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Turn Your Event into a Runcation

Having solid local participation and support for your race is important. At RaceDirector, we know you need the local running community to support your event. Not only are these people your participants, but they are also the business owners who may provide sponsorship or be your volunteer base. Maybe the way to grow your event and have it stand out is to broaden the geographic appeal and look for an opportunity to turn your event into a runcation.

Turn Your Event into a Runcation

If this is a new term you have not heard yet, let us digress for a moment. A runcation is a trip that someone plans to an area of interest that also includes participating in an organized running event. One of the most popular examples are the running events at Disney parks. People will come and spend up to a week visiting the park and surrounding area, and also run a 5k to marathon distance event. Of course, most people dress up in costumes and make it a family affair as well. Bay to Breakers is another destination event that draws 50,000 that may or may not wear much of anything!

The point is that many people these days are looking for a more active adventure when they travel. Not everyone wants to lay in a lounge chair all day holding a drink with a tiny umbrella. Whether you have an established event or are looking to create a brand new one, there could be an opportunity to widen the appeal of your event to a broader audience. The key to creating an effective destination event is to highlight your community and surrounding areas.

What are the kinds of activities and events that define your community? Are there natural attractions such as parks, lakes, rivers, and trails that people seek out already? Maybe your community has a rich history going back hundreds of years. Is your community agricultural or industrial? It could be a unique product or company associated with your town. What are the people in your area most proud of, or identify with the most? Whatever it might be, be sure and build around something that has permanence. To create a lasting destination event that draws well every year avoid choosing something too trendy as your centerpiece.

Related: Choosing a Route for Your Running Event

If you are starting a new event and want to create this kind of appeal, then take a look at the community calendar of events and festivals in your area. You might see another established non-running event that could be a good fit to add a running component. If there is already a big, festive event taking place, you can piggy-back off the established excitement. Another plus is that your local community is probably already supporting this event in a big way. Here is an example: Your community has a three-day hot air balloon festival that draws 30,000+ every year. Lots of food vendors, music, and art as well. The morning of a launch you could stage a 5K on a course that will give runners awesome views of the hot air balloons as they drift upward into the breaking dawn.

Existing events can always add distance options to the schedule to try to increase registration, however, moving your race to coincide with an existing event may make an even more significant impact. Instead of competing for the attention of locals or visitors to your community, join forces and make everything bigger and better for everyone! Another side benefit for your event will be a larger audience to entice sponsors to get involved.

There are innumerable variations of events like this that you could partner with to add another festive event to the weekend. Reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau may be another great place to start. Talk to them about what you are trying to create and they may have some excellent suggestions on who to work with to make it happen. Another bonus is they will help promote your event as well!

Related: Does Your Race make an Economic Impact?

Creating a destination event is easy if you are Napa Valley or Disneyland. You are going to have to be a bit more creative if you are a local hamlet of 5,000 that not many people have ever heard of before. Runners like the quirky and unusual. Find that unique element of your town and build on it. Get the locals to support you by celebrating your community and invite the world to join the party!

See for yourself how RaceDirector can help you save money on race registration fees while maximizing your time with robust race management features.

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