This COVID-19 crisis is nothing anyone ever expected. And it’s hit us all hard.

For the next who-knows-how-many months the outlook for the industry is pretty bleak. That means a lot of race directors having more free time on their hands than they’d like.

So what do you do when you can’t put on races?

Here’s a few suggestions to keep you busy and get you to pole position for when things get back to normal.

Build your skills & launch new assets

Picking up new skills that can help you bounce back stronger when this crisis is over is probably one of the best uses you can make of any down time you get during this period.

What kinds of skills?

Marketing, for example. It’s something you can work on online and there’s tons of quality free resources out there to help you up your game, from Facebook and email marketing to SEO.

And you can start right here, with our in-depth marketing resources and online race marketing courses, which we’ve now made available to everyone for free.

Would you like to own your own running group on Facebook, that you can tap into to grow your race and website traffic? There’s a step-by-step course to help you get there.

Or how about launching that Instagram page you’ve always wanted to have for your race? With more and more people forced to stay at home, there’s never been a better time to give that a go.

Now is the time to start developing your next big marketing channel – go for it.

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💡 Did you know our race directors group operates a mentorship program? So if you need to pick up new skills – or want to share your experience with others – you can come sign up as mentor or mentee for free.

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Revamp your race course map

If you’ve never been fully satisfied with your race course map, or want to go that one step further, this down period is a great time to consider giving it a lift.

There’s many tools to help you get a 10/10 result with your map. Here’s a few free options we’ve looked at and recommend, but you may have you own ideas of what you want to use and that’s great, as long as it gets the job done.

Beyond just maps, you can also consider making a 3D flyover tour of you race using Google Earth. It’s really simple once you create your flat race course map and export it to a KML file, which most of the tools in this article can do for you. Here’s the full instructions for making your own race course flyover.

Refresh your race documents

When was the last time you did a thorough review of your emergency planning docs? Your risk assessment? Race terms & conditions? Volunteer training manuals?  Even your race budget?

Well, whenever that may have been, this is the time to have another close look at all of them. Not only because COVID-19 probably made you think you’d want to tweak you refund policies and cancellation clauses. But also because you’ll never again have the luxury of time to focus on these things in depth. So make this time count.

If you have no documents at all, or want a clean start, take a look at our how-to’s on risk assessments, T&C’s and race budgets, complete with free templates you can download and use to create your own.

Try new tools & technologies

When race season is in full swing, there’s always a good reason to do things the way you’ve always done them. So, having a bit of time can help you reflect on your usual ways of doing things – and perhaps try to improve them.

For instance, those endless, bloated spreadsheets…Is it time you consider moving your race planning to a proper project management tool? This is the time for it.

Try any of Asana, Trello, Smartsheet – all amazing free collaborative project management tools which you and your team are going to love. Go on – put a few hours in today to save yourself hundreds of team hours (and headaches) in years to come.

And don’t just stop at project management tools: Automate your social media posting with Buffer. Up your marketing game by finally setting up that Google Analytics account. Install a Facebook pixel on your website to be able to target your website visitors with ads about your race. Sign up for Google Console so you can monitor what search keywords people use to reach your website.

Invest in your business by putting in the time now to modernise your processes and supercharge your productivity.

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💡 Interested in more quality free tools and resources? Check out these crisis-busting tech deals on all kinds of software, from video conferencing and graphic design to team collaboration and more.

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Compile a list of relevant race calendars

When things normalise again, and races begin to come back, you’ll want to give yourself a head start promoting your race – ideally for free.

You can prepare for all that now by compiling a list of all the race calendars your race can be listed on, and be ready to send out your event details as soon as you have confirmed your next race date.

To build your list, start with these free race calendars and work from there to add more local or niche websites that might be relevant to your event type and location.

Cement your relationships with key stakeholders

Just about everyone in our industry is hurting right now. That means not only races and race directors, but also vendors, sponsors, local communities and everyone in the middle.

It is in times like these when going out of your way to help a partner in trouble can make the world of difference. So make the most of any opportunity you get to strengthen relationships and help people out.

If your sponsor pulls their sponsorship because they’re struggling during the crisis or need to re-prioritise resources, help them out. Spend some time to figure out how you can make them keep their sponsorship while deferring or restructuring your fee. If your sponsors matter to you, find a way to make it work for them.

With vendors too try to be as helpful as you can when you’re forced to cancel or postpone events. How you go about all that will have a lasting impact on your industry standing and reputation.

Every one of your stakeholders will remember you for what you did for them during this crisis. So use this opportunity to leave your mark as a reliable and fair partner who sticks with people through difficult times.

And finally…

Take good care of yourself. And, wherever possible, help others.

If you have race supplies you are not going to use, find a way to donate them to someone who needs them. If you can get your event volunteers involved in contributing to the efforts to alleviate this crisis, consider doing so.

Whatever you do, keep safe. Stick with it. Make it through the other end – there’ll still be putting on races then and we need your race to be part of it.

 

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