How One Race Grew to Over 20,000 Registrations and Became an Influencer

September 21st, 2016

By Nick Stevens, Senior Product Manager

Take a look at the races and brands that inspire you, whether on social media, blogs, forums or simply industry chatter.

What is it about these races and brands that has you paying such close attention?

They are influencers.

An influencer is a brand or a race making waves through innovation and proven results in their industry. You can tell which brands are influencers by the size of their following. What is their rate of recurring registrations? Do they have a brand that is easily recognizable? Do they have a race that is so memorable that people can’t stop talking about it to their friends?

If the answer is yes, they’re an influencer.

I recently had the chance to witness a race like this when I worked with the Brighton Marathon Weekend. Like many influencers, Brighton’s goals were to continuously innovate, create outstanding participant experiences and improve efficiency while increasing their reach.

Those are lofty goals for a race, but in the increasingly crowded running space, it is critical to push your race harder and farther each year to stand out and stay on top.

In the past, Tom and the team at Brighton have worked hard to align priorities across multiple partners. As with any race of this size, with three races in one weekend, Brighton needed cross-partner collaboration across Fundraising, Registration, Timing, Results and App Development (to name just a few).

For many race organizers, this myriad of relationships and technologies can be a nightmare.

For me, it was a dream come true.

For years my team and I had been working on a vision for a technology ecosystem that could power every aspect of a race. This ecosystem would integrate seamlessly to bring the race organizer not only efficiencies right out of the box, but also create numerous opportunities for future innovation.

And here was a partner with a shared vision, one who was willing to work with us to perfect it and turn vision into reality. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Collaboration is Key

For months we collaborated with the Brighton team to innovate on our technology, and come race day we finally got to see the results in a watershed moment for our industry.

For example:

  • Fundraising: Participants had the opportunity to create JustGiving fundraising pages as an integrated part of their registration. The result? Brighton was able to increase fundraising for their partner charities.
  • Registration: Since ACTIVEWorks Endurance, ACTIVE Timing, Event App, and OnSite are all on a single synchronized platform, there was no need to transfer data back and forth between partners, which kept registration open until minutes before the race began.
  • Timing and Results: Participants and spectators received split and finish times in just two to three seconds after stepping over the timing mat thanks to the real-time communication between all hardware and software.
  • App Development: Brighton was able to launch registration for the 2017 event during the 2016 event, notifying spectators and participants via push notification.

But it was one single moment that truly summed up what we had worked together with Brighton to achieve.

Rushing up to the finish line with his young daughter, a man with his eyes glued to his iPhone shouted, “Look for mommy, look for mommy!” His daughter searched enthusiastically down the finishing stretch, unable to locate her mom. Just as her excitement had begun to turn to disappointment, her father jumped up cheering and pointed to a woman coming around the corner. As I watched, the family embraced their finisher, full of joy and pride in her accomplishment.

I couldn’t help but smile at what we had helped Brighton achieve.

The runner tracking and predictive finish time features on the ACTIVE Event App had gotten the father and daughter to the finish line just in time to see the mother finish. We had created an unforgettable experience for a whole family, both the runner and her supporters.

Strength in Strategy

The bottom line is that, in our industry, you need a rock-solid strategy to become an influencer like the Brighton Marathon. On this page, I’ll show you step-by-step how my team and I helped them achieve their goals, and you’ll learn what similar actions you need to take to establish your race brand and grow your reach.

You’ll learn how Brighton:

  • Leveraged mobile-first technology to execute more than 20,000 participant registrations and 1,400 volunteer registrations.
  • Assigned 10,700 packs to participants at check-in to save time and money.
  • Maximized spectator engagement with an app that received nearly 46,000 downloads with consistent use throughout the weekend.

If you want to become an influencer but don’t know where to start, this site is a great first step towards building your race brand.

So what happened to that proud family? Well, the runner’s husband registered for the 2017 race after receiving the push notification during the race.

I am excited to know he will be cheered proudly down the home stretch next year.

Ready to Run with ACTIVE? Get in touch.

Nick Stevens is a senior product manager for The Active Network based in London. He has spent the past decade helping event directors turn their races and brands into influencers. In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking and, boarding, and collecting finisher medals.


Active Network

Contact Info

Active Network

Share This Article


Submit Your Press Release

Get your news delivered to thousands of media contacts and industry insiders in the running, cycling and triathlon industries now.


Join ESW Today!