LAST UPDATED: 8 November 2023
Building a Race Series
Ultra X co-founder Sam Heward shares the joys and challenges of building a new race series business from scratch.
Building a race from the ground up, as anyone who’s done it will know, is a tough business. But what about planning, coordinating and growing a whole series of races, all with a common theme and brand identity?
How do you finance and grow multiple races from scratch? How do you choose when and where to launch a new race? And how can you make use of local delivery partners to deliver new races on a budget, while ensuring your quality standards and vision are adhered to?
That’s what we’ll be discussing today with my guest Sam Heward. As the co-founder of Ultra X, the multi-stage ultraramathon world series, Sam has been at the forefront of one of the fastest-growing race series concepts of the last few years, and with his help we’re going to be taking a deep dive into the benefits and challenges of setting up a race series from scratch, including the constant strive for brand consistency, the process of cross-pollinating ideas and small successes between events, and some of the difficulties of coordinating equipment, staff and sponsorship sales across multiple event locations.
In this episode:
- Spotting gaps in the endurance event market
- Putting together a business plan and testing the waters
- Developing a brand that matches the race series' values and mission, and sets it up for long-term success
- Finding your race series' unique selling proposition in a crowded market
- Growing a race series through repeat participation
- Engaging with your audience through multiple channels year-round
- Outsourcing event planning and operations to local event delivery partners
- Using registration fees to bootstrap growth
- Learning and iterating faster with multiple similar events around the year
- The challenges of negotiating series-wide sponsors across multiple regions
Thanks to RunSignup for supporting quality content for race directors by sponsoring this episode. More than 28,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. If you'd like to learn more about RunSignup's all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events visit runsignup.com.