Tips & Tricks | Estimated Read time – 8:09
Whether you’re a seasoned event organizer or putting on your first event, your goal is the same: you strive to create an unforgettable experience for each of your participants.
Event organizers who put on memorable endurance events deliver more than just a great race-day experience. They take advantage of every opportunity—pre-race, during the race and post-race—to engage with their participants and create an outstanding event.
To organize a more memorable event experience, the most important thing you need to do is understand who your participants are and design your event around them.
If you’re organizing a 5K fun run, for example, you may want to cater the experience to a laid-back group of participants, while a marathon experience could be geared toward elite athletes.
So, how can you make your endurance event stand out? There are plenty of simple yet effective ways you can give your participants an event experience that will stick with them without adding too much to your already-busy schedule—or wallet!
What’s more, taking these steps can help you build loyalty, drive registrations, attract sponsors, and increase revenue for your event.
In this article, we’ll dive into easy ways you can create a more memorable endurance event that will leave your participants with a lasting impression from start to finish.
Before your event
Engaging with your registered participants in the weeks leading up to your endurance event is a great way to build excitement for your event.
Building a buzz ahead of your event among registrants can drive additional registration through word of mouth. It’s a chance to create event ambassadors out of your existing registrants.
Below are a few things you can do to bolster the pre-event experience for your participants.
1. Make Event Day Stress Free
Delivering a memorable endurance event for your participants can be as simple as making the participant journey seamless and stress-free for your registrants. That means thinking ahead and answering any questions your participants have so they arrive at your event ready to race without any hiccups.
For example, you can create a Pre-Event FAQ video and share it on your social media channels, in your emails, as a participant dashboard message, or as a custom page on your event details page. Tell your participants where they need to be on race day, what time they need to be there, explain the packet-pickup process, and include some tips and tricks for an easy check-in.
Your participants will appreciate your foresight and when it comes time to sign up again next year, they’ll remember how easy it was to participate in your event.
2. Get Your Participants Moving
In the months leading up to your endurance event, your participants are going to be thinking about how they can get race ready. Make it easy for them.
Provide training plans to your registrants they can use to prepare that are customized to your endurance event’s distance.
You can also host challenges that keep your event top of mind and develop friendly competition among participants. For example, you could challenge your registrants to do 30 minutes of activity a day for 30 straight days, or move 60 kilometers in 60 days, and incentivize participation with a draw or giveaway.
How do you organize a challenge when you’ve already got so much on your plate? The answer is Race Roster’s virtual challenge feature—it does the heavy lifting for you. Check out our full breakdown on virtual challenges to find out how.
There are four types of virtual challenges available on Race Roster:
- Time-based — Invite your participants to spend a specific amount of time doing an activity or as much time as possible doing that activity within a specific time frame.
- Tally — Challenge your participants to do a set number of reps of a specific exercise to do or as many reps as possible.
- Elevation — Encourage your participants to cover a specific amount of elevation over a period or as much elevation as possible within a specific time frame.
- Distance — Persuade your participants to get moving in preparation for your event by covering a specific distance.
3) Enhance Packet Pickup
In addition to providing the necessary information your participants need for a seamless packet pickup, as we touched on above, taking the packet pickup experience to the next level will help to make your event stand out.
An enhanced packet pickup experience is not just memorable for participants but can add value for your event’s sponsors or partners.
For example, you could team up with a run specialty store and hold your packet pickup there, offering discounts or coupons that entice participants to shop once they’ve checked in.
You could also run your packet pickup from the location of a fundraising partner to show your participants where their contributions are being used.
During your event
Photos from Jordan’s Run the Runway, where participants take on the Diamond Aircraft runway at the London International Airport!
The starting line is where the main event starts for your participants, and it’s another excellent opportunity for you to create memories they’ll never forget.
These three quick tips can help give your participants a top-notch in-event experience:
- Make Your Course Memorable — Design your race’s route around your location’s best features so participants can take in scenic views they won’t forget, like moving along a beautiful waterfront or through a picturesque park. Other alternatives for memorable routes can include planning your event in an unusual place, like on the runways of a small local airport or at a beautiful golf course. You could also spice up your normal event route with fun and encouraging signage, live music played through speakers set up along the course, or exciting Cheering Stations (keep reading for more on that).
- Create a Great Experience for Everyone — Turn your endurance event into a fun experience everyone can enjoy, including those who aren’t taking part in the race. Reach out to members of the local entertainment scene and explore the idea of live music at your event. Connect with food and beverage vendors from around the area about setting up trucks or booths. This will create an unforgettable atmosphere for participants and supporters alike and help build the reputation of your event so you can attract more potential participants and sponsors.
- Cheer ‘Em On — Take your event’s Cheering Stations to the next level by delivering an on-course experience everyone will remember. Set up unique Cheering Stations around your course that give participants and spectators unforgettable experiences—one Cheering Station could feature a high school band, another led by a cheerleading team, and another equipped with bubble machines. Then give out a “Spectator Cheering Map” as part of packet pickup so your participant’s loved ones know where they go to cheer!
After your event
Your participants have crossed the finish line and another awesome event is in the books. Now’s the time for you to capitalize on your endurance event’s momentum and start building excitement for next year’s edition!
These three ideas will help you do just that:
Drive Home Results
Act quickly in the days after your event to share results with your participants, highlighting their accomplishment and shine a light on the overall experience.
We recommend creating an engaging results page you can share with each participant that includes event results and leaderboards, and allows you to get creative with a variety of content. You can generate personalized finisher certificates for each participant, add and assign customized event awards, or host a photo contest for your participants with the Race Roster photo gallery feature!
Incorporating these tools into your post-event plans helps your participants relive the entire experience and gets them excited about next year’s event.
2. Add Your Personal Touch
Your participants expect to hear from you before and during your event, but they might be pleasantly surprised to get a personalized message when the event is in the books.
Using email personalization tools like merge tags and audience segmentation, you can send customized messages to your participants following your event that can help build anticipation for next year.
For example, an email to first-time participants that congratulates them on their accomplishment and offers an early opportunity to reserve their spot for next year. Or to multiple-time registrants that thanks them for their loyalty and includes a discount code for your next event.
3. Set Participants on the Road to Recovery
Like challenges and training plans can help your participants get set for your endurance event, post-event recovery plans are useful for bouncing back better than ever afterwards.
Helping your participants with post-race recovery can be as simple as sharing helpful articles or websites that outline plans for specific distances. You could also reach out to a local nutritionist or physiotherapist about a partnership: they provide you with a list of helpful post-event tips to share with your participants and you promote their business as part of your event.
Consider delivering your post-race recovery tips to your participants as an email that lands in their inboxes during your event—that way they’ll have it as soon as they need it. If your event includes multiple distances, you can use audience segmentation to ensure participants of certain distances get recovery plans best suited to their endurance level.
Whoever your participants are, every event experience—from pre-race to post-race—should be built from the customer up. As the event organizer, starting there will help you come up with fun, attainable ideas that will make your event unforgettable.