With so many races to choose from, runners often select races that can offer something truly personal to add to the race day experience not only for themselves, but also for their supporting family and friends – like planning a vacation around the race weekend.
Many races are now finding ways to offer a look into the uniqueness of the local community and to provide different course distance options for participants with varying athletic abilities. These types of races focus on an increasingly popular aspect of running – a socially shared experience with a focus on quality and scenic destinations.
We’ve seen races truly committed to offering the highest quality, personal experience they can for the participants and spectators – these races tend to be the ones that want to offer RaceJoy. The Grand Canyon Half, organized by Vacation Races, and the Santa Barbara Marathon, organized by Destination Races, are two examples of races this past weekend that focused on providing a unique destination race experience.
Grand Canyon Half Marathon
The Grand Canyon Half is part of the National Park Half Marathon Series and this past weekend the race helped celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday! If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know that it is a truly unique and breathtaking place in our country. Race organizers provided RaceJoy as a complimentary service to participants and spectators for access to free live tracking, progress alerts and cheers.
The Grand Canyon Half Marathon is a trail race that offers runners and walkers an unbeatable nature run in Tusayan, AZ. The course is run right on the border of the national park, since access to run inside the park boundaries is not permitted. It takes place in the Kaibab National Forest. As part of the experience, participants were offered the ability with RaceJoy to be live tracked and receive progress alerts at every mile along the course with information like pace and estimated finish time based on their GPS location – 4,100 alerts were sent!
An interesting statistic – people spend only about 20 minutes looking at the Grand Canyon before moving on. This could be because people are used to hiking up for a spectacular view, not down. If you’ve never hiked below the rim of the Grand Canyon, this may be a bucket list addition for you after you do the run, of course!
Vacation Races organizes nine races each year, all centered around a different National Park. Their goal is to change perspectives and provide an opportunity for runners to experience the gorgeous parks across the country. The race organizers are dedicated to convenience and innovation – evident through their cup-free policy, refund options, and by providing RaceJoy at its races.
Vacation Races organizes the following races throughout the year:
- Zion Half Marathon
- Grand Canyon Half Marathon
- Grand Teton Half Marathon
- Yellowstone Half Marathon
- Rocky Mountain Half Marathon
- Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon
- Yosemite Half Marathon
- Lake Powell Half Marathon
- Everglades Half Marathon
Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon
The Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon offers an ideal destination running experience as well. Every year, the race is held in early May on Mother’s Day weekend, providing the perfect time to visit the Santa Ynez Valley for an outdoor recreational “runcation” and enjoy the local vineyards. This race provided RaceJoy’s live tracking features to participants and spectators for a 99 cents in-app fee.
The scenic course runs from downtown Santa Ynez through Los Olivos into the Danish-settled town of Solvang. The valley offers plenty to do, including the beach, hiking, biking, running trails, historic towns, shopping and restaurants, and of course, an abundance of wineries and tasting rooms. The alerts were sent at every mile along the course to participants who opted for the live phone tracking and GPS-based progress alerts – 1,240 alerts were sent.
It’s a perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day together to enjoy a weekend full of activities and to celebrate at the expanded post-race Wine & Music Festival in Solvang Park.
Destination Races organizes eight races across the country, taking runners to some of the finest regions in the world, providing an opportunity to smell, taste and feel the terrain of each unique destination. Each race event is crafted to provide something new.
Dedicated to quality, all the Wine Country Half Marathons have limited fields, ensuring a stress-free environment while enjoying wine country ambiance and a thrilling race day experience. Race organizers partner with tourism related businesses in the regions to showcase a local bounty, creating a wine, culinary, and fitness themed “runcation.”
Destination Races organizes the following races throughout the year:
- Santa Barbara Wine Country
- Virginia Wine Country
- Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country
- Oregon Wine Country
- Kelowna Wine Country
- Woodinville-to-Redmond Wine & Beer Country
- Healdsburg Wine Country
Each of these race organizations offers a unique race experience for participants and spectators to plan a vacation around. One of the best things about these races is that you know there will be consistencies in the quality of the service and a dedication to providing the best possible race day experience at each race. So, if you are planning a family vacation or a girls’ weekend away, both offer options to experience beautiful parts of United States.
Thank you race organizers for providing a one-of-a-kind experience for participants to share with friends and family and for your dedication to quality and innovation. Together, we are changing the race experience!
If you’d like to offer RaceJoy at your race, click here. All we need is an accurate electronic course map (GPX or KML) and two weeks lead time. Affordable buyout options are available for race organizers and sponsors who wish to offer RaceJoy’s advanced tracking and cheers as a free service to participants and spectators. There is also a free-to-the-race option in which the participants and spectators pay a per race in-app upgrade fee of 99 cents (must have at least one course that is 10K or greater).