Run Thru the Woods Thanksgiving Day Case Study

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 Run Thru the Woods Case Study focuses on building a community event and making Race Day easy. 

View the PDF Version of the Run Thru the Woods Case Study

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rtwlogoOverview: In their 25th year of putting on a Thanksgiving Day, Community-Oriented Race, Run Thru the Woods used RunSignUp for the first time.  They found the system to be a time-saver, and consistent with their goal of driving early, online registration.

About Run Thru the Woods:

The Run Thru the Woods celebrated its 25th year on Thanksgiving Morning of 2014.  The race originated as a small fundraiser for Operation Graduation for a local high school; after a few years, they approached the YMCA about partnering on the race, and in 1995 it moved the race day to Thanksgiving morning.  With the partnership, the race expanded from 50 participants to 100, to 1200 in 1995, and today draws over 5,000 annually.

Current Run Thru the Woods Race Director Roxanne Davis has been involved with the race in some capacity through out the 25 years.  In 2014, based on a recommendation from another Race Director, Run Thru the Woods moved to RunSignUp for registration. 

Building a Community Event:

Expanding Charitable Reach:  While the race still benefits Operation Graduation, as well as the YMCA, they also donate to a local JROTC program, a Food Bank (Can-n-Keys), and an Educational Outreach Program at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, a center for Performing Arts. Including a range of charities allows the race to connect with the community in multiple arenas.

Thanksgiving Date: There is a reason that Thanksgiving has become such a big race day: it is a great time to bring people together!

Family Involvement: The race has 4 event options:

  • family5 Mile Run
  • 3 Mile Run
  • 3 Mile Walk
  • 1 Mile Kids Run

This encourages family participation regardless of age or running ability.  While a family focus can always encourage more participation it is especially important on Thanksgiving, when there is so much emphasis on family togetherness.

Timing the Kids Run: Unlike many races, which keep the kids event untimed, Roxanne times the 1 mile run.  This acts as something of a differentiator by recognizing kids as equal competitors to adults.

“The race truly is a community affair.  What makes it such a community event is that it benefits so many organizations and group and brings surrounding communities together for a quality, fun event in a safe area.  There’s family involvement – it is  part of their holiday tradition.”

– Roxanne Davis, Race Director


 Making Race Day Easy

Roxanne’s goal in Race preparation is to have her checklist basically complete prior to Race Day to free her up for double-checking safety measures and putting out unexpected fires.  Roxanne took 2 approaches to make Race Day run more smoothly:

Discourage Race Day Registration:

  • Significant price increases for late registrations (for the 5-mile, an increase from the initial price of $35 to $50).
  • Setting a race cap to drive demand: in addition to ensuring a safe number of runners, the announced cap of 6,000 created a sense of urgency to register.Picture1

Race Morning Kiosks:

  • This year, for the first time, all Race Day registrations were done online via kiosk instead of through handwritten paper registration forms.

The result of the dual effort was a success.  Only 71 participants registered on Race Morning (compared to several hundred in previous years), and the kiosk registration was much smoother than having to manually key in individual information.

“The system on race day was effortless: we only had to work with one database, and there were no lost registrations or duplicates.  It was a very much streamlined process.” – Roxanne Davis

2014 Run Thru the Woods: By the NumbersGraph1Graph3Graph2

“I’m sorry I didn’t find this earlier, because it made my life easy.  I would highly endorse it to anyone.”

– Roxanne Davis

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!

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