With the recent shift of events going virtual, the Cooper River Bridge Run assistant race director, Mark Cellars, didn’t hesitate on making the decision to provide a virtual run option. He and his team reviewed existing virtual events and the transition process to adapt to virtual within ACTIVEWorks Endurance.
“After talking through the process with our account manager, we were excited to hear about the upcoming sprint releases that were targeted towards hosting a virtual event,” Cellars says.
While the current platform would have been able to accommodate the virtual event, the new ACTIVEWorks Endurance releases made the process simple for both directors and the participants.
The Cooper River Bridge Run is a world-class 10K run/walk with an inspirational mission to promote physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. The scenic course takes participants through Mt. Pleasant, over the Cooper River Bridge with its breathtaking views and through picturesque historic downtown Charleston. Since the inaugural race in 1978, the Cooper River Bridge Run has grown to nearly 40,000 participants, making it the 3rd largest 10K in the United States. Their participants consist of world-class athletes, a growing elite wheelchair division, running enthusiasts, walkers and their friends and family.
Cellars and his team researched virtual events in the past and were familiar with the ins and outs but never hosted one themselves. The team looked at other virtual events and prepared for all the FAQ’s before launching. Fortunately, taking advantage of ACTIVE’s email tool made it easy to target and engage with interested participants. Providing a streamlined transfer process, they were able to easily execute that plan with the ACTIVEWorks Endurance platform. With just a few simple clicks the participants were able to transfer to the virtual event.
To engage their customers and build excitement for next year Cellars leaned on social media.
"We wanted to use our social media platform to the fullest, so we encouraged participants to share their story. We created a virtual bib for participants to print and wear in social media images offering 10 race entries for the 2021 event for the best social post.”
When the Cooper River Bridge Virtual Run first launched, there was a significant number of participant transfers. Cellars believed these individuals knew they were unfortunately not going to be able to participate on the rescheduled August 1st run date.
He says, “We know a lot of people participated on the scheduled race date of April 4 and still are going to go through the transfer process. We wanted to provide plenty of time for the participants to complete the run and submit the results.”
After the virtual event closes and race results are submitted, Cellars and his team will release the results and begin the mail-out process for the event swag.
“We provide a mail-out service as an additional race registration option, so we are very familiar with the logistics involved in mass mailing.”
All virtual race participants will receive their race swag that includes a race bag, a commemorative key chain, a race buff, a tech shirt and finally their finisher medal. And even though the current pandemic is the reason that this is Cooper River Bridge Run’s first virtual event, Cellars does not think they will stop offering it in the future.
"There will always be circumstances where individuals will not be able to attend an event, but they wish to participate and receive the swag” Cellar says.