All race organizers want to make to make their event successful. They want things to go smoothly and they want to raise funds for their charity. But how do you make sure that participants come back year after year? How do get the runners to do the word-of-mouth marketing for you because they are that excited about coming to your race? Forget about just making it successful—make it fun.
Nothing will give your charity race a boost like putting a little extra effort into making it super enjoyable for the runners. A fun race will have participants gathering their friends and families to join them and returning to run again next year. Here are some of our favorite ways to make a race more fun.
- Choose a unique theme. Obviously it makes sense to go with something related to your cause, but the wackier and more outlandish the theme, the better! Some of the most successful races we’ve seen are ones with food goals (e.g. every mile you get to stop and sample some pizza) and races with awesome costume opportunities, (80s prom, togas, outer space, etc.). We’ve seen some Doughnut Derbies (run half the race, eat a dozen donuts, finish the race) Dog-Friendly Races and Jingle-Bell Runs at Christmastime.
- Provide some free fuel. Even better, have a great food (and even alcohol!) post-race for your participants. Try asking a local restaurant to donate their leftover food from the night before and then designate an area for eating and drinking! If this sounds like fun, take a look at our St. Patrick’s Day race in Mt. Holly, NJ coming up this March—all entrant gets drink tickets to the beer garden.
- Make it a community event. People love to know that by participating in something, they are supporting their community! Make it hyper-local with vendors from all over town and even a raffle with items donated from local businesses. Getting in the community spirit will motivate locals to get involved!
- Go social. There are a ton of ways to incorporate social media in your event that will both increase awareness and make it more fun! Make sure you have a hashtag so it’s easy to share and find pictures, have a contest for best Instagram post, or challenge runners to complete a photo challenge leading up to the big day. You could even organize a photo-scavenger hunt where participants get a list of things to take pictures of along the way.
- Create awesome incentives. Having an incentive makes it that much more fun to participate. One inherent incentive in a race of course is getting to the finish line, or even beating your personal record, but there are other ways to incentivize the runners. For example, be sure to set a fundraising goal to those raising money know what they’re working toward. You can also give out prizes for best costume, biggest group, etc. Bonus points if the prizes are awarded at an awesome after party.
- Add a challenge. We talked about in our last blog why 5K races work and why they are an effective means of raising money. It’s because people love a challenge, in fact, it motivates them to participate! Try adding some other challenges in besides just the run—maybe add some obstacles along the way or a strength challenge leading up to it.
- Make registration a breeze. One thing that is certain to make a race not fun is if registration and race timing are a huge hassle for you and your participants. SpectaSport’s race timing and registration software and setup services make it incredibly easy to get your 5K off the ground and make it a huge success. Our charity race timing package is a great place to start.
Organizing a successful race is a challenge in itself, and making it fun is even harder. Make sure you leave the details and planning to the professionals so you can focus on creating the perfect atmosphere for your 5K. Your participants and your charity will thank you!