RUNNING + ACTIVISM:
MEET RUNNING USA'S
NICOLE SPARROW MARATHONFOTO
TALKS TECH SUMMER 2022 RUNNINGUSA.ORG
JORDAN MARIE DANIEL TIKTOK TIPS FOR EVENTS
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EVENTS BOUNCE BACK Spring racing season returned to nearnormal this year, a wonderful experience for runners and race directors alike
RACE DIRECTOR MAGAZINE | 3
SUMMER 2022 ON THE COVER
IN THIS ISSUE 4 | RACE DIRECTOR MAGAZINE
RUNNING’S INTERSECTION WITH ACTIVISM: JORDAN MARIE DANIEL PROFILE
MEET THE VENDOR: MARATHONFOTO
TIKTOK TIPS FOR EVENTS
VENDOR SPOTLIGHT ASHWORTH AWARDS
MEET RUNNING USA’S NICOLE SPARROW
ADDITIONAL CONTENTS 8
A NOTE FROM THE CEO
MEET THE RACE DIRECTOR: EMI UELMEN
DAVE MCGILLIVRAY’S GOLDEN BOSTON IN PHOTOS
COVER: Jordan Marie Daniel ran 30 miles in prayer on Nov. 26, 2020 to celebrate Native Peoples and honor relatives, including missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Photo by Devin Whetstone. LEFT: Courtesy of MarathonFoto
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CEO & Editor In Chief Dawna Stone Managing Editor Leah Etling Chief Operating Officer Christine Bowen Membership Development Director Nicole Sparrow Graphic Designer Melissa Leduc Contributors/Interviewees Morgan Ashworth, Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel, Andrew Glaze, Brad Kroll, David Lavallee, Dave McGillivray, Nicole Sparrow, Jon Sutcliffe, Meg Treat, APR, Emi Uelman, Jessie Walker Cover Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel completed a 30 mile prayer run on Nov. 26, 2020 to celebrate Native Peoples, honor relatives, and bring visibility to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Photo by Devin Whetstone
RUNNING USA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Virginia Brophy Achman Tanner Bell Alex Bennett Donna Grogan Stevie Jones
Bryan Lively Jeff Matlow Kyle McLaughlin Meghan Najera Troy Schooley Max Siegel
Lonnie Somers Dawna Stone Heidi Swartz Matt West Tony Yamanaka
PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES Contact Christine Bowen +1-858-952-3269 | firstname.lastname@example.org Race Director Magazine is published quarterly by Running USA Copyright 2022 All rights reserved. The entire content of Race Director Magazine is copyright protected and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the publisher. Running USA assumes no liability for products or services promoted herein.
A NOTE FROM THE CEO
or nearly 23 years, Running USA has been the unquestionable authority on road racing, providing quality education, exceptional content, valuable research, networking opportunities, industry best practices, and the largest industry conference for industry leaders. If you were able to attend our February 2022 Running USA Industry Conference in Orlando Florida, you experienced firsthand the passion and perseverance that exists in the running industry. Finally getting back together with my industry friends and peers was an incredible feeling. The lack of in-person conversations and networking opportunities during the pandemic took a toll on all of us and it was such a pleasure to be in the same room again (a real room, not a virtual one!). Prior to becoming Running USA’s CEO, I attended ten Running USA industry conferences and although all ten were extremely valuable in terms of education, networking, and more, I have to say that the 2022 conference was the best one yet. Our team is already hard at work on the 2023 conference scheduled for February 12–14 in Denver Colorado, and registration is now open. Sign up before July 15 to get the lowest price. Our goal is to make the next conference bigger and better! In our sixth edition of Race Director Magazine, we’re excited to bring you more great content that tells the stories of our industry but also provides valuable takeaways. Don’t miss an interview with Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel, an athlete, activist and race director who is at the forefront of inclusion efforts for Indigenous runners and many more important causes. Running USA member Meg Treat, APR, has authored a great piece of TikTok tips for events that you will want to use as a guide. Meet two of our longtime Running USA supporting partners, Ashworth Awards and MarathonFoto, in their in-depth vendor spotlights. And don’t miss a profile on Running USA’s own Nicole Sparrow, our membership development manager, who is someone everyone in the industry should know! I hope you enjoy the Summer issue of Race Director magazine!
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The interse OF RUNNING AND ADVOCACY
A A Conversation with Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel By Leah Etling
s the running industry continues to implement inclusive change, Race Director Magazine recently had the chance to speak with Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel, a fourth-generation Lakota runner who has used her running talent and platform to bring Indigenous runners and causes to mainstream attention. Daniel is involved in vital change-making efforts to make Indigenous runners seen, recognize land origins where running events take place, create awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women, and much more. As she describes in her own words: “I am an organizer. I am a voice. I am a connector—working to uplift and center Indigenous, Black, and Brown voices within our communities and spaces to demand justice, visibility, and respect as it intersects across all climate—racial, social, and economic justice movements.” Daniel was kind enough to give us some of her valuable time to talk about running, advocacy
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and much more. Read on to hear how her nonprofit's mission could directly benefit your next event. RDM: What prompted you to see the act of running or the experience of bodily movement as a place where you could also be a voice for change? Daniel: I began attending marches and rallies in 2013 to stop the Keystone XL pipeline—a pipeline that would harm and impact my Tribe in South Dakota. I began organizing in August 2016, where I organized the Run For Water Rally for the Indigenous youth who were running to oppose the pipeline. They inspired me to see that running is not just about fitness, not just about a fast time, not just about trying to get a sponsor. It is not even about trying to focus on your health and wellness. It is about really believing in something that you want to stand for. Those youth running over 2,000 miles (from North Dakota to Washington D.C.) inspired me to see how running can carry a message. Sport is so celebrated in the U.S., and so are stories
Jordan participated in a five day, 360 mile prayer run in 2020 with 10 other runners. Photo by Devin Whetstone.
All photos contributed by Jordan Marie Daniel
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that pull at the heartstrings and capture our emotions. Being able to intersect the two, having a purpose or a cause that you are fighting for, and weaving it with something that you truly love, like running and movement, is a beautiful way to build community that will help raise awareness and hopefully impact change. RDM: You have run multiple races in honor of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Tell us about why you did that? Daniel: Initially I had not brought causes into my races because I was still up-and-coming (as an athlete) and trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. And running was also my stress outlet, so I wanted to keep that separate. But because the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives is so important to me, it just came down to the lack of visibility, support for, and awareness about this issue.
Jordan ran for Black lives taken by police violence and white supremacy on Global Running Day 2020.
These murders and disappearances are happening not just on reservations and rural communities, but everywhere. Being a survivor of violence myself, it truly was heartbreaking.
Funds from the virtual run support the Running on Native Lands Initiative, the Indigenous Wellness through Movement Series, advocacy and organizing efforts and more. 12 | RACE DIRECTOR MAGAZINE
Participants in the Running for Justice Virtual 5K, 10K and Half Marathon, remembering missing and murdered Indigenous relatives. These women were not getting the visibility they needed or deserved. So that led me to running the 2019 Boston marathon for 26 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and children. RDM: Can you share why you decided to make a major race into a highly visible plea for action? Daniel: It was really the lack of support for Indigenous communities around this issue. This is an epidemic that is happening. I got to the point where I gave up on trying to organize panels to talk about it, or post about it on social media or create content or organize events. I started to feel that if people do not care that another Indigenous person has gone missing or has been murdered, then I do not know what else to do. It felt like we meant nothing to other communities, that we are constantly forgotten or disposable. The only thing I knew what to do about it, on an essential level, was run. Having learned about all the prayer run customs and best practices, I created my own prayer run. That brought me to the Boston Marathon.
RDM: Do you feel like you have seen any change since that 2019 Boston Marathon? Daniel: The only change was to bring out more athletes to do the same thing. It inspired Rosalie Fish, who contacted me a week later, asking for my blessing to do the same thing at her state high school track meet in Washington. We are also seeing other athletes—volleyball players, football players, basketball players—that are putting the red handprint on and raising awareness for the stolen loved ones and their families. So things are changing, but very, very slowly. RDM: Tell us about the events you are organizing in support of this cause. Daniel: My non-profit organization, Rising Hearts, continues to fundraise for this cause through our virtual runs. Our fifth annual Running for Justice event was held on May 5, the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. We held a virtual 5K run and two in-person events in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. In 2021, we raised $77,000. This year, our goal was $250,000. RDM: Now that those events have passed, how can the running community support you? RACE DIRECTOR MAGAZINE | 13
“I’ll keep running, I’ll keep organizing and I’ll keep bringing communities together so that our Indigenous Relatives are safe, protected, visible and respected,” Jordan says of her efforts.
RDM: How has Rising Hearts worked to change that? Daniel: We have an initiative called the Running on Native Lands Initiative. We work with race directors, running organizations and groups to implement land acknowledgments at their events and races. Our biggest success for land acknowledgement and working with race directors thus far has been the Boston Marathon, which happened on Indigenous Peoples Day in 2021. RDM: How does this work for race directors or event organizations? Daniel: You reach out to us if you want to be come a partner, and we help connect you with the local Indigenous communities. We help facilitate those conversations and we serve as the protective buffer for the Indigenous communities.
Daniel: Learn how you can become an ally to Indigenous communities and the people that are in this fight. Raising awareness, sharing and supporting the message, and taking the initiative to learn about this issue are all positive ways to take action. This is not a new issue. This has been going on, realistically, since colonialism arrived on these lands. RDM: Speaking directly about land, what do race directors need to know about the spaces where their events take place and how they can appropriately recognize their provenance? Daniel: I think race directors have an amazing opportunity to be more invested in creating a safe and inclusive space. And oftentimes, sadly, that process has not included Indigenous peoples in planning efforts. It has continued to perpetuate the narrative of Indigenous peoples are not here anymore. We are constantly erased from the conversation.
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But it is important that the end goal is to not just do a land acknowledgement and have it check a box. It is to go the extra mile in donating towards those local Indigenous communities or organizations and working with them to find out what more you can be doing. Maybe it's offering comped entries, it's donating a portion of entry fees towards community programs, or even donating the leftover race day food and snacks back into the community. RDM: What is the message you want event participants to take from this effort? Daniel: We want every participant that is there on race day to see the land acknowledgement practice and for it to become normalized. We want them to learn about whose lands that they are running on and recreating on and who the caretakers were, and still are. RDM: Can you estimate how many races are currently engaged in this work? Daniel: We have over a dozen partners right now. It has been great working with them. We're trying to get them to also not just focus on the Indigenous components, but also how
Learn More: Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel website: www.jordanmariedaniel.com Rising Hearts website: www.risinghearts.org Running on Native Lands initiative: www.risinghearts. org/nativelands
The Running for Justice virtual walk/run began on National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. can we make the whole event more inclusive, how can we make sure that anyone can come and sign up for this race and feel like they're being seen and being supported. RDM: Any examples of what that looks like? Daniel: One of the things that we do with our virtual races is have an inclusive registration process. When you are asked to select gender, in addition to female or male, we put in an option for non-binary and an option for two-spirit. We have had so many messages coming in from people who identify as non-binary or two-spirit, saying that they have never seen this before, even though they have signed up for many different events. They tell us that this is the first event where they felt seen, felt respected, and felt supported. RDM: What closing message would you like to leave race directors with? Daniel: It's an ongoing conversation with race directors that we continually try to push for.
We wanted to educate them as to how the lands they are on have a long history of continuously erasing Indigenous peoples. Even though they might not physically be present there anymore, you must think about all the impacts and situations that came before. You are more than likely going to have Indigenous peoples in the local community, town or city where your event is taking place. So how can you host it in a way that is honoring and uplifting the Indigenous peoples that are on those lands? All these conversations that we have with race directors are very informative and educational. And in the end, we are hoping Rising Hearts can bow out, because now you are communicating and working together. We are about bringing people together, getting them introduced and making sure that this is a long-lasting relationship and kinship.
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As a runner herself, Emi knows how much on course entertainment makes a difference for participants. “I love working with the local bands, and choirs, DJ’s, adding cheer stations, spectator spots, motivational signs,” she told us. She also wants runners of all speeds to know their value. “I make sure to be at the finish line for the very last participant. I want them to know that they matter just as much as the first finisher.” Running USA deeply values hearing from our smaller event members. Get to know Emi and learn about her experience as a race director: What got you into the running industry? EU: In May 2013, I ran the Eau Claire Marathon Relay with my husband, father and mother-inlaw. We had so much fun that we said we were going to make it a yearly tradition. The owners of the race at that time decided to not continue the race and that is when I stepped in.
RACE DIRECTOR Emi Uelmen, Eau Claire Marathon From runner to race director, Emi Uelmen describes her journey as both a participant and organizer of the Eau Claire Marathon as one that’s driven by passion for a sport she loves. She began her professional journey in the sport in November 2013, when she took over her hometown race. Since then, she’s increased participation in the race by more than five times and hopes to double it again.
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Why do you love your job? EU: THE PEOPLE! I have the two greatest directors that help me daily. The most amazing race committee! The best sponsors, charity partners, city employees and volunteers. And most importantly, an unreal race community that I love to interact with daily. What’s your favorite part of event production? EU: Creating the course entertainment. As a runner myself who needs entertainment on the course to get me through a race, I love working with the local bands and choirs, DJ’s, adding cheer stations, spectator spots, motivational signs, getting the university involved and so much more. I make sure to be at the finish line for the very last participant. I want them to know that they matter just as much as the first finisher. And conversely, what do you dread the most about “day of” the event? EU: Not being able to be out on the course cheering on all the participants. I tried to step away
“I MAKE SURE TO BE AT THE FINISH LINE FOR THE VERY LAST PARTICIPANT. I WANT THEM TO KNOW THAT THEY MATTER JUST AS MUCH AS THE FIRST FINISHER. from the start and finish one year and got a call within about three minutes to get back. What's your current greatest challenge as a race director, and how are you tackling it? EU: My first goal was to take our race from 1,000 participants to 5,000. We have now done that. Now, I need to figure out how to get us from 5,000 to 10,000! It seems like the answer is somewhere in the midst of SEO, keywords, and social media, so I am trying to learn more about that on a daily basis. Your go-to fuel up snack or meal on race day? EU: Water, water and more water!
The 3 most essential items in your race day backpack? EU: 1. My phone to capture race day photos. 2. A notebook and pen to take notes on ways to improve for the following year. 3. Not in my backpack but essential for race day is my super 73 electric bike that allows me to get from place to place as fast as possible! Do you have a lucky charm or outfit you wear? Maybe a quote you keep in mind? EU: My 18-year-old daughter and I have the words “make it count” tattooed on our wrists. It is our family slogan. No matter what you are doing, make it count! If you weren’t doing this work, what would you be doing instead? EU: Honestly I truly can’t see myself doing anything else. I love what I do! What’s the next race you hope to run yourself? EU: I plan to run the Twin Cities Marathon in October in the hope of qualifying for the Boston Marathon 2023! Anything else you'd like to add? EU: I am so thankful for the Running USA group. I came to Puerto Rico in 2019 not knowing a soul. Now I am part of the most amazing running community! //
Know a race director you’d like to see featured in this space? Nominate them by sending an email to email@example.com
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journey, culminating in crossing the finish line at races of all distances. We help capture those accomplishments of their personal excellence at a moment which is preserved as a lifetime memory.” We had the chance to hear directly from Kroll and David Lavallee about the latest innovations at Gameface Media Inc., which acquired MarathonFoto in late 2019. Lavallee is the Co-Founder and CEO of Gameface Media, as well as the creative force behind the popular Six Minute Mile runner newsletter. “We grew from zero subscribers in August 2019 to more than 650,000 subscribers now,” shares Lavallee. “That growth has mainly been through word of mouth as well as some advertising and promotions on our MarathonFoto site. We try hard to keep the information serious but presented in a fun way that is never stuffy or egotistical.”
VENDOR MarathonFoto As a pioneering service provider in the running industry, MarathonFoto is known far and wide as the preeminent name in race photography. For nearly four decades and over 3,000 races, the company has earned its spot as a respected and reliable partner for events of all sizes, a positive promotional force for their sponsors, and producer of lifelong memories for runners. “The last four decades have been very good to us,” says Brad Kroll, MarathonFoto President, who has been with the company since 1998. “Our service has helped inspire runners to continue their
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In a similar vein, Kroll shares that while a race photo may be just a photographic memory to some, it can also have far greater impact and reach. “By commemorating these important accomplishments in athlete's lives, we hope to inspire their friends, family, and peers to pursue a physically active lifestyle. I believe the inspiration we have provided to the runners has helped build and propel the sport,” he said. Read on for more insight from Brad Kroll and David Lavallee about the future of race photography and its relationship with events. RDM: What is the current business focus for MarathonFoto? BRAD: The focus of MarathonFoto has always been to enhance the athlete experience at some of the highest quality endurance events in the world. The images we capture along the course and at the finish line represent the culmination of months and sometimes years of training and dedication. We offer athletes a way to celebrate
those achievements and preserve them for years to come. Equally important is our aim to support and sponsor our event partners and align with their objectives as well as their sponsors’ objectives. Our partnership approach helps these long-term relationships to constantly grow and evolve.
“OUR SERVICE HAS HELPED INSPIRE RUNNERS TO CONTINUE THEIR JOURNEY, CULMINATING IN CROSSING THE FINISH LINE AT RACES OF ALL DISTANCES."
RDM: What innovative areas are you exploring in the year ahead? BRAD: For athletes, this year we released a new product that incorporates video footage of runners in the race with a dynamic course map that weaves those videos into specific locations from the race. It has been a huge hit with the athletes so far and we hope to roll it out to more and more races over the next year. We have also been offering images that are more social media friendly thanks to a new automated photo tagging solution. Since we no longer have to identify bibs manually, we can take wider shots that include iconic backdrops like the Citgo sign in Boston or the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York. We are still delivering the high standard of excellence by capturing the iconic images that athletes have come to expect from us throughout the course. Another recent accomplishment is delivering athlete’s images immediately after they cross the finish line via our Rapid Image Delivery process. I can personally attest that this real-time delivery represents a big evolution, because I have been around since the days when we sent out photo proofs in the mail. For our race partners, there are many ways that we have improved how we support them and their sponsors. Thanks to new technology, we can now provide race directors with brand data, detailing which shoes and apparel the runners wore on the course. This helps race directors to support and strengthen brand sponsorship of events by giving detailed information on how products were used by runners. Another way we are supporting our race partners and their sponsors is by allowing them to place ads in our Six Minute Mile newsletter which reaches more than 650,000 runners twice each week. These ads and sponsored posts
David Lavallee All photos contributed by MarathonFoto
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can drive up registration for events and provide valuable sponsor brand recognition. RDM: The Six Minute Mile is known as an enterprising player in the endurance sports media that delivers news, tips and motivation to runners. How would you add to that description? DAVID: This has been a true passion project for me over the past two and a half years. I was a nerdy sports editor of my high school and college newspapers who ran the Boston Marathon during my senior year in college. I have been hooked on running ever since, so Six Minute Mile has given me a way to marry these two interests. I frankly never expected it to be as well-received as it has been by runners and other fitness enthusiasts. The next step in our evolution will be to create more of a community among our runners. We absolutely love the feedback we get from readers shooting us an email or posting a comment on social media. Often these nuggets turn into new features and stories. To help enhance two-way communication between Six Minute Mile and our readers, we are planning new features such as a race directory and an injury database where runners can learn from other runners about important issues. RDM: From where you sit, are runners still invested in photos of themselves running? BRAD: Runners are invested in the images we capture more than ever before, both digital and prints. We have experienced the exact opposite and are seeing record levels of engagement and purchases of our race photos. Social media has created new opportunities for runners to share these images with friends and family. Our race photos are also often used to promote the charitable causes that provided a bib to runners and raise additional contributions post-race. While digital images comprise most of our sales, our print products and plaques will always serve as a terrific gift for those looking to celebrate their loved one’s achievement. Whether completing a 5K for the first time or running a marathon for the 22 | RACE DIRECTOR MAGAZINE
twentieth time, that race day feeling is something you will always want to preserve. Runners can share their achievements on social media platforms, but that is more fleeting than a physical photo display. In general, runners have become more sophisticated about what they want. They expect higher quality images than we offered 20 years ago. As photographers and technology providers, we love the challenge of meeting these higher standards. As a sidenote, in 2020 when no races were taking place in person, we took the idea of personal legacy a giant step forward by uploading more than 250,000,000 old images into the cloud so runners could find photos of themselves in action from many years ago. You can find them on MarathonFoto.com using “Search Archival Events” in the top menu bar. RDM: What factors should events be considering as they make photography decisions in the next couple of years? BRAD: Event organizers should look for a true, year-round, partner that is supporting them, their sponsors and the athlete. By partner, I mean someone who is looking to take the athlete experience to the next level. We pride ourselves on collaborating with race organizers and fully integrating their goals. Since every course is unique, we take a curated approach so that we can highlight the best aspects of the runner’s journey. Organizing a race with tens of thousands of athletes and even more spectators is a major undertaking. We assure our race partners that we will handle the photo and video operations so they can cross one major item off their to-do list and focus on what they do best. We're a photography company that makes decisions based on decades of data. That data drives pricing and product decisions along with photographer location assignments. Our decisions are made on data that we have on every race and every runner demographic. We also use the input and feedback that we receive from participants as well as our Six Minute Mile subscribers. Modern race photography companies need to do more
“AS ENDURANCE SPORTS GET MORE POPULAR, WE CAN’T WAIT TO CONTINUE MAKING NEW FRIENDSHIPS AND CAPTURING THESE SPECIAL MOMENTS IN ATHLETES’ LIVES."
than just take pictures. By using the digital reach of Six Minute Mile, we can also help race clients raise awareness when registration opens and enlighten runners about expo, charity and product opportunities. RDM: Anything else you would like to add? BRAD: We are humbled by the support that we have received in this industry over the last four decades. We have also tried to give back and support the race community in various ways and will continue to provide that support to help events develop and grow. We have a strong, diverse, international team that has years of experience in endurance photography. As I mentioned before, all our decisions are based on years' worth of data and participant feedback. Endur-
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ance photography/videography is something we are truly passionate about and we can’t imagine ever doing anything else. Whether it’s a local 5k with hundreds of runners or a major marathon, we go into every event with the same enthusiasm and hold ourselves to the same high standards that we have upheld for decades. Over the years our clients have become like family, and we are grateful for the relationships we have been able to build. As endurance sports get more popular, we can’t wait to continue making new friendships and capturing these special moments in athletes’ lives. //
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TIKTOK TIPS FOR ENDURANCE EVENTS
By Meg Treat, APR
ver the last 10 years, social media has become a crucial ingredient in the marketing and communications mix. Races across the world have hopped on board – creating amazing communities and producing compelling content that drives registrations. While you might have mastered the classic platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, there’s a new social media network on the block that you have likely heard about: TikTok. This video-centric platform might have at first seemed like a flash in the pan, but, with 1 billion monthly active users and 200 million downloads in the U.S., it’s clear that TikTok is here to stay. With help from ultrarunning influencer Andrew Glaze, J&A Racing Digital Marketer Jessie Walker, and London Marathon Social Media Manager Jon Sutcliffe, here are some tips to help you on TikTok.
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REMEMBER THE THREE E’S OF CONTENT No matter where you’re producing content online, keep in mind that all top-notch content does one of three things: educate, engage, or entertain. Have an idea of which you’re trying to achieve whenever you create a new TikTok video. Educational content can be how-to’s, history of your event, or training tips and tricks. Engaging content seeks to gain feedback from your online community – it asks questions that viewers can answer in the comments or asks them to hit the like and share buttons. Entertaining content is simply meant to make someone smile with an inspirational story, funny joke, or beautiful visuals that will keep all eyes on you!
KEEP ON TOP OF TRENDS Sutcliffe says that one of the most challenging, but most important elements of success on the platform is understanding what users are currently engaging with and making viral. “To do that successfully, you have to spend a lot of time browsing videos, looking at what is performing well, and thinking of how you can adapt your content to that particular trend,” Sutcliffe told us.
USE THE APP TO EDIT AND PRIORITIZE QUALITY VIDEO All three of our experts agree that it’s wise to edit your video right in the app. Sutcliffe said, “Content which looks native to the platform works better than heavily edited/produced videos which you would see elsewhere.” Before editing, Walker recommends you film videos with your regular phone camera or with another digital camera outside the app. She said, “This preserves the video if there were to be a bug in the app or if it were to update and delete the drafts.” “The latest TikTok update clearly says that the app prioritizes high-quality videos. You’ve got to have good lighting, a phone or camera that shoots great video,” Glaze shared. He also uses drones and the ‘disappearing selfie stick’ Insta 360 camera.
REAP THE BENEFITS OF ORGANIC
GROWTH You may have found that organic growth is very hard to achieve these days on Instagram or Facebook, where ads have become increasingly vital to gaining followers and engagements. Glaze confirmed that TikTok is a platform where organic growth is still possible. “I have almost 100,000 followers and I’ve only been on TikTok for three months,” Glaze shares. “If you provide good content, you have the ability to reach so many more people.”
NOT QUITE READY FOR TIKTOK? TRY INSTAGRAM REELS While J&A Racing has a TikTok account that they’ll be launching soon, they first decided to try out Instagram Reels – which offers a very similar experience to TikTok. “It was a platform we were already using and felt comfortable with,” Walker said. The team was apprehensive at first, she told us. “Our initial concern with Reels was if the time and energy put into reels would return the desired results (i.e. registrations, merchandise sales, etc.). The more we have worked with them, we have realized the value is much higher than that. Reels bring a personality to our company that others don’t necessarily see within our posts.”
KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO GO VA-VA-VIRAL We asked our experts: what were some of your first viral videos or most watched posts on TikTok and Reels. Here’s what they told us. “[Our first viral video was] of a man dressed as Big Ben struggling to get under the Finish Gantry. Since our launch last year we’ve grown to over 25,000 followers amassing over 20 million views, so we’re really happy with how our first year went. [Our most watched video was] Mo Farah falling off a tumbleator at the 2019 running show!” said Sutcliffe. “Our most-watched video to date is one of our office dog’s birthday celebrations. It seems people love to see what our office life is really like and all of the fun we have,” Walker said. “Eventually I started posting videos of my (own) races, narrated by me. That style of video went super viral. I have two videos both almost at 10 million views both races,” Glaze shared.
WHEN IN DOUBT, TRY IT OUT! All of our experts echoed a similar sentiment: don’t take TikTok and Reels too seriously – experiment, see what works, and enjoy the experience. “It has been a great experience and learning opportunity for our team. We spend all day together so why not create a few videos together too!” Walker said of J&A Racing’s use of Reels so far. Sutcliffe shared, “Have fun with it, not every video is going to go viral – just keep trying to bring value!”
About The Author: Meg Treat, APR is the owner and principal of Treat Public Relations, a PR agency specializing in media relations and publicity for endurance sports events. She is also a limited-term lecturer at Purdue University’s Brian Lamb School of Communication. Treat is a fivetime marathoner and an ultramarathoner.
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Meet the vendor
Ashworth Awards F By Leah Etling
or more than a half century, AshWe caught up with Morgan, who focuses on worth Awards has led the running human resources and organizational developindustry in celebrating the accomment for the company. Here’s what she had to plishments of participants across say: the USA. This year, Ashworth Awards is focused on RDM: What innovative areas are IN THE YEAR growing the domestic manufacyou exploring in the year ahead? turing unit for its popular “Made MA: In the year ahead, Ashworth AHEAD, ASHWORTH in USA” medallion line to shorten Awards is focused on pushing AWARDS IS FOlead times and satisfy an increasthe limits of creativity within our ing number of customers. “Made in USA” dimensional steel CUSED ON PUSHING medallion line. In the past three “Ashworth Awards is expandyears since creating the line, we THE LIMITS OF CREing,” said Morgan Ashworth, a have innovated our machinery ATIVITY WITHIN OUR and processes exponentially. third-generation member of her family who works at the compaNow, it is time to innovate the “MADE IN USA” DIny. “We are consistently putting scope of our product lines. profits back into the company, MENSIONAL STEEL our team, and our customers to Specifically, Ashworth Awards is MEDALLION LINE. ensure the ‘Made in USA’ line is looking for ways to compete with utilized and loved by all our cusoverseas factories utilized by our tomers. We are focused on our competitors to create movement customer needs and wants, so are growing the and 3D features within our “Made in USA” prodsize of our shop considerably to ensure quality, ucts, all while maintaining sustainability and timely, and innovative products.” the high quality of Ashworth Awards products that our customers have always relied on.
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Morgan (left) and Kim (right) Ashworth about to run the 2021, 125th Boston Marathon.
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Morgan Ashworth with sister Madison Ashworth and Team Ashworth at the Boston Marathon finish line 2022. RDM: What would you like race directors to know about Ashworth Awards and how you stand out in the medal/award space? MA: Ashworth Awards is one of, if not the top medal and award producer in our industry. As a family-owned company with family and team members heavily involved in the sport, we get it! We understand the meaning and importance behind every medal your runners and participants receive. We understand that sometimes race directors prefer awards that hold utility over simply a medal. We understand the detail and design your races use and change each year to best reflect your race. I, being third generation at Ashworth Awards, grew up running your races as well as hearing your wants and needs in the industry. Our team similarly has experienced it all, from spectating to racing to volunteering. We can help you create the best award and promotional gear fitting your wants and needs.
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RDM: What current global trends or supply chain challenges are impacting award production? MA: Ashworth Awards has experienced a significant decrease in supply chain challenges that have arisen since the international shutdowns in 2020. Thanks to our “Made in USA” awards line, we have avoided the supply chain and shipping challenges that many have experienced as of late. Our customers do not have to worry about international shipment delays because their product is manufactured and shipped from the United States! While we still utilize our overseas manufacturing unit, we can pivot and make the product here if something were to happen within a shipment. Similarly, Ashworth Awards has always had longterm relationships with our carriers, so we are never concerned about working with them to overcome any supply chain challenges. When it comes to global trends, Ashworth Awards has
listened to its customers and the global atmosphere, providing a sustainable line of awards that utilizes sustainable packaging as well. RDM: Are runners still excited about finish line awards? What kind of creativity or unique approach does it take to keep them interested? MA: Most runners are still overjoyed by a creative design that marks an accomplishment in their lives. Think of the traditional Boston Marathon medal. Though it slightly changes year by year, it maintains its traditional design. Still, however, we have pivoted to ensure unique approaches to keep participants interested. From dangling pieces that can be made into a necklace or keychain, to bottle opener designs, coasters, medal hangers and more, Ashworth Awards’ creativity matches the interest in awards of utility vocalized by runners and race directors. RDM: What factors should events consider as they make awards production decisions for the remainder of 2022? MA: Events should consider utilizing a company such as Ashworth Awards willing to work with you in creating your design. Is it something we’ve never done before?
Reach out and let’s make it happen! Similarly, follow global trends and look to use sustainable methods towards awards production. Finally, work with a company who can create a variety of products. Ashworth Awards is more than just medals. We create promotional items, apparel, decor, pins, coins, keychains, jewelry, and more! We can be your one stop shop for all your creative event needs.
John Breen at Running USA Orlando showing some of our products including the fully Made in USA line.
RDM: Anything else you would like to add? MA: Ashworth Awards is an innovative company willing to work with you to create something not yet done, or change something traditional to match your needs. From tradition to innovation, Ashworth Awards can help you create a customary award or a functional one. Think of your runners and what they want to see around their necks and proudly placed on a stand or hanger in their home. To start your next order, check out our website or reach out to us at info@ashworthawards. com.
Morgan and Kim Ashworth with Kim’s sister Kelly at the Great Glen Trails Toughest 10k up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. RACE DIRECTOR MAGAZINE | 31
Meet Running USA’s
Nicole Sparrow Membership Development Director shares her story By Leah Etling
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We are thrilled to offer our readers the chance to meet Nicole Sparrow of Running USA. After working on a contract basis at the Industry Conference for many years, in Fall 2021 Nicole took on a full time role as the organization’s Membership Development Director. Her spirit and creativity, as well as her background as a race director, make her an ideal fit to meet the needs of the Running USA membership base. Read on to get to know Nicole, and reach out to her to introduce yourself! What got you into the running industry? I started running in my late 20s as a way to meet people and get healthier, and instantly fell in love with the sport. In 2011, a friend was planning to run 6 marathons in six weeks to raise money for the Fisher House Foundation, an organization that provides free housing to military families when they have a loved one in the hospital. He was able to plan out five races within driving distance but couldn't find a sixth that would fit his schedule. So, he asked me if I would create one for him. We held our first Instant Classic Trail Marathon a few months later and had 62 people from seven states join us. I was amazed! And hooked—I decided to keep it going, and over the course of six years it grew to about 600 runners. We raised nearly $70,000 for our local Fisher House. During that time, I also ran our local chapter of the Healthy Kids Running Series, and put on a number of 5K events as well.
What’s your favorite part of your job? That's an easy one—the energy. When I'm talking with people outside of the industry about their work, very rarely do I get a sense of excitement from them. But when I'm talking with people within the running industry, there is an almost palpable energy and level of excitement about what we do. I find it so inspiring, and I'm thankful that I get to be around that every day. What would you like potential members to know about Running USA? Running USA has so much to offer its members! Because our industry has very unique challenges, we've strengthened ourselves to become a collaborative resource to meet these needs. We truly strive to be an extension of our members' businesses, and through the yeararound educational opportunities we provide, the current data and research we make available, and the networking opportunities we create to give our members the chance to connect with one another, we have established Running USA as the hub organization for the running industry. How are current members taking advantage of their benefits? We're connecting with our members every single day. Our data and research library is being accessed by our members daily, as is our online member directory as a networking tool. Members are taking advantage of the event insurance and music licensing discounts we
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offer, especially as we enter the busy racing season. We regularly share press releases, announcements, and job postings on behalf of our members as well. With our Foundation members, we have established collaborations and partnerships to build individualized programs to meet those members' specific needs. Our team will also travel to member events as budgets permit to offer on-site support whenever we can. Can you share a goal you have for the year ahead? Professionally, I have a goal of reaching out to the smaller and mid-sized events across the country and being a resource for them. Having been a race director for small events, I know and understand their challenges, and I believe that Running USA can help.
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Running has given me so much, so the chance to give back in whatever capacity possible is very rewarding.
How do you spend your free time? I've got two very active boys, ages ten and nine, so free time isn't something we have too much of. But when we are not at a soccer field, futsal court, or a basketball game, I spend my time practicing my harmonica (I have an amazingly talented and highly demanding instructor), crocheting, or reading. What’s your greatest running accomplishment? Goodness, I can think of a few answers to this question, because I feel like running offers people so many opportunities to accomplish something great. And "greatness" in running can mean very different things to different people. I have never been anything close to fast, but I have run 15 marathons and 14 half-marathons, including completing the 2019 Philadelphia Marathon. (If you were there, you know why I consider this a great accomplishment!) I tend to be prone to injury, so between stress fractures, surgeries, and pregnancies, I have had countless "comebacks," which felt like a major accomplishment every time. Oh, and I once ran 6 marathons in one year. What’s the next race you hope to run? I just recently ran the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K with my family, and our member event The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run, which was amazing. As for the next race? I'd love to run another runDisney event, and I just let a friend talk me into running the Richmond Half Marathon this fall. How can potential new Running USA members reach you? I love connecting with our current members, as well as those considering joining us! I can be reached at Nicole@runningusa.org, or by phone at 804.484.0699. I live in the Richmond, VA area (home to American women's marathon record-holder Kiera D'Amato!), so if you're local to me I'd love to meet face-to-face as well. Anything else you'd like to add? Although I have only been in this role for a short time, I am excited about the opportunities I see to serve our members and the running community. Running has given me so much, so the chance to give back in whatever capacity possible is very rewarding. I look forward to connecting with all our members, welcoming new ones, and doing my part to grow the sport I love! RACE DIRECTOR MAGAZINE | 35
“My friend Sean Ryan presented me with a poster of my grandfather as we were passing by the Evergreen Cemetery where he is buried. It was 51 years ago that I dropped out of the race near this spot. That’s when I vowed to come back and do it again and for the rest of my life.
50TH BOSTON MA O n April 18, Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray added to his list of lifetime achievements by running his 50th Boston Marathon. It was his 35th night run after becoming part of the event’s production team in 1988.
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“It’s hard to put it into words” what it means to have run the event for a half century, he told reporters. But through that time, and especially since the bombing of the marathon in 2013, Dave McGillivray has become a hero to many fellow race directors around the world.
The finish: Dave’s kids Ryan, Max and Chloe held the finish line break tape. Two of Dave’s five children, Luke and Elle, ran with him during the 50th marathon. State Police troopers once again escorted Dave and his fellow runners along the entire course, keeping them safe. “The run was flawless and the smoothest ever,” Dave said.
His personal and professional perseverance has exemplified that no matter how big the challenge, the race must go on. In 2019, McGillivray had a triple bypass performed on his heart. Six months later, he ran his 47th Boston. Since words don’t do it justice, we wanted to share a few of Dave’s personal photos from his 50th anniversary Boston Marathon. They celebrate the spirit of the sport, and the incredible spirit that is our industry’s living legend: Dave McGillivray.
Among running legends: “We all arrived at the finish line to the cheers of literally hundreds of friends including Boston Marathon winners Meb Keflezighi (pictured), Kathrine Switzer, Joan Samuelson, Amby Burfoot and Bobbi Gibb.”
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Early bird pricing available for a limited time!
REGISTER NOW Current Running USA members receive a registration discount. Discount varies by membership level. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your membership and receive your discount code prior to registering.