The Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon, conducted in Australia and New Zealand is the largest under 16s triathlon series in the world. The Kids TRYathlon started 22 years ago in New Zealand and marked 16 years in Australia in 2014. It’s designed to encourage kids to get healthy and active while building confidence to “give it a TRY” in a fun and rewarding environment. The program, based on a triathlon course, is designed for kids aged 7 to 15, no matter what their sporting abilities or experience. Last year, over 38,000 kids ran, swam, and biked in 26 events.
The Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon series takes place in 26 locations across two countries. With so many events in different locations, the organisers needed to consolidate and streamline event management in one system.
ACTIVE Works Endurance helped Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon unify efforts across New Zealand and Australia on a centralised platform, access detailed reporting and benefit from dedicated customer support.
Q&A with David Martin, National Community Engagement Manager, Sanitarium
How did the Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon start?
What started this was more of a philosophical intent within Sanitarium. It’s a unique company. As part of its charter, the direction was to do things in the community, to make a difference, to help the community experience happy, healthy lives. It started 22 years ago in New Zealand. We decided to harness the idea of triathlon, which was an emerging sport at that stage, into an activity that would promote the commercial product. We also wanted it to connect with the community in a way to give kids the chance to be more active and have less a chance of having unhealthy lifestyle habits. That was its genesis, and 16 years ago we brought the event to Australia.
How do you ensure that kids and their families have the best experience possible?
We look at the way that we inform them—that’s important, the way that we give them information through our website—and make it easy for them to enter with the registration platform with ACTIVE. We have a communication campaign though email and EDMs. On event day, we continually work to study our crowd movements and course. We’ve made a number of improvements year-on-year as we monitor and take lessons from the way the events are run. We continue making incremental improvements to the event.
We value our commercial partners and we also work with them in terms of activations to add to the event by making sure the activations sponsors’ conduct also contributes to a good overall experience of the event.
I think one of the unique things about what we do is that we reward every child equally for finishing the course. We’re not judging or ranking kids. There is an aftermath of pride and achievement felt by every child. Parents’ feedback is that 80 to 90 percent of kids feel better about themselves due to their pride in achievement. We feel that is a very strong part of the experience. It’s something they’ll tell others about.
The TRYathlon series has a very strong following. What’s the reason behind its continued popularity and growth?
It’s gone through different stages. I think it’s fair to say there has been growth and then it’s plateaued over the years. In recent years Sanitarium has put some dedicated focus on the management of the series. We have been able to focus on what has been working well, what hasn’t been working well, and tried to make improvements to the experience. We have tried to move into areas that would support the event and to establish the event in areas to build the numbers.
How has ACTIVE’s technology helped improve your online registration process?
Our first encounter with ACTIVE Works actually improved our ability to report internally. We’ve tried to create a lot more in common between Australia and New Zealand. We were looking for a solution that would give us the ability to keep up with improvements in platforms that were being made worldwide, which is part of what ACTIVE offers. How has ACTIVE helped you consolidate your events in Australia and New Zealand? It gave us the ability, over time, to move ahead of where we were more efficiently than before. The immediate benefits were more reporting. In Australia, there were definitely improvements in reporting and control. We were looking for control and the [ACTIVE] platform was able to give us that, and that’s been of benefit to us.
Which features of ACTIVE Works were of great use to you?
We have made gains in the reporting. The feedback I’ve received from our staff is that they can pull reports and generate reports more easily on the ACTIVE Works platform.
We were able to integrate our kid tracking software, a scanning system for kids at our events, rather than manually entering them. We were able to integrate that with ACTIVE Works. We had a manual system before we introduced this software and scanning system and we had people queuing all over the place.
What support did ACTIVE’s team provide you before, during and after your events?
It’s the day-to-day work of your technical support team that’s the most beneficial to our program. That’s the reality. They are very strong and provide good responses, a good rapport with our internal digital manager and coordinator. They are always responsive and have a great attitude, so that has been very helpful.
What benefits do you see by partnering with ACTIVE?
The benefits have been an efficient registration system that gives us good reporting, and very good service on the system. For example, we had some issues with our school registration system in New Zealand and we found the service side very helpful in making changes in order for us to accommodate our particular requirements in New Zealand.
Overall how would you describe your experience using ACTIVE Network?
Very good. The ranking is up there because of the service.