Race Trends

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Bill Crothers
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Race Trends

Postby Dstew » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:28 pm

http://runningmagazine.ca/racing-and-ru ... r-in-2017/

The summary or meat of the article:

At Run Calgary, we love innovating to meet and exceed the expectation of today’s runner. It’s no longer enough to impress participants simply with an abundance of bananas and a shiny medal. Runners now want more!

The expectation of today’s runner is different today than it was even five years ago. Participants want to be delighted and surprised. Of course you need to start by hitting all the necessities such as a well-organized event, a certified and sanctioned course and sufficient volunteers and supplies, but that alone is not enough.

We are in the business of putting on road races but the expectation is now that it’s a production. Entertainment used to be a bonus; now it is absolutely required. Exceptional medals and t-shirts are the bare minimum. Runners now want extra medals, more swag and unique selling features.

In addition, we focus on surprising and delighting participants with an experience they will never forget. From the moment they sign up until after they finish the race, they will be engaged, inspired and stimulated with a journey we take with them as race organizers. Being a race director means being dynamic, adaptive, listening to your audience and delivering on their expectations. Despite the challenges, it’s still the best job in the world

I do not necessarily disagree but the MEC races in Calgary seem to be a huge success. They are adding more races every year and now expanding into trial races. A timing chip, aid stations and a reasonable fee is attracting significant numbers of runners.

The problem I see is that the cost to "entertain" continues to raise but the market is such that they really cannot increase race fees any more. I would not be surprised to see "big" fancy races, MEC races and the small charity races eventually vanish.

For me, after this year there might be a race or three I will do NOT run by MEC but I do see a time when I am doing nothing but the MEC events.

Edit: The Calgary Marathon is providing a lovely finisher medal for all the races. They commissioned a well known Canadian Artist and it is quite a nice design. BUT ... it is exactly the same medal for every distance other than the number of kilometers one ran. There is a small and petty part of my me that is glad I am not running the marathon for the "reward" is basically the same regardless of distance. So I do feel for Race Directors. Even more so for Calgary. The 50, 42.2, 21.1 and 10 K all were to cross over the 12th Street SE bridge. For as long as I can remember, that bridge has formed at least a part of the route. They closed it down to vehicles last year and were to completely tear it down next year. But an engineer found it was unsafe and so it is now closed. The next closest bridge is 2 kilometers away so it is not going to be an easy task to find a new route for 4 distances and aid stations and ...

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Bill Crothers
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Hull, QC

Re: Race Trends

Postby mas_runner » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:54 pm

With all these races cropping up with gimmicks like throwing coloured powder, foam cannons, zombies etc. I am now drawn further towards the no-frills MEC and Run Ottawa free races. Just give me a closed course to run on and a time chip/timer and I am as happy as a pig in sh..mud.

I am happy for people to get into physical activity and have fun with their friends with the gimmicky races but I enjoy the racing part of the race.
5th Sep 2015 - Run Ottawa free 5km - 21:05
21st Jun 2015 - UR 4 Men's Cancers 10km - 45:45
16th Jun 2013 - UR 4 Men's Cancers 15km - 1:11:44
16th Apr 2016 - MEC 10 miler - 1:20:21
12th Apr 2015 - EY R4R Half Marathon - 1:41:15
26th May 2013 - Ottawa Marathon - 3:43:51

2017 races - coming up
7th May - Defi Entreprise 10km
28th May - Ottawa Half Marathon
17th Sep - Army Run Half Marathon

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Lynn Williams
Posts: 19368
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:50 am
Location: Ottawa

Re: Race Trends

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:08 pm

I think what's great about running is that we can all come to it for different reasons and with different perspectives and goals, and those can change over time. With the popularity of running now, there can be events that cater to different groups and that's ok! When I first started running, I had more free time and more disposable income so I raced more frequently, doing 6-10 races in a year. Plus since I was new, PBs were easier to come by and I was hitting new distance milestones. Now with over 10 years into the sport, the reasons I race are different. Because of my time constraints and family schedule, I can't race as frequently as I used to, and when I do, it's usually to test my speed at a particular distance. I have more medals and shirts than I could ever need, but I do want an accurately measured and timed course. No one motivation is better than another, and i"m happy there are races for all audiences! :)
Jesse's 2017 Plans
April - Boston Marathon
May - Sporting Life Ottawa 10K
May - Ottawa Half Marathon

Bill Crothers
Posts: 3456
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Race Trends

Postby Dstew » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:46 pm

When I was looking at races, I will admit one criteria of mine was how well would I do in a 10 K race against my peers and the field. I was shocked to see many of the smaller charity races with less then 100 10 K runners and less then 75 was no uncommon. So when I read the article about the issues faced by Race Directors, I wondered how much of an issue it was for the charity runs. After I posted, I went back and was pleasantly surprised to see in those same races, close to 300 people doing the 5 K distance.

I am not fooling myself to believe I am a great humanitarian but one nice thing about timed events when I was first running was that I was running for Prostate, neo-natal, brain injuries, Alzheimer. I did not collect any donations and I do appreciate only a small portion of my fee went to the charity but it was a win / win. I still wear the cotton shirts races gave out at the time. Most did not do medals. I cannot judge too harshly as one of the best things about the Moose Mountain Race last year was a very cool hoodie.

So upon further reflection, I agree with the notion that we have a lot of nice choices. Run in a for profit race or one for charity. Run for a medal, a technical shirt and swag or on a closed course with a chip and some water. Although not my cup of tea, from zombies or through dye. But having said that, no way I would want to be a race director. The problem with races are they are full of runners. One is paying good money but some of the complaints I hear and my eyes roll back into my skull. I have heard of someone complain about the quality of the drop bag. It has to be a completely thankless job.

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