Platinum Sombrero Race Recap

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Here is the overdue race recap for my very first attempt at hosting a virtual run.  I have constantly updated my blog with Platinum Sombrero 5K information and I know several of you thought I only had a blog for this event, I know Susan did.  Well, the event has come and gone, and this will be one of my last posts about PS5K.  You can find further information here if you missed any of the prior posts.  I learned quite a bit from this experience and will be able to use this new-found knowledge on my next virtual event.  The feedback that I have seen has been positive and I truly hope that everyone had as much fun participating in this event as I did coordinating it.  Susan joked that she was going to make one of those large, fake checks for me to present to St. Jude.  Now that would be awesome!

The Cause:

Another picture that is not mine, but rather St. Jude's

Another picture that is not mine, but rather St. Jude’s

I chose St. Jude Children’s Hospital to be the charity of choice for this event for several reasons.  First, I am running the St. Jude Half Marathon here in Memphis again this year.  The race has an option to run as a St. Jude Hero, and actually, all early registrants were required to be heroes.  My fundraising minimum was $500, so instead of asking family and friends for donations, I wanted to be a little more proactive.  Second, St. Jude is not a cheap place to operate, but they never charge their patients a dime for treatment.  This is no easy feat when your daily operating cost is $1.8 million!  I broke down the costs and benefits in a previous post.  Third, I live in Memphis, and St. Jude is probably the most positive thing going for this city.  Therefore, sharing this wonderful place with others felt like my civic duty.   And fourth, I was involved with St. Jude fundraising through the Up ‘Til Dawn program in college.  This involved quite a bit of patient interaction and several tours of the St. Jude facility.  After one tour of the hospital, you cannot help but want to raise money for these children.  Thus far, we have raised $709.77 for St. Jude!  This money is the product of $1,250 in race registration fees and one $40 donation from a very kind race participant!  The number can go up a little bit since Lock Laces has agreed to donate 20% of all sales using the promo code KYLEJUDE.  This promo code is also good for free shipping, so shop away!  The promotion is good until August 13, 2013.

The Swag:

I had to post this pic!

I had to post this pic!

There are countless virtual races being hosted out there and I wanted mine to stand out.  Therefore I worked tirelessly to get as many top-notch sponsors for this race as I could.  I wanted to reach as many people as I possibly could for St. Jude.  And since I had a baseball theme, I knew that I was not advertising to as broad of a fan base as I would with a Star Wars or Harry Potter them might do.  Also, it seems that the vast majority of virtual run participants are female (more on this in a little bit), so I had to find ways to reach them.  I ended up securing twenty-nine race sponsors for the event!  I honestly thought that I would be able to get six or seven sponsors, so it just goes to show you the power of hard work and a good cause!

Look at all that race swag!

Look at all that race swag!

With the medals and all of the swag that each race participant received, every participant ended up with more products than their original $25 registration fee could purchase!  In fact, several race participants eclipsed the $75 worth of swag plateau!  All race participants received a Road ID coupon, Banjee wrist wallet, KT Tape sample, Climb On! skin product sample, Ion reflective iron-on patch, one month subscription to Bulu Box, and an awesome race medal.  I also gave away had seven $15 Road ID gift cards, five Today’s Miles tech shirts, four Armpockets, one Trigger Point foam roller, one Nathan Quick Draw Plus water bottle, three Polar Bottle water bottles, two Headsweats hats, one pair of Pro Compression socks, two pairs of SL3S compression socks, three pairs of Balega socks, two pairs of Zensah socks, one FlipBelt, one SPI Belt, one medal hanger from Running On The Wall, two cases of Zola coconut water, six Bic Bands, two Sweaty Bands, ten Run Guard products, two Cyclone Cups, ten pairs of Lock Laces, and one Energy Bits sample pack!  Energy Bits, Lock Laces, Spriggsville, Hydrapak, Headsweats, Fuelbelt,  and Glimmer Gear all created discount codes for race participants, which can be found here.

Finalized race medal

Finalized race medal

I could not have been happier with how the race medal turned out.  I contacted the fine folks at Crown Awards, told them exactly what I wanted, and they nailed it!  I did not have to do any tweaks or changes.  The medal they designed was even better than what I had designed in my head.  I was nervous that the sombrero on a baseball was not going to work out, but there is no doubt what is conveyed in this medal.  I hope that everyone likes this medal as much as I do.

I also was able to get some fan packs and other materials from numerous MLB teams since this was a baseball themed race after all.  It was very interesting to see what each team would and would not donate for the event, and I am generally surprised by the number of teams that did not respond to my requests.  I would like to thank the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, , Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Seattle Mariners for sending fan packs to be used as race swag.  Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics would have sent something, but it required me to send them a self address, stamped envelope, and since there were no race participants that listed these two teams as their favorite team, I did not bother sending in the requests.  I did send in the request to the New York Yankees, but as of this date, I still have not received their fan pack.  I am sorry Yankee fans.

I also based the race bibs on the favorite team for the race participant.  The color of the race number, and the number itself reflected your team.  I wanted to get very creative with the design, but I decided not to push any copyright issues and played it safe.  I started on race numbers with the team’s retired numbers, and then moved onto the biggest stars currently on their team.  For example, the Baltimore fans got race bibs with an orange number eight (Cal Ripken, Jr.) and an orange number five (Brooks Robinson).  I also did my best not to double up on race numbers, but this was easier said than done.

The Participants:

Where yall were from

Where y’all were from

There could not have been a race without any race participants, so I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you.  There were fifty total race participants, including myself, and the vast majority of the country was represented in the race field.  As you can tell from the map above, we had participants from Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, Utah, Nevada, California, and Hawaii.  I was quite surprised with some of the states that were represented, especially having multiple participants from Hawaii and North Dakota! I was also shocked by the gender disparity in the participants.  The final count was forty females to only ten males!  I would have never guessed that prior to the event.  We also had at least four groups of mother and son teams run the event together, and one mother daughter race group, which is awesome!

Registration started off very slow, and I was getting discouraged, especially with the amount of work I had put in, but by late May, it was obvious that this thing was going to sell out!  Sadly, I had already ordered the medals or I would have tried to bump this event to one hundred participants.  I am still getting emails and Facebook messages about any race openings.

The race ended up having fifteen MLB teams represented by their fans, which is good for half of all of MLB.  I wish I could have given MLB swag to each participant, but with these splits, this was not possible.  The Atlanta Braves led the way with thirteen fans participating (go Bravos)!  The second most represented team was the Boston Red Sox with six, then it was the St. Louis Cardinals with four.  The Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees had three fans apiece, and the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, and Minnesota Twins came in next with two fans apiece.  The Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, and Seattle Mariners all had one loyal fan in the Platinum Sombrero 5K!

The Race:

Being that this was a virtual race, you could run it on any day that you wanted to run it.  It was officially scheduled for July 13, 2013, and know that several people, including myself, ran it then.  This date also happened to coincide with the MLB All-Star Game 5K, which I guess they started to hear the good publicity for my event and wanted to piggy back off of it!  From the reports that I have gotten, the race went well for everyone.  Some completed it on an elliptical, some on a treadmill, some braved this brutal summer heat, and some had to break up the distance due to injury.  It was great to hear how many participants got out there and ran the race, with their race bibs nonetheless!

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