There are some races and events that create buzz and others that remain local. If you are looking to create a race series that will have an amazing turnout and will have people coming back year after year, there are specific things that you have to instill into the race that makes people excited about it. If you build a fun race series, they will come. But, it is all about defining who you are as a race organization, what you offer racers that other runs don’t, and having a niche that no one else does.
The success of race series like the bone frog race, the rock ’n roll series and themed runs like the shamrock shuffle catch on like wildfire because they either offer a one of a kind experience for runners or they create nostalgia for the runner that makes them want it to be an annual thing. To be a successful race series, you have to be the place to be, by making yourself the place to be.
Race series have the cool factor because people know there is more to come. Like watching a sequel, they have a certain “belong” factor that gets people invested. Whether it is because they know what to expect, they know that the race will be run properly, or they enjoy some aspect of what comes with the series, having the potential of more than one by creating a series gives your race a little more credibility.
A series can mean that you either offer it annually or that the race is run in several cities either on the same day or separate days around the year. The one that works best for your race is really dependent on if you want to travel and put on a show or you want to stay put and have the same runners commit to coming back year after year.
Traveling series are cool because it is almost like collecting. Runners want to see how many of the series they can make it to. Like checking things off a list, if you hold your series around the country, competitors can earn credit by saying that they have been to many different places following your race around. The more places that you have the series run, not only are you going to get repeat registrants; you are going to have a new place to pull participants from, which will equal high registration numbers.
If you are looking to have the race run annually and want to make it a tradition or favorite, then you are going to want to create a niche. The rock ’n roll series created one of the most successful race series by adding in bands and concerts to play while people run the race and offer a day of fun for those who want to come and be a spectator. Offering some seriously famous bands, you might not have the resources to provide a series on that level, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find your niche.
The Tough Mudder race series is highly popular because the series is run in the mud. Although not for everyone, if you are someone who wants to say “I’ve done it”, the Tough Mudder is for you. Once you do it, you are likely to want to do it every time just to say you did. Often when you create a series, you get groups of people who get to know each other.
If you can create a community like most fun runs do, then the runners aren’t just coming for your race, they are coming to see people they have competed with in the past, try to beat their own time, and just join in the sense of oneness that has been created through your race series.
Although it can seem overwhelming enough to have your first race, little less adding a series to the mix, if you can do it once, then you can repeat it and do it as many times as you want. Not only will getting people to come back again be a breeze but putting on the event becomes simple like a routine, so that there aren’t any hidden surprises.
Race series is kind of like a book that comes out with a series to follow. There is a reason that people like series. They feel comfortable with the characters, the book becomes more evolved, and people get to meet people and see them again and again. It creates a sense of community among people who would never have know one another.
If you build a series appropriately, runners will come. You just have to decide what you can offer that will be attractive to a niche market and if you want to travel or stay still. The key is to promise more up front to make them want a taste. Then once they have a taste, make it good enough that they want to dive in for more.