Designing Actionable Race Surveys

Most races only come around once a year. So when you’re working to improve a race for your participants, you’ve got precious few opportunities to receive feedback from them. How do you use those opportunities right? And what feedback should you look to gather from them?

Well, my guest today, Laurel Park, has the unique privilege of being both a race director and a PhD in survey design, and has helped countless organizations develop effective surveys that leverage customer feedback to inform strategic decisions. As the President of the Ann Arbor Track Club, Laurel knows running and races inside out, and today she’ll help us understand how to craft an actionable race survey, how to maximize survey response rates, and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls of survey design, like asking things you shouldn’t care to know about or asking things you do care to know about in a way that delivers poor quality or unusable results.

If you do send out a race survey after your event, or have thought of doing so, this is an excellent crash course in getting the most of the one shot you get each year to gather productive feedback from your participants.

In this episode:

  • The purpose of a race survey
  • Working backwards from what you need to know to what you're going to ask
  • Collecting demographic information from respondents
  • Do people respond truthfully to surveys?
  • Reducing survey friction and question bloat
  • Avoiding distractions/cognitive load with clean survey styling
  • Types of questions to ask and areas to explore with your race survey
  • Avoiding leading respondents with biased question phrasing
  • Using open-ended vs close-ended questions
  • Best practices for sharing your race survey
  • Increasing survey response rates with incentives
  • Survey software options for designing your race survey
  • Analyzing and presenting survey results

Many thanks to our podcast sponsors, RunSignup and Racecheck, for supporting our efforts to provide great, free content to the race director community:

RunSignup are the leading all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events. More than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. Find out more at

Racecheck can help you collect and showcase your participant reviews on your race website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants, with the help of their Racecheck Review Box. Download yours for free today at

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