Blog: Running USA Conference
By Jesse Drake, Executive Race Director of the Fox Cities Marathon
This year, on behalf of the Fox Cities Marathon, I attended the 2018 Running USA Industry Conference powered by ACTIVE Network in Austin, Texas. I came home energized and inspired through the interactions I had with the best of the best in the industry. It was helpful to listen and learn from the race directors of the biggest races in the country – and to interact in small groups of races, running clubs and vendors, discussing the challenges and trends that face the industry.
A few of the keynote speakers included Erika Amaya, senior manager of volunteer operations for New York Road Runners; Afdhel Aziz, inspirational speaker and award-winning marketer; Victoria Brumfield, vice president of global events and operation for Virgin Sport; Ryan Cavinder, senior manager of marketing and communication for Conqur Endurance Group; and more.
For me, it was crazy to hear that the event concerns we have in the Fox Valley are the same concerns that large event organizations like the Boston and Chicago Marathons face each year. No matter how large or small the race may be, the demands are similar, such as having enough restrooms, making a t-shirt design everyone likes, and, of course, safety precautions.
The Running USA Conference is beneficial for anyone in the industry. It holds sessions on a variety of topics, such as organizing a race event for the first time, how to market your event, retaining sponsors, idea labs and networking sessions. Of course, no running conference would be complete without some actual running as well.
I returned with ideas that we can use to develop and improve the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Miron Construction. Our race planning committee believes it is extremely important to stay up to date with the changes that are taking place across the nation. It’s great to know that the running industry is alive and well and filled with inspiring people and organizations!