We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users. This Ventura Marathon Case Study focuses on Self-Service Participant Management, Sponsors, and Club Discounts & Cross Promotion.
Overview: The Ventura Marathon sets an example for efficient, self-service participant management.
About the Ventura Marathon: The Ventura Marathon is produced by Josh Spiker of Vendurance Sports and timed by Royal Results. Vendurance Sports owns 10 events and Times and/or Directs another 30-40 events, as well as offering a Running Club and Coaching Service. In it’s inaugural year, 2013, the Ventura Marathon drew just shy of 3,000 participants for a Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K, and Kids Sand Run.
The Basic Setup
The Ventura Marathon uses a fairly standard, straight-forward setup. A few highlights of their setup:
- They use multiple Registration Periods to reward and encourage earlier registration (from $75 11-months prior to Race Day all the way to $130 the week of the Marathon).
- They have edited and adapted the Standard Waiver to specifically address the events that they are registering for.
- They use a handful of Custom Questions, including expected finish times (for Wave Start breakdown), expected number of nights in a hotel for the event (information of interest to Sponsors), and personal details & profession (for the Race Announcer to Reference).
- They allow participants to “Find a Participant” (under Race Page – Misc. Settings) to allow runners to confirm their own registration and see who else is registered for the race.
- Each event includes a Free Giveaway (a Tech T), and offers a variety of sizes in Women’s and Men’s cuts, but there are no additional store items.
Making Registration Easy
Josh offers runners several ways to register in order to minimize road blocks. He links to RunSignUp registration from the Ventura Marathon Website, as well as from a RunSignUp Race Calendar on the Vendurance Sports site. Additionally he recently began utilizing the Facebook SignUp App to allow runners to register directly in Facebook.
Making Participant Management Easy
“RunSignUp allows the participants to do everything online, so we are completely hands-off. Where we might have gotten 50 emails, maybe we get 3 now. We allow people to defer up to a certain point, we allow people to transfer to a friend, and we also allow people to switch events within the same race (Marathon to Half Marathon, etc)” – Josh Spiker
Setting up Participant Management
All Participant Management Settings can be found on the Participants/Participant Management segment of the Race Dashboard
Refunds: Josh does not allow participants to refund themselves for the race.
Event to Event Transfers: Event to Event Transfers are enabled with additional fees for increasing distance but none for decreasing distance. If the event that the runner is transferring to is more expensive, they will be charged the fee + the registration difference, along with the RunSignup processing fee based on the amount they are paying. This means a runner transferring from the Half Marathon to the Marathon will pay an additional $30 (plus processing fee), but a runner dropping from the Marathon to the Half Marathon will not pay an additional fee.
Bib Exchange: Runners who are injured or otherwise cannot run are allowed to transfer a bib to another runner at no additional cost. This keeps race turn-out high.
Deferrals: As another option for injured/unexpectedly unavailable runners, the Ventura Marathon allows a deferral of registration to the following year. Race Directors have the option to set a Deferral fee, but the Ventura Marathon chooses not to have one. When he prepares the race for the following year, Josh will download a report containing all deferred registrations and set up a coupon for those participants to use to register for the following year.
All participant management options are set to close 4 days prior to Race Day to minimize and control any changes made once the Bib Assignment and packet pickup have begun.
The Ventura Marathon has a very flexible set of participant management options. This is financially beneficial to the race because it ensures high race day turnout, and allows them to collect transfer fees (for runners increasing distance) or keep higher registration fees (for runners decreasing in distance) Most importantly it creates a lot of goodwill and runner support for the race by allowing for the flexibility and solutions for dealing with injuries or unexpected scheduling conflicts.
Making Participant Management Self-Service
Josh puts a little additional time into his website to minimize any runner confusion.
- For each option of participant management, there is a separate page with information about the guidelines and timeline for making changes.
- Josh includes a series of screenshots from RunSignUp, along with basic instructions, to walk runners step by step through the entire process.
The time it takes Josh to document the process for his runners saves him time down the line by eliminating the need to manage runners personally or respond to numerous emails.
Reporting Features to Support Sponsors
“With sponsors, a lot of times we get questions about demographics – percentage female vs male, where they are all from, etc. So what we do is we go into the reports features on RunSignUp, and they have graphical reports and they look really pretty. We run those reports, take a screenshot, and we’ll send those to a sponsor. That way, we don’t have to re-create all that stuff from scratch. Every day, essentially, that data changes – if we did that on our own, in adobe illustrator or something, it might take 20 minutes and in RunSignUp it takes less than 1 minute.”
Club Discount and Promotion
Vendurance Sports also has a Running Club. Currently, the Ventura Running Tribe has around 100 members, with continued growth as a goal. There is a 2-way interaction between the Running Club and the Ventura Marathon:
- Running Tribe members are encouraged to participate in the Marathon with a 10% discount off all event fees. RunSignUp can auto-detect if a registrant is a member of the Running Tribe to prevent non-members from using a coupon code or other discount method.
- Runners who are not currently Running Tribe members are prompted to consider joining the club within the Race Registration. This encourages area runners to participate with the Tribe with the added bonus of a race discount.
“On our races we set up a discount for all club members…no coupon necessary, and it only gives them to current members. For some races it isn’t a big deal, but if you are giving 10-20% off for your running club and you put the coupon out there, they can share it with anyone. This discount only gives it to current club members.”
If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small, email us
…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!