RaceTrends: Are Participants Returning?

Among the many marketing questions facing race directors is this one: do you focus your efforts on enticing previous runners to return, or seek out new participants? In an ideal world, the answer is BOTH! However, it’s worth understanding the baseline “normal” expectation for participants to return to assess some of your strengths – and update your strategies.

Repeat Participants by Race Distance

For this report, we looked at races that used RunSignUp for two consecutive years and evaluated the number of 2017 participants who had also entered the race in 2016.


The range that saw the best repeat rate was races between 5.1K and 10K, with 26% of participants repeating. In comparison, races 5K or less and half marathons hovered around 16-17% repeats, with longer distances and triathlons seeing fewer repeats (8-13%).



  • partyRonDon’t neglect last year’s participants – there are many of them who are not coming back. Use Facebook Custom Audience reports of previous participants (excluding current) registrants and email marketing to reach previous participants via as many touchpoints as possible.
  • Longer events, with their extended training commitment and higher price tags, can struggle to draw repeat participants. Expand your geographical range for marketing and sell your event as a destination for new participants.
  • Build local loyalty to longer events by adding a shorter distance to the weekend, allowing local participants to create a tradition of joining you without a lengthy annual training program.
  • Knowing that the majority of your participants will be new to your event means marketing outside your existing community should be a priority. Referral programs, Lookalike Audiences on Facebook (with Facebook Custom Audience reports), and remarketing campaigns are a great place to start.

We’ll take a closer look at more of the findings from the RaceTrends Report in the coming weeks…but you can check out the full report here anytime. 




Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: