Monday 31 October 2022

End of October - race roundup 2022

Did you manage a run with a friend this weekend  ? Enjoying the autumn colours ?

 Just a quick check-in today as we didn't cover any races this past weekend...

I continue to give some thought to what events can do to encourage activities and administration that help their own survival and indeed what runners can do to encourage the survival of their favourite events. Because we all want that !

Clearly things related to financials are the hardest thing for an event to do - giving money back which usually has already been budgeted for is a difficult deal to strike - but what if they refunded injured runners who were able to turn up on the day to volunteer ?  Some of the best races we attend are the best races - simply because the volunteers *know* what the race experience is all about and can bring the support that runners need to the event. Getting more experienced runners into the volunteer force is a must-have for any event, working out how to get people to do that - perhaps takes some innovation.

I currently have two core ideas - which can be modified to suit by any event organiser:

1. Offer easy entry swaps - right up to the race start, don't get involved in the financials - and make sure you promote it - to help get participants to commit early and enter your race (so you can plan effectively).

2. Only offer refunds to injured runners who turn up on the day to volunteer (because we all need volunteers)

If you're injured or unable to attend a race last minute - volunteer - because you had the day planned to be at the race anyway - why not keep the time commitment and help build your local running community ? Your experience as a runner is invaluable to share at a race. Ask the race director if they will refund your entry if you do volunteer !

And race directors - don't refund them until they've done the volunteering ! 

anyone for volunteering ?

So looking at the weekends races - what did we see about the overall attendance ?

Comparable race runner volumes at events 29-30th October 2022

Yes - an average drop across the mainline events I could find of 26%, Further afield in Dublin their marathon was down 11%. 
Taking a rather larger sample from events and just looking at all the events they put on year on year - they're down 49% compared to pre-covid. Granted they have a few months of events to finish the year off - but it's not going to really recover that much.

Interestingly there was some data out about passenger numbers out of Heathrow airport - that's down 30% compared to pre-pandemic volumes.

If I was going to be bold about these sort of numbers - I'd say that any events that need people to attend in person - are all down 28% (+/- 5%).  Whilst the nations financial difficulties were not the cause of the on-coming recession - it was clearly the pandemic and long covid, and the more unstable and unplannable lifestyles we live with now - there is absolutely no way that these sorts of reduced attendance volumes are not the kind of growth that will help dig us out of the economic dead-end we are driving down.

Back to the race analysis - I see that the Love Luton Run festival has introduced a 10k distance and is gently substituting half marathon volume into 10k volume. Whilst this is good on an absolute numbers attending - for an event organiser - this reduces the overall income to the event - because 10k entries are cheaper than half marathons to enter. I don't have the exact accounts for event organising - but logically there's a point where there's not enough half marathon entries to sustain the longer route over and above the 10k, and it causes a painful loss of profit for the event. If you're an event organiser and thinking of adding extra distances - know your volume cut-offs that make each event distance stand on their own.

Sometimes I do think that to focus on the core distance that a race is created for - keeps the marketing clear, makes it easier to organise and simpler to administer. All these simplifications save money on the admin, and ultimately can result in a more focussed and effective marketing campaign for an event - possibly generating more entries too.

Here's the drop in average race numbers this weekend - and yes it's a 27% drop

Did you wake up late for your last race and forget to get changed ?

I hope you all enjoyed the extra hour of the clocks going back - and now the real winter training starts with those long runs in the dark once you get home from work... or if you've the joy of working from home - 11:30 am meetings before lunch to check your vitamin D levels are all ok.

Where's a good race ?

If you're wondering where I do my race checking and entries finding for my analysis - this is the best "participant curated" event listing anywhere -

2022 Events coverage

We don't have any more events for the rest of the year except the exceptional Seaford Mince Pie Run - a 10 miler around some lovely parts of the south downs and finishing at Peacehaven Sports centre - where the facilities are excellent post-run.

It's already sold out, and fancy dress is expected - and I'm always mildly amused by the fact they run it on the day after their annual club dinner - so thoughts and prayers with them and the volunteers for their hangovers ! 

We don't officially cover the veteran car run anymore - it's on November the 6th this year - but there's a simple coverage consistency to having at least a record of the vehicles somewhere on the route - we have galleries going back to 2004 - I think I might get to 20 years and call that a day. Only two more to go then. The numbers are very very low now compared to previous years - less than half the turnout we used to get easily into the 600+ cars - that really was a spectacle to behold. Don't mention Brexit, the economy, or the entrance fees and event sponsorship having an effect - because the cars are still out there running around - just not at this event anymore.

Volunteering is very much fun - do some !

I've only got 14 events in my 30mile radius over November, which really only lands me with two if I don't want to do cross country league races or go over to Crowborough. I might have to enter one and run it myself instead of working. Still not sure. This gluten free body weight (down half a stone) and betablocker free speed (max HR up 15 beats per min) could hopefully average sub 8min miles over 10k - I've recently found still hasn't settled itself - there's some very good and very bad days. Somewhere there will be some bounce in my Calf muscles....and then I will fly !

until next time - have a great weeks training - and remember the bright reflective stuff if you're out at night - it really does make a difference and the prices are coming down significantly compared to last year - examples here - 

Stay safe !


No comments:

Post a Comment