One of the first things I did after I moved to the Chicago area was look for a running club. Because of where I was living at the time I ended up joining the Oak Park Runners Club. I didn’t have any friends in the city and I didn’t know anyone so I threw myself whole hog into being an active member.
And, you know how it goes, when you become super active in a group you usually end up being asked to volunteer for things. I am incapable of saying no when asked to volunteer which is how I wound up not only doing all the Facebook, website, and email communications for the club but also for our 5K race: the Good Life Race 5K.
I’ve been on the race committee for several years now and I’ve always been in charge of managing our race’s Facebook page, email, and press releases. Did I have any idea what I was doing when I started? Nope. Do I have any idea now? Sort of.
I don’t have a marketing background, but I do have a running and racing background! So I know what I want to see. But the question is always, how do I attract other people? How do I attract people who aren’t necessarily runners but who live in the area and are interested in running or walking a 5K? Or who have kids who might want to do the 1 mile youth run or the shorter Junior Dash?
These are all things I think about. Our race is unique in that we actually have two 5Ks: one for men and one for women (although it’s not like we check birth certificates or anything). People tend to like this because, if there are kids, they can usually find someone to watch the kids while the other person runs the race.
Also, we give out flowers at the finish line. We usually get lots of positive comments about that.
Plus, other than the fact that we pay a timing company, every thing else we do is completely done by volunteers and yet we’ve had over 1300 participants the past few years. I believe we’re still the largest all-volunteer-run race in the area. And one of those volunteers is me. Trying to figure out how to do marketing and PR.
Which means if you’re in Chicago and still haven’t heard of the Good Life Race, I still have work to do.