How to successfully promote a running event

by On Nov 24, 2019

It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.

How to successfully promote a running event in 2020

After taking part in countless running events around the globe, I have come to realise that the running events that are successful in bringing in the crowd always have similar characteristics. More often than not, it is marketed and the business behind the sport that plays a huge role.

After all, running is running and no matter how creative you get, there is not much that can change. Despite this, there are some running events that are more successful in drawing in the crowds and have even been able to inspire, attract and entice participants better as compared to other events.

How is this possible and what makes such events so special? This article explains what are the ingredients that go into successfully promoting a running event.

Event Themes

Some runners may be big on themes as it gives them the opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves. Some famous races that adopt themes would be the Rock n Roll Marathon Series, Star Wars Run, Yolo Run and the National Geographic Earth Day Run, just to name a few.

How to successfully promote a running event in 2020

All these runs have a message behind them, and this attracts the crowds because they too believe in the message that the event is conveying. Not only that, believing in something provides participants a heightened sense of self-esteem and a sense of belonging.

This has positive effects in the long run as participants get to meet like-minded individuals through participation in such events. These events not only present an opportunity for runners to put in some good mileage but also allows them to discover themselves and pursue their passion for running.

Efficient and user-friendly registration system

There are several online platforms where runners can log on to register for their next race. These websites are not only user friendly, but also have a large viewership and customer base. They are household names in the running event industry and using these websites is a guarantee that your registration goes through without disruption.

With these websites, you can be assured that the race you are signing up for with your hard- earned money is going to be an enjoyable one. Due to the reputation of these websites, it is almost a no-brainer that your race registration will likely come with a finisher medal, finisher tee and a goody bag for you to enjoy after your race.

It is no wonder that events that are great at attracting large crowds have utilized such websites because they bring a sense of comfort to the person registering for the race because they know that they are going to get their money’s worth.

Bring in famous and accomplished athletes

What better way to promote a running event by bringing in world famous runners! Imagine if you, as an amateur runner, get to run alongside some of the greats such as Mo Farah and Tirunesh Dibaba?

How to successfully promote a running event in 2020

Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah, CBE OLY is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history.

This is a great way to promote running events as participants not only want to run the race, but if given his opportunity, do so with the best in the business.

Bringing in the greats also gives participants the chance to come up close and personal with these highly talented athletes and this is indeed an experience that will not come by often for the amateur runner.

Hence, running enthusiasts will see it as an incentive for signing up for the event to take advantage of this rare opportunity.

On top of all this, bringing in big named athletes is bound to attract sponsorships and media attention which is an extremely lucrative method of promoting an event.

Social media platforms

Well, this speaks for itself. Social media has become so widespread that is a great tool to promote just about anything. And this includes running events. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are some great platforms that are used.

No doubt, a successful marketing campaign requires a strong social media element and this is an essential ingredient in promoting a running event.

Social media also enhances the popularity of the event by word-or-mouth because it provides runners with talking points when they like, share and comment on posts by running event organisers.

International accreditations

Time to get a little more technical. So, all of you veteran runners out there, this is sure to rattle your tail feathers.

How to successfully promote a running event in 2020

International accreditations such as the IAAF Gold, Silver and Bronze labels as well as the World Marathon Majors does indeed give a running event a high level of prestige, but there is also another purpose and that is, for marketing and promotion.

Events are promoted with the use of such accreditations to attract the crowd as well as elite athletes because it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. Also, these accreditations are awarded by institutions that are well established in the market that can pull in sponsors to generate profits.

Having these accreditations to endorse an event attracts the masses as well as the more serious runners who take their running pursuits to a higher level.

Big name sponsors

This brings in the next ingredient of how to successfully promote a running event. Big name sponsors such as Nike, adidas, Under Armour and Puma are brands that are not unfamiliar to the running industry.

Having such brands as the title sponsor, platinum sponsor or main sponsor of the running event will draw in the crowds as participants are looking to get some free branded merchandise that they can show-off at their next running club training session.

Not only that, big name sponsors will attract media attention and a world-wide audience.

Attractive finisher medal designs

My ultimate favourite! Nothing represents a running event better than having an attractive finisher medal that participants can display in their homes.

How to successfully promote a running event in 2020

If the finisher medal is attractive enough, this will certainly raise the number of registrations as participants will regard that particular finisher medal as a must-have in their precious medal collections.

Attractive finisher medals also ensure the sustainability of the event as participants are likely to come back the following year to participate again and may even invite their friends and family along too.

The route

To successfully promote a running event, it is always a good idea to plan the route in such a way that it goes through scenic areas or historical and prominent places. This is highly likely to draw in the crowds.

Participants want to get the most out of their race and some may travel from other countries to take part. If they are able to sightsee and explore a new city and earn a finisher medal at the end of it, this would certainly arouse the interest of runners and push them to sign up for the race.

In case you were wondering why running events are so popular these days, hopefully this article has given you some insight into how organisers successfully promote their events!

Are there any ideas popping out in your mind after reading this article? Comment down below and share your ideas!

Ryan is a sports enthusiast who believes in the power of sports to achieve personal growth. He is an avid athlete and loves to explore the world. He is the Founder of Thinking Movement, a Medium publication focussed on providing insights and solutions to issues pertaining to sustainability, social justice, inclusion, mental health and self-help.

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