San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 8th, 2009
Run with Moe: Getting runners to the race

Run with Moe: A Column
San Marcos Runners Club

There are so many races at this time of year that the competition for getting runners coming to your race is a real challenge for race organizers.

In the past, a race organizer would take a trip to area races with a handful of flyers in his or her hand and hand them out to runners after the race or put them on the windshields of cars in the parking lot. I ran quite a few races and almost invariably would take a number of flyers advertising a race here in San Marcos.

As runners were talking or going over the results of the race, I would walk up and see if there was interest in running a race near by in San Marcos.  Many of the runners took the flyers and whether they read them, tossed them or even showed up at the race was a matter of chance. At least they knew that there was a race in San Marcos in a few weekends.

The next stop would be to drive to the major running stores in Austin and San Antonio and around San Marcos at the Activity Center, the Chamber of Commerce, all the local gyms and fitness establishments and drop off some more flyers.  Runners stopping in to a store to buy shoes or running attire would check out the table or race corner of the store to check out races in the area for the next few weeks or months. You would contact the various Runners Clubs and send them a flyer to put in their newsletter’s monthly calendar for their members.

It was a lot of work, but about the only way to get the word out about your race. Sending information to the newspapers sports editors was the next stop if the paper had a running column or an occasional calendar of events for their area. These are still options for getting the information out to runners, but with the invention of the computer and online services available in running circles, most information about runs in your area is on a calendar or web site somewhere.

The number of web sites is amazing and much more far reaching than going to nearby races or sporting stores to advertise a race. Anyone in the nearby area, the entire state, or even across the country and overseas will have access to the information about the race.

Our ARA-Moe’s Better Half Marathon had runners overseas with a group of Armed Forces stationed at bases who found out about the race online.  Sometimes a runner from another state might be visiting your town and will look on a web site near you and check out one of the calendars to see if a race is going to be held while they are visiting.

With the ability to register online, a runner can arrive at the race site and already have their name registered and pick up their packet for the race without much trouble.  Some sites advertise long distance races, and if a runner is training for a marathon and needs a longer race to run, they are often willing to travel a longer distance to enter the race if it is one of the only ones scheduled for their training program.

All in all, advertising has become much more sophisticated and modern for runners searching for a race to run on a particular weekend. With the ability to register online, or download the entry form, information on the location, age group awards, a picture of the logo that will be on the shirt, and the cost of the entry fee, a runner can make a decision as to which race to enter if there are several in the nearby area that they could enter.

In the long run, it is helping the environment, since driving and gas emission is cut back, printing of a large number of flyers is less, and runners enjoy the benefit of entering a race without driving to a sporting store to pick up a flyer.

Remember the Pet Fest 5K this weekend down at City Park, and the Red Ribbon 5K and Pets and Pi 5K on Oct. 17, and the Country Roads Half Marathon on the Oct. 25.

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