Get tips on handling emergencies from experienced event directors, read about two guys who make ROC Race a success, learn about the upcoming RRCA Convention, and more. | Not Subscribed Yet? Subscribe to The Edge Now!

The Edge ACTIVE Network

This April we want to celebrate the strong spirit of the endurance community and send a mountain of encouragement to the runners, volunteers, and staff of the Boston Marathon. Our thoughts turn to inspiration and ways we can improve on what’s already very good…the articles in our newsletter this month will reflect that theme. #BostonStrong

In this issue:

I hope you enjoy these articles. Feel free to share your feedback and ideas for our newsletters!

Sincerely,
Lisa Martin


P.S. Did you know that your sponsored ad can appear in the 3rd and 5th spots on ACTIVE.com search results? We reserve those spaces just for Instant Ads! Learn more about Instant Ads and the additional exposure you can get for your event.

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Race Director Blog
6 Tips From Race Directors on Handling Event Emergencies

Previously event contingency planning was just about weather. Now, the landscape has changed and we need to be concerned with other hypotheticals.  None of us are immune to being hit by an extreme situation that is out of our control, but we can be well prepared for it.  As Mike Nishi of the Chicago Marathon says, “It’s hard to plan for an emergency, but even harder to explain why you didn’t.”

We gathered some advice from race directors at…Read the full article

This article was posted on our blog on March 19th. If you want to know as soon as an article is posted, subscribe to our blog and you’ll get an email alert.  Click here to subscribe


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Tips and Tricks

Tips & Tricks
How to Integrate with Twitter on Your Registration Confirmation Page

The social media integration in ACTIVE Works is only getting better! Now you can integrate with Facebook AND Twitter on your event’s registration confirmation page. So once a participant registers for your event, they’ll receive a prompt to invite others to join them and register through these channels. Learn how to integrate with Twitter.

Check it out! Watch instructional videos and get lots of tips and tricks in the new Help Center.

To ensure you’re getting the most out of ACTIVE Works, register here for live product training (it’s free!).


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Bobby Petersen Headshot
Bobby Petersen
Brent Walla Headshot
Brent Walla

Event Director of the Month
Bobby Petersen, ROC Race Marketing Director
Brent Walla, ROC Race VP of Operations


Bobby Petersen and Brent Walla are two of the masterminds behind ROC Race, the original game-show-inspired run featuring 12 larger-than-life obstacles. Billed as “the craziest 5k of your life,” these guys know how to create an incredible event experience. But they are also dedicated to producing a highly professional and quality event that has safety as a top priority.

How did you get involved with ROC Race?
Bobby:  I started out doing sales and marketing for VAVi’s local sports leagues and events in San Diego. I really began to focus on digital – PPC, email, etc. and one of my gigs was the Electric Run. When Electric Run first launched I was running their online marketing for them. I moved into my current role of marketing director for ROC Race about a year ago when we decided to expand the event to a national tour. So now I’m responsible for the digital marketing as well as managing the marketing and communications team.

Brent: I’ve been in the entertainment and production business for 22 years. I started in college as a stagehand and worked my way through to lighting tech to rigger. From there I moved into production management and got into experiential marketing. I landed in San Diego and became the production manager for Street Scene and then started my own experiential marketing company producing large-scale events for corporate clients like Anheuser Busch and Southern Comfort. After several years I left the business and started freelancing. I got involved with VAVi and co-produced the Del Mar Mud Run and the first ROC Race. I came on board full time in January 2013 and produced the first five Electric Run events. Then my role became building up the team for ROC Race and taking it on the road.

ROC Race has grown fast. What were your most effective marketing tactics?
Bobby:  For each city we go to, we partner with other sport and social organizations that are similar to VAVi.  We work very closely to get them involved, give them some ownership, and market to their network. We also use ACTIVE’s marketing services to target participants in new cities.

What has helped you be successful when managing such complex operations?
Brent: I’m used to handling large-scale events for corporations with very high standards. You can’t make many mistakes when you’re dealing with thousands of people, music stages, alcohol, complex builds, etc. My mentality is to exhaust all details in preproduction so we can deal with the unforeseen (like weather and issues with contractors) on-site. That approach is very different from a company that strictly produces running events. Our goal is to be viewed as the elite producer of obstacle events in the race industry.

Can you give me some examples of the ways you go above and beyond with the details?
Brent: One example is that we have a meteorologist send us custom reports daily. On event day, the meteorologist at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma, monitored our event site and provided constant updates. This has paid off—in Austin, a wind storm was headed our way and we were able to respond and take action. We had everything secured and ready before the storm hit our event site.

In general, we hold ourselves completely accountable for the safety of our participants. A lot of people have never done an event like this before, so we have a detailed, tiered staffing plan:

  • Event Manager manages the overall flow of the event and fields all information
  • Race Director reports to the Event Manager  and helps handle issues and logistics
  • Director of Safety oversees the course, points out potential issues and monitors day-of happenings
  • Multiple technicians who strictly look at obstacle functionality
  • EMTs dedicated to each of the four zones of the event

Bobby: Safety is something we are vigilant about. We remind our participants that it’s more of an experience than a race. We make a major safety announcement via email and social media prior to the event and give tips on hydration and pacing when necessary. We strongly encourage them to take their time and be safe.

How do you keep ROC Race fresh and make people want to sign up again and again?
Bobby: Our return rate for participants is really high—in some cases it’s around 25 percent. That’s an indicator of how fun the experience is. Every year we come up with new obstacles and we’re constantly going higher and higher and better and better. The focus for us is not on making money and throwing up some easy inflatables that we bought at Costco. We have a custom inventory that is constantly being upgraded because we want participants to love the brand and have a great experience.

Brent: A reporter from Phoenix came out and covered the event and I think he said it best. He said it was one of the few opportunities as an adult to feel like a kid again. I think that’s a big part of the appeal.

Has working with ACTIVE and using our technology been helpful?
Bobby: We came to ACTIVE in the second year of ROC Race. We realized the tool was something we could benefit from and ACTIVE’s made a lot of advancements in the technology. The design and decision flow of the software has been accelerated.  Some really cool features include allowing teams to prepay and the ability to “share” on Facebook from the confirmation email. We use the registration and revenue reports a lot too (both standard and custom).

Plus, we incorporate a $5 donation to our charity, the Challenged Athletes Foundation, as well as a co-branded technical t-shirt within the registration path, and we’ve gotten good results from that. 

As far as marketing, we’re always evolving our plan with ACTIVE. Our budget depends on the number of projected participants for a particular event, but I will say we’ve been pleasantly surprised to see the success outside of our hometown market of San Diego.

And I feel like you listen very well. Our account manager has been great at listening and trying to get results.

Do you have any advice for other event directors?
Brent: Don’t underestimate the project or the workload. It’s expensive and a ton of work to do it safely.

Bobby:
 I think putting on an event like ROC Race can be a shiny object and people jump in without thinking through the cost and details. To be a successful and safe race series, you need to take control of the quality of your event.

What’s something upcoming that you’re excited about?
Brent: We’re going to be partnering with the Event Safety Alliance, which will be a first for our industry. We want to be on the forefront of bringing best practices, training and resources to the endurance event space.

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  What’s new
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Join us at the 56th Road Runners Club of America Annual Convention, May 1-4

We are very proud to be sponsors of the 56th Road Runners Club of America Annual Convention, hosted by the Bloomsday Road Runners Club in partnership with the Bloomsday Road Race. The convention is a great opportunity for running club leaders, race directors, fitness professionals, sponsors, running industry professionals, and more to come together to collaborate and share ideas on how to grow the sport. Attendees will get to experience educational workshops on best practices, the RRCA Annual Meeting of the Membership, the National Running Awards Banquet, and several social networking events.

Planning on attending? Let us know so we can connect in Spokane!

[Video] Meet the people who stand behind ACTIVE Works

Sometimes it’s nice to put faces to names, especially when you work so closely together. To help you get to know us, we put together a short video. Let our General Manager, SVP of Global Technology and some Product Managers give you some unscripted insight into working with ACTIVE and using our technology. Watch it now – it’s only 3 minutes!


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