There is always a storm of activity when a race cancels. Facebook groups light up with people shocked and upset. Messages are exchanges between people to find out as much information as possible. Phone calls get made and blog posts get written.
It’s sad, and unfortunate when a race series ends. In a case like Jungle Cup – it’s with a bitter taste, as the owner takes everyones registrations fee and sinks them into a new venture, never officially closing his doors. For others like Ruckus and Hero Rush, they were well liked series that seemingly doing well for themselves, and confusion is left in their wake.
At some point during the exchange of communications that follow, someone will say “and this is why I only sign up for the big races” – referring of course to Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash.
Here’s why I think they are missing out.
The big three are backed and funded and will be here a while – we already know this. We run the races, and get what we expect from them.
The races above? The races that struggle in the market? They are, almost always, aspiring to be *like* Spartan or Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash. They *want* to be national and to grow to multiple cities and territories when they grow up. They frequently fail at it too.
There are plenty of excellent races that these folks miss out on. Local races that are happy and content to run one or two events a year – and don’t feel the need to expand at a rapid pace to cities they’ve never been to before. Events that we can speak to the race director directly, without having to go through a marketing team, or social media contact (because at these races, the RD *is* the social media contact, and the marketing department, and the lunch lady …)
These are the races run on not much more than enthusiasm and a credit card limit – rather than on cost projections and expense accounts. HQ is a living room floor, and the build yard is their back yard.
These local races can be just as innovative as the big boys (Check out the Tuff Scramblers course), even if they don’t have the numbers. They are as much fun, especially when we bring a large number of Spahtens along (Check the Prom Dress wave at FIT Challenge out), and frequently have the room to be more experimental and cutting edge (check out pretty much any of Shale Hill Adventure Farms obstacles out). Some are just as competitive, with money on the line, and because the event is smaller, you’ve got more chance to win too! Others look after you really well (check Panic in the Darks custom T’s and team flags)
So, when someone says they only run “the big three”, thats a shame. They are missing out on some quality local racing.