Top Takeaways from Running USA’s 2018 Conference: Experiences Matter

The 2018 Running USA Industry Conference powered by ACTIVE Network wrapped earlier this month, marking another year of insights and innovation at the largest endurance running trade association event in the world. Gathering industry professionals from across the globe–this year’s attendees represented over 20 different countries–the conference included presentations, breakout sessions, panel discussions and, of course, plenty of group runs and networking.

Powered by Purpose

ACTIVE Network is a founding member of Running USA, and Cristine Kao, ACTIVE’s Senior Director of Global Marketing, was on the scene from day one to the closing reception. Throughout the conference, she noted attendees’ high energy and open minds. For example, a first-time Women’s Networking Meetup drew a crowd so large, it was standing-room-only.

“There are so many new ideas in the industry,” says Kao. “There’s a sense of purpose.”

Afdhel Aziz’s keynote speech reinforced this sentiment. The author of “Good is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn” touted the power of endurance events to drive purpose-focused goals. A staggering $1.2B is raised by running events each year for causes big and small.

The Endurance Experience

A two-fold industry trend ties back to Aziz’s key insight. As larger, longtime organizers see a decline in registration, more first-time events are popping up each year. Participants are also skewing more heavily toward the experience-seeking enthusiast, rather than the competitive runner, and they may be more attracted to smaller, regional and more purposeful events.

Kao explains the takeaway for organizers. “How do you create a holistic experience for both the racer and the everyday runner? As a race director, you have to consider both,” she says. “There’s an inherent alignment in that endurance running provides a unique experience for people.”

Designing Destination Events

An Idea Lab session led by Sam Renouf of Motiv Sports placed even greater emphasis on the experiential consumer. Entitled “Running as a Destination: How to Attract International Participants,” Renouf’s presentation highlighted the Sydney Marathon as a case study.

The popular event, marking its 17th year this September, courts runners from around the world via multilingual marketing, enhanced digital initiatives and positioning itself as a destination event that showcases Sydney’s unique culture. Renouf’s four elements of a destination event that will attract an international audience include (1) Location, Culture and History; (2) A Sense of Community; (3) Ease of Access and (4) Bragging Rights.

Watch the Experts

Building on the above insights from this year’s Running USA Industry Conference, check out our panel video featuring a discussion with three industry veterans:  Rich Harshbarger, CEO of Running USA; Sam Renouf, President of Motiv Sports and Dave McGillivray, Founder of DMSE Sports.

Will we see you in Puerto Rico in 2019?

How to Drive People Online with Early Bird Registrations

RJC__20130725_Active_SDTech_7724Your organization offers online registration. It’s convenient for your customers and saves you tons of time, but not enough people are using it. So you still have some long lines on registration day and you’re scrambling for ways to get people online. Introducing…early bird registration. With early bird, you can give early access to registration to a certain group. That way, people will be enticed to go online to register before classes open up to everybody else.

If you’re considering offering early bird registration, here is game plan:  Continue reading

15 Campus Recreation Departments Move to the Cloud



Campus recreation departments run the fitness facilities around campus, offer programs and training sessions, put on intramurals, and a lot more. But behind all that comes a ton of management time for staff members. That’s why we’ve seen a trend in recent years around the campus recreation industry: departments are moving to ‘the cloud’ (also known as Software as a Service) to manage all parts of their business without the IT infrastructure.   Continue reading

4 Ways to Connect at YMCA General Assembly

The anticipation isn’t quite as strong as the Olympics or the World Cup, but it is the YMCA General Assembly. And it only comes around once every 3 years. In about 10 days, we’ll be heading out to Philadelphia for General Assembly and we’re excited to network, learn, and have a little fun. Will you be there?

On top of all the great events and programs, we have a few other ways to connect. Check out a few ways we can meet up at GA:  Continue reading

State of the YMCA Industry: Post-NAYDO 2013

We’re smack dab in the middle of two big YMCA events – NAYDO 2013 Conference back in April and General Assembly coming up in July. So as we travel mentally and physically from Vancouver to Philadelphia, let’s take a look back at some trends and happenings from NAYDO:

Top trends for YMCAs in 2013

1. How mobile can help YMCAs engage their members – About 80% (informal poll) of the YMCAs we spoke to at NAYDO are focusing on providing their members with some sort of mobile app or mobile site. These organizations are focusing on providing mobile access to programs, particularly group fitness classes

Download a free ePaper about mobile.

2. Understanding donor history and needs – YMCAs want data on their donors and easier access to it. They want to be able to look at donation history and target emails to the individual rather than spray messages to a huge list.  Continue reading

Canton Commits to Community Wellness with ‘100 Days to Health’ (GUEST POST)

31052956This is a guest post from Jessica Levine, Marketing Coordinator at Canton Leisure Services in Canton, Michigan.

The figures are staggering: More than one-third of American adults and children are obese,  resulting in conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Canton Leisure Services (CLS), ACTIVE Network customer and winner of the National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal Award, is helping to relieve this epidemic on a local level through its four-month ‘100 Days to Health’ program.

Supported by a strong partnership with Southeast Michigan’s Oakwood Healthcare System, 100 Days annually begins in January and wraps up in late April at the popular Summit on the Park community center located in Canton, Michigan.  Continue reading

3 Negative Trends to Reverse in Your Community

In recent years, humans (and particularly kids) have become increasingly sedentary. This trend is affecting mental and physical health as well as healthcare costs. But a few weeks ago, ACTIVE customers from parks and rec agencies, collegiate rec departments, YMCAs and other community organizations gathered at our user conference to discuss these issues.  Continue reading

24 Activities That Will Get Young Professionals Through Your Doors

Yuppies. Say what you want about them, but they have incomes and a general affinity for the hottest fitness trend, class, and activity. They also take to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram before, during and after participating in a cool activity. Doesn’t that sound like an ideal customer? Depending on the demographics of your community, you could tap into the young professional market with some new and trendy offerings.

To help you understand what young professionals are looking for, here is a list of activities that are currently trendy in the 20 – 30 year old range:  Continue reading

Why You Need Benefit-Based Marketing (Guest Post)

This is a guest post by Greg Bruggeman. He is a recreation professional and blogs at Professional Recreation. Check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.

Have you ever had to buy an item foreign to you? Not something huge like a car or house but something inconsequential and of little cost, like a cleaning solution. As you sit in the aisle weighing the pros and cons of two similarly priced items, something catches your eye: Scrubbing Bubbles! You think to yourself “How could I have been so stupid! All these years, I’ve been doing the scrubbing when these bubbles can scrub for me!” I had to get this product! While I was walking out of the store with my Scrubbing Bubbles, I realized I had become the victim of great benefit-based marketing.  Continue reading

Top 4 Myths About ‘The Cloud’

Even in 2013, ‘the cloud‘ is still confusing. I guess that’s what we get for using such a wispy term to describe what pretty much is ‘the internet’. But when people reference ‘the cloud’, it’s usually in relation to things like software, storage and computing. So it’s fair to consider ‘the cloud’ and ‘cloud computing’ to be virtually the same thing: software that is passed over the internet.
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