When you’re out there running a race, it’s nice to know that the person who put the race together is just another runner like you. That’s why this month’s Event Director of the Month, Libby Jones, started The Active Joe. Libby is a mom, a back-of-the-pack runner and a committed race director, bringing sold-out races to the Dallas area.
Since 2011, The Active Joe has brought challenging and successful races to Texas by the hands and hard work of Libby. With effective social media marketing and a positive and community-driven focus, Libby stands out as more than just an ordinary “Joe” to us!
We sat down with Libby to learn more about her and The Active Joe:
Who has been a major influence on your career?
I volunteered at a race that Lewis George of Mellew Productions was producing and saw first hand what he was capable of. Along with Lewis, his assistant Paula Robertson, who produced the Heels and Hill Half Marathon, taught me a great deal about producing races. It was a great experience.
What challenges did you face in starting The Active Joe?
When I started The Active Joe, I expected to have a hard time to get people to come to the races. It turns out the word of mouth was good and the people came. Where I struggled was balancing what is smart, with what keeps everybody happy while providing to charities. It’s hard to do all three.
What set of marketing tactics have been the most effective for you?
I was already a runner and involved in the local community when I started The Active Joe. I was past president of Dallas Running Club and in my time as President, I helped to grow the club from 1,000 to 4,000 people, making it one of the largest running clubs in the country. My marketing has always focused on positive word of mouth and the reputation that I am one of you.
How do you determine when to open registration and the type of prices to set?
I open registration at different times, depending on when I have down time and when the public clamor is large enough that they want registration to open. I set pricing tiers. The prices changes as more people register. I work to sell out the events and maximize revenue, similar to airlines industry.
How have the shifts in technology affected your events?
Since I’ve been with ACTIVE since 2006, I haven’t felt much change with the shift in technology. I rely 100% on online registration with no mail-in registration option. I work to stay ahead of the game, and, since my races typically sell out, I don’t have to deal with on-site registration. I’ve fully adapted to social media and use Facebook pages for all of our races, and our business, with 3,000 to 4,000 followers for each page.
What advice would you give to new race directors around opening registration and setting prices?
Be careful with your budget because expense management kills races. You need to have a sense for the money coming in and out. Setting a budget and stay within the frame is key. You also need to know how to get the runners. Volunteer at other races to learn the ropes and build relationships.
Which Active Joe event is your favorite, and why?
The New Years Double is my favorite – it’s a marathon, half marathon and a 5k, two days in a row. It’s a huge challenge. The concept allows you to end the year and start the new year by completing your own combination of challenges. This is our signature event and the first event I ever produced on my own.
Why did you choose ACTIVE Network?
When I started out, I inherited ACTIVE as the platform for the race I was producing for a non-profit, but I stayed with ACTIVE with my own business because they are great at giving the data needed to manage from day to day. As a race director, I spend so much time in data. ACTIVE has always been able to give the information I need at a high level.
Learn more about The Active Joe.