4 things first time racers care about

With the past year or so spent under various lockdowns, and gyms and sports clubs shut down for months at a time, much of the general population has had to turn to more accessible ways to workout. As the purest form of cardiovascular exercise going, running has been at the forefront of this new normal. A study from RunRepeat of almost 4,000 runners noted that 28.76% had begun running in the last 14 months. However, the percentage of those new runners planning to take part in an event was just 50% of those.

So as the UK roadmap progresses and life begins to resemble normality again, how can organisers attract newbies to the scene before event day, and indeed cater for them on the day itself? We asked our community for their top 4 things that can help out with those first time jitters.

1 - Clear Logistics

Of all the answers we received from our community, this came out as number one by far! Gearing up for an event can be an incredibly stressful experience for the first time racer, and none more so than worrying about where they need to be, when. 

As an organiser, you can lessen the stress of race day through clear concise information. Should runners turn up in kit? What time does registration open? Where are the toilets!? Giving as much information as you feel necessary, as early as possible, allows newbies to focus on the important stuff...enjoying their race!

2 - Pacing

Particularly relevant for those who’ve undergone a ‘Couch to 5k’ programme before racing. Much of our community highlighted the worry they faced at their first ever race with regards to performance. Comments along the lines of ‘will I come last and embarrass myself?’ featured heavily. Simply put, coming into something as a total newcomer is daunting (remember your first day of big school!?), but that worry is only magnified when you consider how elitist and high performance our industry can sometimes present itself.

Ease the worries of those extra concerned about this element of racing by emphasising the inclusivity of your messaging if appropriate, ‘perfect for everyone’, ‘all welcome’.

3 - Swag

Over the years, race swag has become an inescapable part of the event day ritual. As above, for plenty of people, simply turning up on and getting round is a huge achievement in itself..but it’s the raceday winnings that really ramp up that athlete buzz. Receiving something that commemorates the event came up as a must-have for our community.

With a personalised medal or t-shirt now the classic offering for most event organisers, consider ramping up your race day offering to really stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of ways to get creative! What will make the day that extra bit special? And if you want to take a more sustainable approach to race day swag, why not consider using our friends over at Trees Not Tees.

4 - Content

In a similar vein to the above, not only do runners want something to commemorate their experience, they want to share it too! With social currency booming thanks to the likes of Instagram and TikTok, being able to say ‘look what I achieved!’ is a huge draw for the first timer. 

Race photography has fast become a must-have for events everywhere, with much of the community admitting they sometimes hunt out their race photos before their finish time! As an organiser, you can provide for this with high quality photography at multiple locations on your race venue. If you can, consider making it free to download, so it’s an accessible and downloadable as possible. And, with any eye on the future, what better tool is there to attract participants for next year’s race than high definition images, or an awesome looking post race video from your last time out?

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