5 Questions for Shantina Fox of the Girlfriends Half Marathon (Case Study)

At Northwest Personal Training you’ll find a number of important mantras, any of which reflect the focus of this fitness studio serving Washington and Oregon. One, “Looking good, feeling great and living life to the fullest,” could describe the magic of the studio’s annual Girlfriends Half Marathon, the proceeds of which go toward breast cancer research.

The 2012 event is scheduled to take place in less than a month, on October 14th. To celebrate that, we wanted to revisit a conversation we had earlier this year with Shantina Fox, registration manager, to learn more about the Girlfriends Half Marathon.

5 Questions for Shantina Fox of the Girlfriends Half Marathon:

1. How did the Girlfriends Half Marathon begin?
It all started in 2007, when one of our clients, Joleen, discovered she had breast cancer. At the time, Sherri (McMillan, owner of the studio) had wanted to do the San Francisco Half Marathon, only to find that it was sold out. So she decided to put together her own Half Marathon, which also allowed her to fulfill another goal: to do something positive on behalf of Joleen. We had more people than we’d prepared for that first year – over 400 – and every year it just gets bigger. In 2011 we had 3200 participants. The 2012 event is being capped at 3500.

2. How do you manage donations and fundraising?
We get donations from the community as well as participants. Last year we raised over $70,000; 100 percent of the profit is given to the Oregon and Southwest Washington Affiliate of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®, the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. Donations and other event details are completely automated; without that it would be near impossible to manage. Plus the time saved on registration management alone allows us to focus on those things that make Girlfriends not just an event, but a memorable experience.

3. Can you tell us more about the experience you try to create?
We have onsite vendors, including massage therapists who provide post-event complementary sessions. We even provide complementary chocolates.  And every year we have a special, custom-designed necklace created (it’s a different design yearly) that firemen place around the neck of participants at the finish line. We also have Girl Scouts there to give out water bottles. We get hundreds of people here from surrounding areas and over a thousand from out of town. We’re now working with Vancouver tourism to get discounted hotel rates, restaurant and shopping specials.

4. Why do you think the event continues to grow as it does?
I think there are a couple of factors at work. First, word of mouth is huge when it comes to Komen events. And once someone participates they are so jazzed about it – and all the perks we provide – that they come back. We have a lot of repeat business. They bring their kids, their families, their friends. Everyone has a blast. And Joleen still participates. Her bib says #1 and it will always be hers.

5. What are your plans for the future?
We are implementing a great thing for the 2012 event: Pink Skort Guys. We are opening the race to 50 special guys who can participate in the event for a $1000 fee. That money will go directly to the cause, so we could raise an additional $50,000! We’ll also ask these special guys to wear pink in some way, to support the cause and show off their ‘inner girlfriend.’ It should be really fun.

Wanna join in on the fun? REGISTER NOW for the Girlfriends Half Marathon!

Learn more about the event