When races grow from scratch, particularly as passion projects, there often comes a time where growth grinds to a halt. Participation seems to gradually plateau around a few hundred participants and any progress beyond that seems impossible.
So, how do you break through this resistance point to grow a race from the hundreds to the thousands? What changes should you make to your team and event to take your growth to the next level? And how do you manage this next stage of growth while avoiding the pitfalls that come with growing too fast?
That’s what we’ll be discussing today with my guest, Glass City Marathon race director, Clint McCormick. When it comes to systematically scaling up races, Clint has been there, done that and got the T-shirt, having grown the Glass City Marathon from a club race of a few hundred runners to a nationally recognised event of almost 10,000 runners, while increasing revenues for the race by over 20 times in the process.
In our discussion today we are going to be touching on all the key elements for success in scaling up a race, including race branding and rebranding, building processes and systems for the long run, analyzing and reinventing your product offering to make it more appealing to sponsors, and using sponsorship to fuel your future growth. All this while putting safeguards in place to make sure you don’t grow too fast and get yourself into trouble.
In this episode:
- Moving a race from volunteer staff to professional/paid staff
- Understanding your brand and rebranding your race
- Nurturing local runners from 5K through to longer-distance events
- Examining your race distance offering and culling/adding events accordingly
- Fueling growth through sponsorships, and building a product that sponsors want
- Tips on scaling up your team
- The pitfalls of growing too fast
- Managing growth sustainably by capping participant numbers
- Investing in race ambassadors and other grassroots marketing programs
- In-house marketing vs employing a marketing agency
Thanks to RunSignup for supporting quality content for race directors by sponsoring this episode. 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. If you'd like to learn more about RunSignup's all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events visit runsignup.com.
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