“It’s all about the event experience.” We’re hearing that from more and more race directors – creating a unique experience is becoming a top priority. It’s not enough these days to just have a race course and a finisher’s medal…there’s too much competition. So how do you make your event fun and memorable for participants?
One big way to do that is to involve the whole family. The #1 post-race activity for triathletes is spending time with family and friends and 43% travel with their families.* Looking at other types of endurance events like marathons and bike races, it’s easy to see that these stats hold true across the board. Events are becoming more social and family oriented.
It’s important for event directors to capitalize on this trend and engage the entire family. Here are five ways you can do that:
1. Offer child care. Any parent will tell you how difficult it can be to find a babysitter, not to mention the cost and the additional stress it can add to race morning. Make it easy for your participants and offer day care at your event. Contract with a child care company so parents can trust that they are dropping their kids off with qualified individuals and can simply swoop them up at the finish line.
2. Allow strollers on your course. Permit participants with strollers to join by placing them in the final wave or create a separate, shorter distance (e.g. Stroller Stride 5K) within your larger event.
3. Add a kids’ fun run. This is not a novel idea – you’ve heard of 1-mile kids’ runs or diaper dashes – but get creative with it to differentiate your event. For example, add a “Father-Daughter Dash” or “Mom-Son Run.” Or host a three-legged or leap frog race! Think of some unique ideas; your main goal is to get parents and children to participate together, having fun and acting like a team. And be sure to give the kids some really cool medals!
4. Bring award winners’ kids up on stage. For your overall and age group winners, encourage them to bring their children up on stage with them (if they have children) during the awards ceremony. Or, if you have time to prepare for it, have their kids present the awards to them. This will help make parents look like heroes to their kids and create more excitement for the whole family.
5. Host a finish line fun zone. Fence off a family fun zone somewhere in the vicinity of your finish line and make it a party. Add music, face painting, balloon animals, a bounce house, mascots, etc. Whatever you can think of to entertain the kids and make it a celebration for families.
Have any other family-friendly ideas for events? Share them below!
*Source: Triathlon America and ACTIVE Network Market Survey 2012