Coronavirus - Race Options and Best Practices

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CREATIVE SOLUTIONS

We have a lot of truly impressive customers who are using their creativity to help them navigate this crisis. This page will be updated regularly with new ideas and inspiration.

Contents

 

Creative Uses of the Postponement Tool

 

Big Hoopla 4 Miler: Postponement Tool, without Postponement

We called it the Postponement Tool (race >> cancel or postpone race), and most races are using it with options...but it can also just be a simple, clear way to leave cancellation (or other) message on your website.

The Big Hoopla 4 Miler simply kept all options turned off and added their own personal messaging for participants navigating to the site. In conjunction with an effective email  and social media strategy, this can be a smart way to make sure participants aren't confused by old information on your site.

 

Oakland Running Festival: Postponement Pop-Up Tool for Participant Self-Management

The Oakland Running Festival is using the Pop-Up tool for options - but not the built-in options. Instead, they turned off all automated options, and used the text for the pop-up to provide their options. These included both an option that required no action (staying registered for the new date in August) and options that required action (deferring or opting for a virtual run). For the options that required an action, they outlined the participant management instructions for the runner to defer their registration or transfer to the virtual run. 

This method means the race director does not have to manually transfer runners based on their report, but make it clear for the runners what actions they need to take.

 

Art Car IPA 5K: Skip the Postponement Tool

The Art Car IPA 5K wanted clean, simple messaging for their options, but wanted a different look and process from the pop-up. Key factors included:

  • They had a confirmed date for a postponement
  • They had a confirmed date for the 2021 race

The offered:

  • Stay in the race (no action needed)
  • Run virtually (get swag at the postponed packet pickup)
  • Defer to 2021

The steps they took were:

  • Update the race date
  • Create a new Virtual Event Option
  • Turn on Deferrals
  • Set deadlines for the Virtual Event and Deferral options

For runner communications, they sent clear email communications to direct runners:

  • To stay in the race for the new date, do nothing
  • To change to the virtual event, they included instructions for transferring events (like these)
  • To defer, they included instructions for deferrals (like these)
  • All deadlines are included in their email

Voila! Race, updated.

 

 

Creative Running Store Community 

Like many running stores, Philadelphia Runner does more than sell shoes – they run multiple group runs each week, offer a training team, partner on the Philly 10K race each summer, and generally provide support and community. When restrictions started to roll in, they jumped into action with the hashtag #KeepPhillyRunnning and a plan to do just that.

Their new Facebook Group, PR Solo encourages the community keep running (and keep engaging) from a distance with a two-pronged approach:

  • Encourage local runners to regularly share their (safe and solo) run photos, routes, and questions for encouragement and connection.
  • Offer a weekly challenge that runners can try to complete, with a few (optional) courses marked in chalk and complete flexibility to do the challenge anywhere and at anytime (yes, a treadmill counts).

The first two weeks have seen runners trying for their fastest mile and fastest 5K – but the winners aren’t the speediest, they’re drawn randomly from the runners who share photos on social media.
In just less than two weeks, the Facebook Group they created has nearly 1000 runners and dozens of posts each day. And when the stores reopen (or when runners need new shoes from their online store), runners will remember that the store and all its employees were with them throughout the worst of it – a part of their community, not just a vendor to it.

 

A Creative Virtual Challenge

Fusion Race Timing is turning the Virtual Race model on its head and using social media to promote a hyper-interactive challenge for runners to participate in throughout a ~6 week period. To make the program more interactive, there are several steps:

  • Runners register for the Hoppy Runner Virtual Challenge
  • Runners opt to either complete 50 miles by the end of the challenge, or 100 miles. 50 mile finishers will get a medal and 100 mile finishers will get both a medal and a shirt (shipped to them)
  • Runners join a private Facebook Group created for the challenge
  • Each day, Fusion adds a post for anyone to report their miles for the day, which runners report with an image of their tracking device
  • Fusion Racing updates each runners daily and total mileage on a Google Doc that all runners can access to verify accuracy

The Challenge is a good example of creating a true experience through a virtual event. Like setting up a fun finish line, it’s not about the easiest way to do a virtual race, it’s about finding things that are fun, (virtually) social, and come with a physical reward (like a medal!). So far, more than 500 participants have signed on to join the Challenge, and one of them was so excited about it that they shared it with Runners World!

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