October 22, 2014
My name is Tamar Barneis, a competitive athlete who has made a career in the field of endurance sports events production. Based on my experience, I have outlined in this article the main reasons why athletes choose to take part in races, with the hope that this would provide you with a clear guide on how to draw participants to join your race.
Over the past decade, there has been a remarkable world-wide increase of endurance sport events, some of them attracting thousands of runners, cyclists or swimmers of all levels to take part in a single race. In general, all types of endurance races are everywhere these days, and on any given weekend it’s not difficult to find one to take part in. A quick search of the internet and you find a race in no time at all. But beyond the aspect of the physical challenge, these events provide participants many other attractive reasons for signing up and paying money to take part in them.
1. The More the Merrier - The Social Component of Racing
In my personal experience, one of the most appealing reasons for participating in sports events is the social component. Many people who engage in a healthy active life style, thrive on the social aspects these activities provide.
Groups and clubs offer people a social setting that helps motivate them to engage in a sport, and with others to set goals and to achieve them.
Similarly to this, races offer the unique experience of participating in large social gatherings.
Based on this, it is important to relate to the social component when promoting your race: publishing the number or participants; publishing personal stories of the different participants. All this helps to emphasize the fact that people from many different places and backgrounds, who share a single interest, will be racing in your event, engaging together in a fun, unifying physical challenge.
2. Keep it Original - The Excitement of the New and Original Races
Another great incentive for participating in races is the excitement of taking part in an original, unique, adventurous and mainly fun challenge
. Over the past several years, we have witnessed the rise of a new trend of endurance races that fits under the categories of fun-runs and obstacle-races.
These types of races appeal not only to experienced athletes but also to new timers, many of them taking part in a race for the first time in their life.
So, if you are an event producer, considering opening a new race, I would recommend thinking of an original and exciting theme for the race, in order to help draw the participation to register.
3. Racing for a Cause - The Power of Giving to Others
Today, races also serve as a wonderful platform to attract attention for raising money for a special cause
. Many people join races to raise money for charity, providing them with a feeling of satisfaction by helping others less fortunate than them. In this way they make the miles count toward something bigger then themselves.
It would definitely go a long way and attract a lot of attention to promote your race as one that will support such endeavors.
4. Sightseeing While Racing
Popular races amongst athletes are those that take place in unique and special locals.
A big part of the excitement of joining these events is the chance to travel to new places and enjoy fresh landscapes
for running, cycling or swimming.
I personally know of many people who even take the opportunity to bring their family along and continue travelling after the race.
So, when considering the local for your race, it is worth choosing a local where people will want to travel to. Do not be afraid to have a race in a remote and far-away place, as it may end up serving to your benefit.
5. King for a Day – Racing for Fame
However, the most powerful reason for wanting to participate in a certain sport event is the chance to achieve a moment of fame
. The race itself is usually the highlight moment after a long tedious training period, which demands endless motivation and commitment.
The participants feel that the race is the ultimate place for proving their capabilities after all the hard preparations they have done.
But proving it to themselves is not as exciting if there is no one to share it with…
So, if your race will offer the opportunities to strengthen the athlete's moment of glory, it will no doubt draw many participants.
In my experience there are two important things to help keep the participants' glory sensation:
A. Provide the audience with a clear and easy access to the route and finish line to allow cheering
- there is an elated sensation when passing the cheering crowds and being greeted by the family and friends at the finish line, so make sure you do not deny them of this pleasure!
B. Making the moment of glory count even more are the photos - yes, the photos taken along the course and at the finish line, then virally shared on the social media
are definitely one of the strongest reasons people enjoy these events; this is their way of proving to everyone they did it! No doubt the photographs are an integral part of any race as they capture the participants' most cherished memories, while the social media intensifies their moment of fame, allowing that moment and feeling to last much longer then the race itself.
I hope I have managed to concisely provide you with the key elements that affect athletes' state of mind when considering participating in certain races. It is safe to conclude that races of all sorts serve as a powerful tool to engage people in an exciting physical activity and if you know these key elements, you will be able to draw many participant to your race and make it a wonderful and memorable experience to all.