A Cautionary Tale: Avoiding Event Bankruptcy


As some of you may have heard, Hero Rush, an obstacle-course race that completed 15 successful events last year and had 7 events scheduled for the remainder of this year, filed for bankruptcy last Saturday. Hero Rush cannot provide refunds to registrants, leaving no staff or resources to field calls or offer support. The event was well-liked and received positive reviews from participants, but this will obviously leave a very sour taste behind. We do not know the exact reason that forced them to file for bankruptcy, and likely it was a combination of factors, but we DO know how important it is to run your event like a business. In this cautionary tale, we want to encourage all event organizers to use the tools out there that are designed to improve your business practices and increase your success. From a high-level perspective, this is what we mean:

  • Get information out of your head and record it. The days of operating off of gut instinct and inherent knowledge are long gone.  We recently did a webinar on project management tools for event directors and Anton Villatoro, president and co-founder of RaceHQ, said it best: “We don’t care what tool you use, but use something. Take all of that knowledge and put it into RaceHQ, Microsoft Project, or even an Excel sheet!” When you’re managing events for hundreds or thousands of people, being organized is critically important.  You need to be prepared for everything from a drastic drop in registration numbers to medical issues on the course to running out of finish-line medals. Plan for it, write it down, and create best practices guidelines and learnings.
  • Run your numbers…every single day. Filing for Chapter 7 is a terrible decision to have to make and part of the issue can be having a weak grasp on your financials. Make sure you are looking at a registration report that shows your numbers and revenue, as well as an overall revenue report that shows your cash flow from all channels. These are reports we provide in our registration software, but again, we don’t care what system you use as long as you use something to get this information on a daily basis. It is crucial to protect the future stability of your event/business.

When one of us fails and loses the trust of participants, we all fail. When we succeed, we all succeed! We’re in this together and it’s important that we support each other and continue to promote best practices so we can grow the industry that we all love.

SEE ALSO: 5 Scary Things You Don’t Want to Happen with Registration