Running is a multi-gender sport, but when it comes to competition, often men make up the majority of those who attempt some of the biggest and most competitive races. If you are race organizer and want to target more females to make your event more diverse, there are ways to attract more women to your event. Obviously, one of the most successful campaigns for races and competitions is the Sarah G Komen walk for breast cancer. You don’t have to make it an all-female competition to get women excited, however. You just have to make them feel as if the deck isn’t stacked against them and that they will be recognized for their hard work too.
There is nothing worse than training as hard as you can and knowing that you won’t ever come in first place, or be recognized. Often, when it comes to running races, only the top finishers are ever acknowledged. That leaves men stealing the spotlight in many events, and it might be leading to less engagement in female populations. If women feel as if their efforts are for naught, they might feel as if they are out of their league joining your race. The reality is that if you leave 50% of the population out of target niche market, you are going to miss out on a huge segment of the population both figuratively and literally.
If you want to attract more women to your race, then you might want to consider different tiers of your running track. If you separate out where the women start and finish from where the men do, then they feel as if they can compete more fairly. Having different starting points and making participants aware that there will be a separation not just for running, but for recognition for winners, is an excellent way to encourage women runners by allowing them the acknowledgment from running your race that they might not get from another race.
If you want to attract more women to your race, then try making it a woman’s awareness run. It isn’t just breast cancer that attracts women runners. Things like Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer, which affects more women than men, and things like Parkinson’s Disease are all causes that typically affect women more, simply because they tend to care give those who are afflicted with certain diseases. If you make your run about a cause, and one that tends to attract women more or even equally as men, then they will feel more vested to help in your fundraiser and to join your race over one that doesn’t have the same “meaning” or investment.
Women are more prone to get involved with races that include the entire family. Wanting to have their family by their side, if you offer family-friendly pre and post parties or even have activities that include families, then you are going to attract more women than if you don’t. Women have a hard time leaving the family behind to take the time to travel for competitive races. If you make it an event that the whole family wants to engage in and to root mom on, then you are more likely to not just target women, but family units, which will bring in a whole lot of participants and profit.
If you find sponsors that are geared toward women consumers, then they will attract more females to the event through marketing and advertising. Whether you are starting up a small community run or a large scale international one, getting female-geared product sponsors will make females feel like they are not only welcomed but wanted. The sponsors will also help do the marketing for you on their end. So, you will both reap the benefit of working together to get more female participants onboard and another company's marketing resources and iconic female symbolism.
Women are born runners too. But, not all of them are competitive or want to compete with men. If you want to up your women participation rate, try marketing to them in a way that they will feel valued, welcomed, and as if all their hard work will be just as recognized as their male counterparts.