Running surveys have been circulating throughout the endurance industry for years, and they’ve contributed significantly to the industry’s general knowledge about the state of the sport beyond the microcosm any individual race director might experience with their own race.
That means, that when you survey the entire nation of runners and ask them their demographic and preference information, you’ll learn interesting facts that may be common sense, but for the most part, national data is too general for many race directors to make actionable.
While these national trends are good, the more local the data a race director has to their particular race, the more reliable that data will be to their own particular race.
The Devil’s in the details.
In my earlier article, When Should your Plan Your Race, Saturday or Sunday?, I argued that while the general perception of the most popular day to hold an event was Saturday, closer inspection showed that some areas of the country leaned towards Sunday as a more popular day, and two states, Massachusetts and New Jersey actually preferred Sunday.
So what else is out there? What else have we been told about the endurance industry at the national level that has more meaningful insights at the state or city level?
How about this one?
Women participate in short to medium distance races more than men do. It’s true. Until you get to Marathon distances, there can be 20% more females participating than men. Here’s what’s interesting. Even though there are more men running marathons nationwide (52% Male, 48% Female), states like Florida (48% Female, 52% Male) and Arizona (47% Male, 53% Female), are exceptions to this trend.
If you’re a race director in Florida and Arizona, you simply won’t see that level of localized data from summarized national surveys, and your marketing could miss the mark with this important demographic.
Here’s what you need to do. Ask for the local data. Find out if the information you’re being presented holds true for your state. Insights are only helpful to you if they’re localized and relevant to your area.
National data is great trivia, but the devil is in the details and it’s time you start demanding to see them.
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