Tim Scrivner, co-founder of the Run the Jailbreak Series, got his start organizing 5Ks before becoming one of the first people to spot the Mob™ event trend and capitalize on it. A health club owner who wanted to reach more people and encourage them to be healthy, Tim is the consummate example of a self-made race director who’s in the game because he loves creating unique experiences that get participants hooked on events.
1. What inspired you to become an event director?
I got the idea for putting on 5Ks from Paul Carrozza, who is considered the godfather of running in Texas and was co-chair of the Governors Fitness Council when I first met him. I owned a couple of health clubs and was frustrated that I was unable to help many of the people in our society that needed it because of their fear and misconceptions about health clubs. Paul taught me that while most people won’t train for their health, you can get them to train for a fun or unique event. This has been the basis for everything I have done since then.
2. When did you organize your first event and what was it?
My first event was a local 5K in 2007 that we called the Flexin Texan 5K. We hosted a couple hundred runners and had a good time. It opened the door to several more community 5Ks that same year which gave us some hands on learning of the basics of putting on runs, such as registration, ordering of essentials and promotion.
3. How did that first event go?
The first Flexin Texan was what I could consider very “small town.” We had a couple of bounce houses for the kids and a few local sponsors under 10×10 tents (if they had any covering at all), but it was a great learning experience on how to get people excited about an idea.
Our first Jailbreak, a Mob™-style event, was the most nerve racking experience of our lives. While we had done all the organizational work leading up to the event, we hired an experienced race director to help us oversee everything. The event went great and we learned a lot by bringing in someone who was more experienced in running a larger race.
4. Why did you decide to transition from putting on traditional 5Ks to Mob™ events?
A buddy of mine convinced me to sign up five months in advance for the inaugural Warrior Dash in Texas. I couldn’t believe we had to register so early for a 5K, but we could see that it had waves that were already sold out. When I saw the promo video for Warrior Dash, I knew this was something I wanted to do. I studied that video and soon after put together a course for Jailbreak. We began marketing in May 2010 and had our first event that September at DFW Adventure Park in Roanoke, Texas. We were the first large mud run to follow the inaugural Texas Warrior Dash and we received a huge turnout for a first year event.
5. How quickly did you expand the Jailbreak series?
In 2011 we moved into the Austin area because we already had business connections there. Since we both own other businesses, we were determined to not put our personal money into the events and decided to allow each event to fund itself and see where it might lead us. It was important for us to be smart about where we expanded and not jump blindly into a new market.
Bringing on Jeep, Anheuser-Busch and the National Guard as series sponsors for 2012 allowed us to bring Jailbreak to new markets. We soon expanded to South Padre Island and Houston and we’re looking at more cities in the coming year. We will keep most of the locations in Texas and immediate surrounding states because those are the areas we know best.
6. What lessons have you learned?
I wouldn’t know where to begin! I would say that one of the most important things we have learned is to try not to wear all the hats yourself. Identify people who are capable of handling different responsibilities and empower them to make that role their own.
Also, it’s important to listen and ask lots of questions. The people who are working at packet pick up, bag check, a water station, or even at an obstacle will know a lot more about what’s working and what’s not than you will as the supervisor of the entire event.
7. Why do you keep doing what you do? What motivates you?
The expressions I see on the faces of our participants when they cross the finish line, the emails and Facebook posts we get from people telling us how “that was the first 5k they had ever done” or “how it was their first Jailbreak and now they’re hooked,” those are the things that motivate me and keep me doing what we do.
8. Do you personally participate in endurance events? What else do you do to relax and stay active?
I have run a couple of half marathons and one full marathon along with countless 5Ks. I enjoy group running events but I prefer the solitude of running alone. This is where I can clear my head, where I am able to think, plan and pray.
Congrats to Tim Scrivner on being Event Director of the Month for July!
Read More about Run the Jailbreak