36 episodes

Head Start is a podcast for race directors and anyone involved in the business of putting on races.
It doesn't matter where you're based or how many years experience you have or whether you're putting on a running race, a triathlon, an obstacle race or whatever. If you’ve got an interest in planning, organizing and growing endurance events, this is the podcast for you.
The focus of the podcast is twofold:
1) we bring you the latest and coolest innovations hitting the mass-participation endurance events industry, and
2) we bring you tips and actionable advice from industry experts to help you improve your race - one episode at a time.
Head Start is produced by RaceDirectorsHQ.com, an online resource platform and community network for race directors and race management professionals.

Head Start Race Directors HQ

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

Head Start is a podcast for race directors and anyone involved in the business of putting on races.
It doesn't matter where you're based or how many years experience you have or whether you're putting on a running race, a triathlon, an obstacle race or whatever. If you’ve got an interest in planning, organizing and growing endurance events, this is the podcast for you.
The focus of the podcast is twofold:
1) we bring you the latest and coolest innovations hitting the mass-participation endurance events industry, and
2) we bring you tips and actionable advice from industry experts to help you improve your race - one episode at a time.
Head Start is produced by RaceDirectorsHQ.com, an online resource platform and community network for race directors and race management professionals.

    Market Update: Are We There Yet?

    Market Update: Are We There Yet?

    It is May 2022 and whatever hopes and expectations we’ve all had of 2022 at the end of last year have started to materialize - or have they? It’s difficult to say how strongly our industry’s recovery towards pre-pandemic levels has fared so far this year, particularly when we all individually get to see only parts of the bigger picture.

    Well, today I’m delighted to be joined by two industry insiders who get to see as much of the bigger picture as any in our industry - Bob Bickel, Founder of US registrations market-leader RunSignup and Chris Robb, CEO of Mass Participation World and a passionate advocate for the endurance events industry.

    Chris and Bob come armed with data and a deep understanding of our industry and where it’s currently at, and they’ll be discussing with me the latest data on event numbers and registration trends, as well as more profound questions, like “Is it time for race directors to be raising prices?” - a question I’m sure many of you are asking yourselves.

    In this episode:
    Market recovery continues, but lagging prior expectations for 2022The effect of Omicron and erosion of trust on race participationHave people fallen out of love with racing?The knock-on effect of losing early sign-ups on overall registrationsRace director sentiment: from optimism to survival modeThe risk of operational know-how loss for the industryWhy are runners not getting back to start lines? Update on participant no-show ratesThe effect of local authority staff turnover on race permitting and event support provisionIs local business and local community support for races waning?Industry lobbying efforts throughout the pandemicNon-returning race rates before and during the pandemicFinancial stresses for mid-tier organizers and the tough 6 months aheadIs it time for race directors to raise prices?Bridging the disconnect between events and participants through year-round participant engagementSponsor sentiment and the shift towards performance-based sponsorshipsMarket forecasts for the next two yearsMany thanks to our podcast sponsors, RunSignup and Racecheck, for supporting our efforts to provide great, free content to the race director community:

    RunSignup are the leading all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events. More than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. Find out more at https://runsignup.com/.

    Racecheck can help you collect and showcase your participant reviews on your race website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants, with the help of their Racecheck Review Box. Download yours for free today at https://organisers.racecheck.com/.

    You can find more resources on anything and everything related to race directing on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com.

    You can also share your questions about marketing or anything else in our Facebook group, Race Directors Hub.

    • 1 hr 24 min
    SMS Marketing

    SMS Marketing

    When it comes to marketing events, text marketing - or SMS marketing, as it’s often known - is just about as controversial as it gets. Some people have used it and absolutely love the high engagement rate and ROI SMS marketing campaigns provide, others don’t want anything to do with it and positively cringe at the idea of marketing their event over so personal a channel.

    Well, over the next hour and a half we are going to be going deep into the technology, the arguments and the facts around SMS marketing with my two expert guests, Gerry Perez of RunGP and Endurance Marketing Founder Beth Salinger. We’re going to be looking at how SMS marketing campaigns work, the pros and cons of using SMS over, or alongside, other marketing channels like email and social media, and how SMS can be used to reactivate customer databases like your unproductive mailing list.

    In this episode:
    SMS marketing as another tool in your marketing stackSMS marketing's spectacular open rates and how to compare them to email open ratesExamples of SMS campaigns: when to send them, how often, and what to include in themGetting the most out of your SMS campaigns with limited-time offers Responding to customer replies, following up and nurturing people through conversationsSMS marketing conversion rates and how to interpret themIntegrating your SMS marketing with your registration platform, Zapier for better attribution, ROI-trackingReactivating customer databases through SMSSMS copy best practices: identifying yourself as the sender, using clear calls-to-action, using emojis, personalizing your messagesFunnelling cold leads from Facebook ads into SMS nurturing campaignsBuilding up your SMS marketing list: subscribing website visitors, obtaining user consent, drawing users from social media, using incentives, using QR codesThe cost of running SMS campaignsMany thanks to our podcast sponsors, RunSignup and Racecheck, for supporting our efforts to provide great, free content to the race director community:

    RunSignup are the leading all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events. More than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. Find out more at https://runsignup.com/.

    Racecheck can help you collect and showcase your participant reviews on your race website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants, with the help of their Racecheck Review Box. Download yours for free today at https://organisers.racecheck.com/.

    You can find more resources on anything and everything related to race directing on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com.

    You can also share your questions about marketing or anything else in our Facebook group, Race Directors Hub.

    • 1 hr 42 min
    Race Announcers!

    Race Announcers!

    Does your race employ a race announcer? Chances are probably not. You may think that your race is not big enough to have one or that the money spent on a race announcer could be better spent elsewhere - or not spent at all, if you run a for-profit race or raising money for a charity or cause close to your heart.

    Well, today we’re going to try and give you some reasons to reconsider with the help of my guests, professional announcers Fitz Koehler and Steve Fleck. We’re going to be looking at the many things race announcers do on race day, how they contribute to the race experience, and how they can make your race an event to remember.

    In this episode:
    The difference a voice can make: how race announcers elevate the race experienceShould even smaller races have a race announcer?From start to finish: what a race announcer does throughout race dayExpert tips on race announcing: gathering participants' background info/stories, pacing yourself, engaging spectatorsName pronunciations, mis-gendering and avoiding finish line faux pas!The importance of hiring announcers who understand racesHiring a race announcer: where to find one, what you get and what it costsLinks:
    Find and hire a race announcer: https://www.racedirectorshq.com/us/emcees-announcers/ Many thanks to our podcast sponsors, RunSignup and Racecheck, for supporting our efforts to provide great, free content to the race director community:

    RunSignup are the leading all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events. More than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. Find out more at https://runsignup.com/.

    Racecheck can help you collect and showcase your participant reviews on your race website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants, with the help of their Racecheck Review Box. Download yours for free today at https://organisers.racecheck.com/.

    You can find more resources on anything and everything related to race directing on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com.

    You can also share your questions about marketing or anything else in our Facebook group, Race Directors Hub.

    • 1 hr 24 min
    [Bonus] The Space Force T-Minus 10-Miler

    [Bonus] The Space Force T-Minus 10-Miler

    What do the Marine Corps Marathon, Air Force Marathon and Army Ten Miler all have in common? They are, of course, amazing races put on to celebrate branches of the US Military that attract tens of thousands of participants every year.

    Well, there’s a new race in town for 2022, set to celebrate the youngest of all military branches: the Space Force. The aptly named Space Force T-Minus 10-Miler is set to take place this December 10th at historic Cape Canaveral, and we’re going to be hearing all about it from the event’s own race director Brandon Hough in today’s star-spangled bonus episode. 

    So get ready for some military race history, rockets, alligators, more rockets, and some very interesting insights into working as a race director within the US government.

    In this episode:
    Military races: how it all begun with the Marine Corps MarathonNAFIs and the legal structure of military racesThe challenges of putting on a race inside the US government/militaryThe birth and mission of the US Space ForceConceiving and launching the Space Force T-Minus 10-MilerMapping out a race course around historic Cape CanaveralWhat to expect from the inaugural race (hint: more than rockets and alligators, although there's definitely plenty of those!)The Sea, Air & Space ChallengeMany thanks to our podcast sponsors, RunSignup and Racecheck, for supporting our efforts to provide great, free content to the race director community:

    RunSignup are the leading all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events. More than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. Find out more at https://runsignup.com/.

    Racecheck can help you collect and showcase your participant reviews on your race website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants, with the help of their Racecheck Review Box. Download yours for free today at https://organisers.racecheck.com/.

    You can find more resources on anything and everything related to race directing on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com.

    You can also share your questions about marketing or anything else in our Facebook group, Race Directors Hub.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    The Council for Responsible Sport

    The Council for Responsible Sport

    It is by now abundantly clear that some of the ways we have all been used to doing things, including organizing races, are just not sustainable for the planet in the long term. And it is increasingly obvious to race directors and participants alike that traveling long distances to and from events, going through scores of single-use plastic bottles, and sending tons of waste to landfill is taking its toll on the environment and the communities we all strive to support.

    For over a decade, the Council for Responsible Sport has supported mass-participation sports’ sustainability transition through its industry-leading certification program and the development of the industry’s first responsible sport standards.

    And today, I have the pleasure of catching up with the Council’s Executive Director, Shelley Villalobos, on the Council’s recent initiatives to encourage even more race directors to take their first steps towards environmental sustainability, including the launch of ReScore, a free app that can help any race organizer plan, track and achieve their sustainability goals step by step through a single online platform.

    In this episode:
    The origins and mission of the Council for Responsible SportHow the Council of Responsible Sport is governed and fundedRace sustainability efforts around the worldDeveloping sustainability standards and best practicesResponsible event certification, what it costs and the process for getting your race certifiedGetting certified with the help of a corporate sustainability sponsorLeveraging your race's environmental credentials to promote your event's purposeMitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and carbon offsettingIncorporating the cost of reducing GHG emissions from participant travel into the event registration costReducing single-use plastic waste: using and effectively disposing of compostable water cups, allowing water backpacks, cupless racing, Ooho!ReScore: the free app that helps you collaborate, track your progress and access relevant resources as you work towards making your race more sustainableLinks:
    CRS Responsible Sport Standards: https://www.councilforresponsiblesport.org/standardsCRS Responsible Events Guide: https://www.councilforresponsiblesport.org/runradReScore: https://portal.sportrescore.org/Project Drawdown: https://drawdown.org/Many thanks to our podcast sponsors, RunSignup and Racecheck, for supporting our efforts to provide great, free content to the race director community:

    RunSignup are the leading all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events. More than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. Find out more at https://runsignup.com/.

    Racecheck can help you collect and showcase your participant reviews on your race website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants, with the help of their Racecheck Review Box. Download yours for free today at https://organisers.racecheck.com/.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Recruiting & Managing Volunteers

    Recruiting & Managing Volunteers

    It’s probably not an overstatement to say that volunteers are the backbone of every successful race. They are the people that make much of race day happen and, yet, recruiting and managing volunteers, training them properly and retaining them for the long run remains a constant headache for race directors of all levels of experience.

    Well, today we’re going to try and make everyone’s life a little bit easier by going over some great tips and strategies for streamlining your volunteer recruitment and fine-tuning all aspects of your volunteer management. We’ll discuss tips for balancing your volunteer load across volunteer shifts, creating mega shifts with enough buffer to make sure you’ve got all the people you need on race day, and some tried-and-tested tactics to mitigate volunteer attrition.

    My guest for today’s discussion, Tim Bradley, is the volunteer coordinator for the McCourt Foundation, organizers of the Los Angeles Marathon and other marquee races. Tim has recruited and managed thousands of volunteers over the years and, as you’ll see, he has developed a very specific approach to running volunteer programs, based on evidence and experimentation. 

    In this episode:
    What motivates volunteers to volunteer for a raceVolunteer recruitment for for-profit vs nonprofit racesThe cost of recruiting and managing volunteers: donations, free entries, shirts, meals, transportationWhat volunteers can and can't do for your raceOrganizing your volunteer force: flat vs hierarchical team structuresQualities to look for in your group captains and super-volunteersTim's detailed volunteer recruitment plan/scheduleRecruiting individual volunteers vs recruiting volunteer groupsLoad balancing, mega shifts and diversification: making sure your shifts fill up evenly across the boardThe importance of mega shifts and shift buffers/padding for mitigating volunteer attrition on race dayWorking out how many volunteers you'll need for your raceRecruiting volunteers through email, social media, paid ads, text messages, cold calling, volunteer marketplacesBuilding a volunteer mailing list Signing up volunteers from your past race participants Recruiting groups of volunteers from high school service clubs, sports teamsHow to link to your volunteer program/sign up page from your websiteReducing friction throughout your volunteer signup processSinging in and briefing volunteers on race dayPractical food/snack ideas for volunteers and how to distribute them on race day"Thank you" emails and issuing volunteer service verification lettersMany thanks to our podcast sponsors, RunSignup and Racecheck, for supporting our efforts to provide great, free content to the race director community:

    RunSignup are the leading all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events. More than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. Find out more at https://runsignup.com/.

    Racecheck can help you collect and showcase your participant reviews on your race website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants, with the help of their Racecheck Review Box. Download yours for free today at https://organisers.racecheck.com/.

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

snow-gator ,

Must listen

Great and practical advice for race directors and others in the endurance sport industry!

Sheetz2Sheetz ,

Great practical advice

As a new RD, I’ve found this podcast to be enormously helpful, whether it’s guiding me through a decision, inspiring me to consider new ideas or helping me adopt best practices. The guests are always knowledgeable, and Panos is an excellent facilitator.

Rufus Racing ,

Finally a RD podcast!

I’ve been race directing for 16 years now so to find advanced content gets difficult. I absolutely love the meaty content this podcast offers! FANTASTIC!

Top Podcasts In Sports

Barstool Sports
The Ringer
Dan Le Batard, Stugotz
ThreeFourTwo Productions & Cadence13
Barstool Sports
The Ringer

You Might Also Like

Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Will Arnett
FREETRAIL
David Roche and Megan Roche
The Moth
Crooked Media
Tenderfoot TV