Seven of us spent a few days in Puerto Rico at the 2019 Running USA Conference, meeting with customers, comparing notes between events, and hearing about the newest ideas in the running industry. A few highlights…
Volunteering (and fun)
On Saturday, before the initial kickoff, Johanna headed an hour South to San Salvador for a Running USA volunteer event we co-sponsored at the Jardin Ecologico, a local community garden that was damaged by Hurricane Maria. Johanna joined representatives from our fellow co-sponsors, ACTIVE, ImAthlete, and Race Roster, as well as customers and race professionals from across the industry in several projects. The group cleared garden space, prepared planting areas, and built a Taino Ceremonial Court – and followed it up with a dip in a local swimming hole and a spectacular home-cooked meal.
Two RunSignup customers walked away with some big honors!
First up, the Race Director for the Boilermaker Road Race, Jim Stasaitis, was named to the Running USA Hall of Champions at the Sunday evening Awards Dinner.
One of the best parts of getting hundreds of race directors together is witnessing rapid-fire brainstorming – and getting some great ideas that we can implement. We came back with notes from Sour Fish Events, RunToledo, Runners Fit, and RunVermont, Sommer Sports, among others…but the winner of the (unofficial) Great Ideas award was Greg Weber from the Buffalo MarathonBuffalo Marathon who got Bob on the phone with our development team to get to work implementing an update to our fundraising platform.
Conference morning runs are always dreaded…and yet, a must-attend. Special shout-outs to the Air Force Marathon’s Brandon Hough for encouraging Jordan to get out there, and Tony Banovich of Run Wild Missoula for not laughing (too much) when Johanna took a dive into the mud right next to him.
We had a few customers who led sessions throughout the conference, sharing their experience in the industry. Among them were Tim Cole (Mascot Sports) on Experiential Excellence, Abbey VanValkenburg (Race Day Events) on Event Project Management, and Andy Younger (CRIM Fitness Fundation) on Turning Your Race Into a Year-Round Force.
Our most-asked question? Sparked by JT Service’s Race Camp on Relays, Race Series and Virtual Events, we got a ton of questions about marketing and tracking virtual events. We are excited about our Virtual Race TXT Service that allows participants to report their virtual “finish time” via text and enables features like notifications and finisher certificates. Clint McCormick from Run Toledo made an observation that we loved – most race directors are in this business to make a difference in people’s lives, and it’s much harder to see that benefit with a virtual event. The TXT service creates an interactive virtual event is not only more fun for the participant – it’s also more rewarding for the organizer.
All the Rest!
What else can we say? We got a teaser of some exciting news from the Philadelphia Marathon Team, watched Cliff Bosley of BolderBOULDER get inducted into the Hall of Champions, and chatted with Fun-Races, Brazen Racing, DoMore Race Service, and SON-Events. Race Result, Mylaps, and emedia helped us set up a finish line simulation, we caught up with technology partners iTAB and ROAD iD, and met Bob’s Bizarro daughters (same ages and *almost* same names) from Athlinks.
*It was impossible to note every person who took the time to give us an idea or share a meal with us. If we didn’t list you here, be assured that we still took notes and appreciated the time you gave us!