
  • Video Results: There are video results for all runners.  This is complicated by the off-sets of having wave starts for a non chip-timed race, but is popular with the runners regardless. Video Bonus: it also helped Daniel to recognize and disqualify a few runners who were running under someone else’s bib, and had “placed” in an incorrect division.Picture8

Why it matters: As a custom question, the race asks runners a multiple choice question regarding how they heard about the race. 40.8% indicated that they had heard from Family/Friend; another 34.4% were previous participants coming back.

That means an overwhelming 75.2% of participants are registering because either they, or someone they know, had a great race experience.Picture7

Photo credit to Mary Shannon Johnstone…fantastic photos and a fantastic race!

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!

Colony Grill Hot Oil 5K 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 Colony Grill Case Study focuses on creating a sell-out race built around a single sponsor.

View the PDF Version of the Colony Grill Hot Oil 5K Case Study

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Overview: The Colony Grill Hot Oil 5K uses a strong sponsor connection and a unique route to build a sell-out event that the community can get behind.

About the Colony Grill Hot Oil 5K: The Colony Grill Hot Oil 5K began in 2010 as a 600-person sell-out race.  Over the last 4 years, they have proven their community value enough to continue building on their participant cap, and have reached a 1,500 sell-out for 2014.

Sponsor Ties: Creating a Race Around ONE Strong Sponsor

The Colony Grill is a 3-location Connecticut Grill.  The Colony Grill 5K is built around the Fairfield edition of the Colony Grill.  The Race does not take additional monetary sponsors (they do have other in-kind sponsors.  This single sponsor model has some unique benefits:


Logistical Benefits of a Sell-Out

598565_10151097940126254_40537915_nBecause they have always sold out, the Colony Grill 5K has never had Race Day Registration.  While non-sell out races may need Race Day registration to reach their potential, reaching a cap well before Race Day has benefits for race preparation. Bib Assignment (done alphabetically), packet preparation, shirt ordering, and arrangements for the post-race party can all be handled ahead of time.  This means no surprises for the Timer or the Race Organizers.

“The Colony Race is unique in many ways due to the location and the amenities provided by the restaurant who coordinates the race.  People love it, and it sells out quickly.  Can’t believe it’s been over 4 years since I moved to RunSignUp.  Still very happy with everything.”
– Tom Kulhawik, HI-TEK Racing, Race Promotion & Online Registration for the Colony Grill 5K

Creating a Sell-Out

The Colony Grill Hot Oil 5K has sold out each year of its existence.  They started with a cap of 600 runners as a trial run: they needed to prove to public officials that they could safely & efficiently close down a main road, and they needed to make sure they understood the logistics of the race. They have slowly been able to increase their participant cap, and today can handle 1500 runners.  A few race features that continue to attract crowds of runners:

  • Unique Course: Finishes on a downhill on a main road, at the front door of the Restaurant
  • Patriotic Feel: Held on Veteran’s Day, the race ends at a giant American Flag hung by Fire Trucks
  • Post-Race Party: The post-race party at the Restaurant includes free beer & pizza for over an hour at the end of the race
  • 374523_10151097936521254_140487634_nFamily Participation: A free kids run (prior to the 5K start), age group awards for 9 & under, 10-13, and 14-18, and a spectator-friendly course encourages making the race a family event
  • Themed awards & giveaways: Bib/shirt pick-up is done using a “Goody Pizza Box” rather than a bag, and champions earn free pizza for a year
  • Community Aid: The race is able to show their commitment to the community by making large donations to the local Fairfield Police and Fire Departments.

Your Site has been invaluable to our Races.”

– Ken Martin Jr., owner of the Colony Grill

Why RunSignUp?

When looking at online registration services, the elements that are important to the Colony Grill team include:

  • Clarity and Simplicity: RunSignUp is easy to use for Runners and Organizers.  The Race is built around the community, not technology, and they want the technology resources to be functional and behind the scenes instead of a focus of the race.
  • Participant Management: Easy, straight-forward collection of participant information for Timing setup and participant communications.
  • Timer Fit: RunSignUp data integrates seamlessly with the Timer, Startline Race Services.
  • 73857_10151097898366254_61162325_nCustomer Friendly: RunSignUp is always happy to provide assistance to the race.
  • Fair Registration FeesThe Pricing structure of RunSignUp keeps costs low for participating runners and families.  Families that sign up together can further save on processing fees because fees are based on transactions, not runners.

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!