Head Start

Growing a Digital-First Race

October 18, 2021 Race Directors HQ Episode 16
Head Start
Growing a Digital-First Race
Show Notes

At the tender age of 24, with no prior experience or any interest in running, Matt Trevett decided to take a gamble and launch a new 10K in his hometown of Weybridge in Surrey, UK.

Matt promised local business groups and the local council he’ll bring 1,000 people to the race in its first year. As you can imagine, everyone was very supportive of the idea - in between thinking Matt was crazy.

Fast-forward a few months, and Matt delivered his 1,000 people inaugural Weybridge 10K, as promised, and went on to produce more award-winning races in his hometown, putting the former through-town firmly on the regional running map.

Beyond the amazing story of Matt and the Weybridge 10K, today’s episode is not about Matt or the Weybridge 10K. It is an episode about attitude, persistence and - more importantly - taking a lean approach to putting on races that focuses on building community, forging partnerships with local businesses, and marketing smart online, often with little more than a bunch of pictures of empty roads to go on. 

If you’re starting out as a race director you’re going to love this episode, and, if you’re a more seasoned race director, getting the perspective of a young millennial colleague will hopefully help trigger a lightbulb moment or two for you. 

In this episode:

  • The Weybridge 10K story
  • Planning a new race in the town you grew up in
  • Coming into race-directing with the perspective of a non-runner
  • Picking your race distance: the merits of a 10K for a new local event
  • Not cutting corners on health & safety
  • Pitching your vision for your event to town officials 
  • Being bold, making mistakes and learning from them
  • Focusing on race experience, rather than profits in your first couple of years
  • Being transparent and genuine with the content that you share with your audience
  • Canvassing residents and local businesses before the launch of the race
  • Making advocates of your biggest local critics
  • The digital-first approach: launching lean, launching online
  • Do organic promotion first (Facebook groups, running clubs), paid later
  • The importance of remarketing to "warm" audiences
  • Using Facebook Events as part of your race promotion strategy
  • Marketing your race on Instagram
  • Giving away free race photos and using event photos to market your race online
  • Managing a participant death in Weybridge 10K's inaugural race
  • Email marketing: less is more
  • The future of content marketing: switching from long-from written to short, sharp video content

Thanks to GiveSignup|RunSignup for supporting quality content for race directors by sponsoring this episode. More than 22,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use GiveSignup|RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. If you'd like to learn more about GiveSignup|RunSignup's all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events visit runsignup.com.

You can find more resources on anything and everything related to race directing on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com.

You can also share your questions about launching and growing your race or anything else in our Facebook group, Race Directors Hub.