Running USA CEO Update: August 2019

 

Where does the time go?  It’s hard to believe that in six months, Running USA will again host to the largest gathering of event professionals in the world at our annual industry conference in Las Vegas. Our team has been busy shaping programming and be sure to register soon  if you haven’t yet (a price increase is scheduled for the end of this month). it will be one you won’t want to miss.  

Since our last conference the Running USA staff and board have been busy working to support you, our members.  In March we again partnered with the industry's leading registration companies to create the annual State of the Sport trends report.  Research and trend watching continues to be one of our core values and soon we will be issuing a summary demographic report focused on runners’ genders, ages and ethnicity that will help you better get to know your core audience. The findings are interesting and will shed light on how different groups make decisions when choosing specific events. These findings will be free to all current members.  Later this year we will also summarize recent statistics from the National Sporting Goods Association and will again be asking for your support as we go into the field with our annual National Runner Survey .   

Another core value of the organization is education.  While the annual conference is a tremendous opportunity to learn from experts and share best practices, we also know travel and time away isn’t always ideal.  In our third year, the Accelerator Series presented by Race Roster brings the learning to you.  Already this year we’ve hosted nearly 100 people in six cities with seven more to go by year-end.  In fact, we will be in Orlando next week and there is still time to sign up.  Topics discussed are timely and relevant regardless of event size, focusing on marketing, social media, sponsorship and data management. We hope to see you at one of the stops to finish out the 2019 tour.

If the Accelerator Series isn’t coming to a city near you, we’re proud to enter into our second year of web-based sessions with imATHLETE billed as the Running USA Data Insight Series. On these interactive calls, we share lessons like how far entrants will travel to a race and how far in advance they register.  We’ve taken deep dives on the best use of discount codes and other pricing models.  These sessions are recorded and available for review here.  Be sure to watch for future calls later this year.  

In addition to those recorded sessions, we have a wide range of content available.  White papers, case studies and how-to guides are here to help when you need it.  And, we always want to hear from you.  If there is a topic you want to share as an expert source, or a topic you'd like us to research, please reach out to Leah Etling, our marketing and communications director.  

Though Running USA is a small organization, we are always punching above our weight.  A few months ago, we were asked to report on the state of our sport at the first-ever IAAF Global Running Conference in China  We were among 400 mostly Chinese attendees and 50 international presenters sharing insights in a country where participation in the sport is skyrocketing.  In September, we will share similar information at the second European Running Business Conference held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Prague 10K in the Czech Republic.  I mention these international conferences because we continue to be seen as a leader around the world for the services we provide and the impact we’re having on the sport. As a result of this leadership, a growing part of our organization is from outside of the U.S.  

Finally, I’d like to mention (and thank) our board of directors. A few weeks ago we convened for our summer board meeting (photo above), where new officers were selected. This group of industry leaders volunteer countless hours each year to help guide and shape this organization. While the small staff focuses on the day-to-day operations, the board is there to help push us forward and innovate. We recently streamlined our board committees and will be updating you on our progress frequently.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or any board member with any questions, concerns or ideas.  

So, with six months to go until our annual conference, our focus is clear: Running USA exists because and for you.  We’re here to serve your needs and we are committed to that.  Best to you all as we head into the fall event season and please keep us updated on how we can help.

-Rich