We hit 360+ pre-registered runners for the Pickle. It’s amazing. This whole run started out as small race that would get some folks outside during the middle of the run to do a race that’s more of a fun run then anything else. Now it’s grown into this wacky phenomena, and quite frankly, it’s mind blowing. This could easily be a 450-500 person race if we didnt decide to turn off the online reg tonight and kill the walk-up registration. We’ve averaged about 60-70 walk-ups at the previous Pickles.
I never imagined that I would some day be a race director (or in this case a co-race director) when I first started running. If anyone actually read my old blog from wayyyyyy back when, I used to do a fairly comprehensive and satirical “race review” for each race that I participated. Now, here I am with the ability to mold and shape a race in the form that I want it to be in. While I am nervous at the prospect of the chaos that might ensue on Saturday morning, at the same time, I think Tim and I both agree that if we f*ck this thing up, in the end, it’s probably not a big deal because we’re only charging people $10 and most of the people who have heard about this race know that it’s very “no frills” and there are two yahoo’s running this thing. If we were charging the standard going rate for a 5k, which is generally around $25, then we’d have some heavy pressure to provide a higher quality event.
My biggest concern was registration, and trying to manage 300+ pre-registered runners and god knows how many walk-ups. We’ll still have a small walk-up crowd – mostly people who didnt get the word that we killed walk-ups, but we’re not going to turn anyone away. But 20 or so walkups is a hell of alot easier to manage that 70 or 80 walkups. We do have a fairly good volunteer group in place right now, and we would have had enough manpower to cover everything, even if we didnt kill the walk-up registration.
At one point today, Tim emailed me and said we were getting 15 registrations an hour. We sent out an email blast to our email list which has 4000 names on it, telling people that we’re closing out, and that seemed to drive alot of people to sign up before it’s too late.
It’s a weird coincidence that we decided to turn off the online registration for this race, because we had actually decided to make the February race registration online only. If anything, we’ve now created a very good “supply and demand” for this race.
Tim and I agreed to kill the online pre-registration a day early, and forgo any type of day-of registration. It’s kinda unmanageable to be honest. We weren’t prepared for this type of response. The weather is supposed to be very good on Saturday, which will probably drive alot of people out to the Park.
Tim asked me what me why I think this thing has gotten so big, so fast. Here’s what I am thinking:
1. It’s cheap. We only charge $10. There’s no other race in Delaware County that charges a race fee that low
2. It’s in the middle of the winter, and we dont have ant competition from any other races.
3. Marketing ploy #1: We gave out about 2,000 Pickle postcards starting back in October, and every race we timed.
4. Marketing Ploy #2: I showed up at every race that we timed this fall in the Pickle Suit. That’s really great promotion.
5. We have a “brand” – The Pickle! Pickle awards, etc.
6. Word of mouth. With our online registration, we ask the runners hwo they found out about our race and we got quite alot of responses that indicated that “I heard it from a friend” and that sort of thing
7. Runners World: Runners World had a small blurb about our race in the last issue. Again, online, some people indicated that they saw our race listed in the Mag with the article.
8. Prediction: The prediction format gets alot of people out the door. Its a “no pressure” format. You’re not racing against other people; essentially you’re racing against yourself.
9. The website and our email list. The Run The Day website is essentially the “go to” site if you want to find a race in Delaware County. Tim gets tons of hits and as I mentioned, the email list has well over 4,000 name on it. That’s a ton of exposure.