They come in all different sizes and themes and, if done right, they can be lucrative for not only your parks and recreation program, but for your entire town.
Races and walks are among the most popular parks and recreation department activities out there and with so many fitness-focused and fun loving participants, the sky’s the limit with these events.
Here are six ways to ensure you have a great race:
1. Have a great location
We know, we’re preaching to the choir, but hear us out. Location is so much more than the race or walk route. A great location means there’s enough parking for the participants and the spectators, adequate facilities and that it’s accessible to everyone.
2. Have a race or walk route that’s doable by people of all levels
Unless you’re holding qualifying races for the Olympics, chances are people are probably doing your race for the enjoyment of it, so make sure people of all fitness levels and abilities are able to participate. Is your route open to wheelchairs? What about parents with strollers?
3. Be selective of what you charge
Yes, more people will participate if the race is low or no cost, but think about why you’re having the event to begin with. If the race is a fundraiser, people will be willing to pay and pay more than if the race is just part of a larger event or festival for example.
4. Pick a great theme
From Ugly Christmas Sweater 5ks and Zombie Runs to Runs for Wine or Beer or Color Runs, there’s really no shortage of existing themes to choose from for your next race or walk. This also can serve as a great opportunity to get creative. Is your town known for something? Why not try to center a race theme around that.
5. Get health and fitnessgeared businesses to sign on
Partner with the local health food store to offer granola post race, invite the running shoe store down to do proper fittings, or have an area chiropractor on site for alignments or shoulder massages. The businesses will benefit from the exposure and the race will benefit from the cross marketing.
6. Get the word out
Fun runs and races benefit from marketing across many different platforms. Use social media and engage with local runner’s groups, send emails to past participants, put up flyers at businesses along the route or where your target audience frequents and, if you’re planning far enough in advance, put the race in your catalog. If you’re starting a new race, you could add a race-training class to your lineup and include the race in the cost for the course.