Race directors the world over have long abided by some general rules of planning events. One of the most popular rules is that you must hold your event during the warmer months, or it will not be successful.
Insights from ACTIVE Network Activity Cloud® comprised of millions of event registrations last year tells a similar, but much more nuanced narrative. Among three event categories—triathlon, running and walking events—one month of the year easily outshines the other eleven: May. Each for different reasons.
The last official month of spring gathered a whopping 20 percent of registrations for walking events. Running events are a different animal entirely, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being this category encompasses everything from a 1K to a marathon. For this category, May was still the most popular, but by a smaller margin, capturing only about 14 percent of total annual registrations. May was not in the top three months for triathlons. However, it stands out as the season opener. Events in May through September capture a staggering 68 percent of all US tri registrations.
Beyond May, the three event categories begin to look more unique. For example, September proves to be an important month for tris and the second most popular for running events, with 15 percent and 12 percent of registrations happening in that month respectively. But, for walking events, September doesn’t rank at the top of the list. The top three months for events in that category are March (10 percent) May (20 percent) and October (16 percent). Additionally, participation in walking events actually declines drastically during the warmest months.
The point is that while race directors have generally been right about the “rules” of hosting endurance events, more detail and nuance can make a big difference in success. Based on industry guesses, one might think April and November were the biggest months for running events given that some of the most recognized events take place in those months. And while an April event might not throw off your registration numbers drastically, holding an event even a few weeks later, when there’s a higher likelihood of registrations, might be the difference between meeting your goals and breaking even. There is a caveat, however. A May event could also mean higher competition. So, be sure to do your research in order to ensure that there aren’t other large, competing events in your area.
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