MOD 035: Four Horsemen of the Race Planning Apocalypse

Merchants of Dirt Episode #35

Learn how to prepare yourself for the possibility that one or all of the four horsemen of race planning will show up and wreck your race.

Four Horsemen of the Race Planning Apocalypse

  • Competition – You have to protect your top dates and locations
  • Permission – You have to be actively engaged in your venues if you want park approval
  • Registration – You have to keep feeding your customers your marketing right up until race day
  • Cancellation – You have to accept that you have no control over the weather

The Horseman of Competition

Competition – Races on your same day. You have to protect your top dates and locations by being Hard to Kill. Here are some key strategies for surviving the Horseman of Competition:

  • Plan in way in advance
  • Target your ideal venues long before you season is over
  • Get your permits in early — get your “No’s” early
  • Schedule your park manager meetings early
  • Learn your competitor’s schedules
  • Focus on the parks you NEED
  • Have a backup for those you can change

Learn more at Reckoneer.com – Article: Strategies for Picking Your Race Dates

The Horseman of Permission

Permission – Permit to use of trails.
You have to be actively engaged in your venues if you want park approval by Always Being Present. Here are some key strategies for surviving the Horseman of Permission:

  • Park Departments are very “risk averse”
  • Know what park management think in “years” not “months”
  • Reach for everything you can get by asking for your wish list
  • The first reaction will be “No”
  • GO talk with the park manager
  • Find out real reasons
  • Talk to them about why you want to do your course that way
  • Earn favor with trail days
  • Accept the possible and compromise
  • Plan for Next Year, accept your fate for This Year

Learn more at Reckoneer.com – Article: Get your next race permit approved

The Horseman of Registration

Registration – Getting people paying early.
You have to keep feeding your customers your marketing right up until race day by Always Be Selling. Here are some key strategies for surviving the Horseman of Registration:

  • Have a plan for making Good (and Frequent) Impressions
  • Repetition is required to accomplish conversion
  • Sales are three things: persistence, persistence, and persistence
  • Have something to sell
  • Have multiple channels to sell it on
  • Open Pre-Registration early
  • Update your website early
  • Share on Social Media every – 4 to 8 weeks before your race
  • Share with your email list as certain times (don’t spam)

Learn more at Adventure Race Hub – Article: Marketing for Adventure Races
Learn more at Reckoneer.com – Article: How not to suffer pre-registration woes
Learn more at Reckoneer.com – Article: Put away the shotgun and start messaging with precision

The Horseman of Cancellation

Cancellation – Nature impacting your day.
You have to accept that you have no control over the weather and need to Roll with the Punches. Here are some key strategies for Surviving the Horseman of Cancellation:

  • Have a plan
  • Know your seasons
  • Invest in policies for cancellations and when to give a refund
  • Have rain dates
  • Always have contingency plans (e.g. backup course designs)
  • Be flexible and accept that some race courses will be just ok
  • There is always next year to do awesome

Learn more at Reckoneer.com – Article: Check your venue before race day, or else
Learn more at Reckoneer.com – Article: How to bounce back when everything goes wrong

And Now Your Know!

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Thank You for Listening

Thank you so much for listening to Merchants of Dirt Podcast. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to me @MerchantsofDirt on Twitter, by Email, or my Contact Form.

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Kyle Bondo
Kyle Bondo is a thinker, podcaster, author, and creative strategy dragon seeking to make a small dent in the universe. He is the founder of Reckoneer, host of the Merchants of Dirt and Get Lost Racing podcasts, and an avid adventure racer.
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