As a web site dedicated to local events, we hear it all the time. The question from an event director is always, how can we get more participants? The question from participants is; how can we get better events? The answer is early promotion and EARLY REGISTRATION. Below is a list of reasons why you should register early and how it will grow events in the area.

1) Early Registration saves YOU the participant money. Most races run early bird specials to entice people to sign up. Runners can expect to save anywhere from $5-$15 per race entry if signing up early. Triathletes can save anywhere from $50 – $100 by registering early.

2) The amount of early registrations almost always dictate the level of amenities the race is willing to offer. For example, awards for age group athletes and even finishers. For smaller races, it is hard to promise finisher medals to all competitors if early registration is lacking. We recently solicited quotes for a race we manage for finisher medals. The price for the medals vary based on quantity needed and always have a minimum order with a  3-4 week turn around. At $3.00 a medal and minimum order of 50, we’d be looking at $150 as an added expense. In reality though, there will probably be 2-3 times as many finishers in said event. The dilemma is, is there enough money to order extra and what do we do if we order too many.

3) Shirts, shirts, shirts, one more time……..SHIRTS! By registering early, you guarantee yourself an event shirt and you help relieve some of the pressure put on the race director. I (Darrin) remember helping at a race where we had 80% of our participants sign up 2 nights before the event. We didn’t have enough fore site to guarantee only a certain number of shirts so we frantically called our printer and asked him to jack up the order. We gave our printer an unrealistic goal and he was unable to get the order done. As a result, I (Darrin) drove around Jacksonville hand delivering almost 50 shirts to race participants, as a tank of gas was cheaper than sending off 50 tees. Early registration also helps offset the cost of printing, which in turn allows the race director to use the money for better amenities or put more of it towards their cause.

4) Early registration helps the event directors pay the bills. Despite what many hear, putting on a good event cost a lot of money. Most of the costs are charged before the race ever takes place. The permits, insurance, t-shirts, flyers, promotion all are paid up front. By registering early, participants ensure that everything goes smooth and the race stays on course. If you think this isn’t a huge deal, think again! Events all over the country, namely obstacle course races, are cancelled or go bankrupt on a pretty consistent basis. This has everything to do with low early registration numbers, and high up front costs. Most races we help with see their registration numbers jump the last 3 weeks leading up to an event. This is a very scary thing to event directors as by this point 100’s of hours and thousands of dollars have already gone in to the events planning.

5) Early registration helps secure sponsorships. Businesses want to sponsor events where they stand to get the most exposure. It’s hard to sell the value of an event to a potential sponsor, if to date the event only has 5 registered runners. Higher sponsorship dollars = better races. The most successful race in Ocala, is arguably the Turkey Trot. The race has grown from 400-500 participants to almost 2,000 participants in the past few year. High Sponsorship dollars and added participation has help this race become a marquee event in the community. The best part? The proceeds go to their scholarship fund.

Help us help you by planning to register early for your next event!

11/27/14 – YMCA Turkey Trot

12/06/14 – Race to the Holidays 5k

12/13/14 – Ocala Reindeer Run

12/14/14 – FL Championship Series #10

01/10/14 – Fresh Start 5k

02/14/15 – Valentines Day 5k

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