Run the Jailbreak is an adventure run covering 3.1 miles and 16-20 muddy, wet, fun-filled obstacles. Launched in 2010, the Texas-based series has quickly become an institution.
One-day events in Dallas/Fort Worth, South Padre Island, Houston and Austin average around 5,400 runners each.
Run the Jailbreak’s growth is largely due to its grassroots marketing. The organizing team engages potential and current participants through social media, and they’ve grown their Facebook following to nearly 64,000 people. ACTIVE event management software assists with social media integration. Registrants are prompted to tell the world, “I’m in!” The announcement is then posted to Facebook, exposing the event and online registration to that individual’s network.
“Our fan base has grown primarily through organic sharing and word of mouth, as opposed to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook ads,” says Race Co-Founder, Tim Scrivner.
“We try to make everyone a celebrity with cool photo opps at the finish line.” For example, finishers can take a picture behind a cage with a sign that says, “I broke free.” “We are experienced, safety conscious and focused on making sure the participants have a great time.”
“Active.com is where everyone goes to find an event they want to do. Our listing there puts us in front of participants.”
Run the Jailbreak’s approach attracts new participants. Some 90% are non-competitive and 15–20% are running their first 5K. Scrivner says people are attracted to training for unique events, rather than doing it for pure fitness reasons. Highlighting another motivating factor, the event regularly partners with local charities in order to positively impact communities. By extension, the race may be introduced to new audiences through these charitable connections and may drive more social media engagement.
Scrivner says Run the Jailbreak will be sticking with ACTIVE in the long term. “We tried out another registration company for our Padre event but immediately returned to ACTIVE,” he says.
“We were expecting 1,500 people in Padre and it blew up on us. We registered 2,500 participants and had to start turning people away. It took a ton of man hours on our end to fix things within the registration system and handle the participant communications. ACTIVE’s software takes care of registration problems, which is a huge plus for us.”