We're excited about 2014. Not only are we starting to get the hang of this race directing thing, we're also making loads of friends and great connections within the community. We are getting a bit closer to navigating the challenging waters of staying true to our passion while making this whole thing a viable enterprise - things that we'll have to master to keep this going into the future. We love feedback from racers and want to keep getting it - and its because of that feedback, in conjunction with our own constraints, that we're launching a few new options this coming year.
You'll notice when you register for races that some prices will have gone up and some wil have gone down. We've got a much better idea this year about what each of our events (well at least the ones we've done before) actually cost us to put on and a few of our events weren't covering the costs. We've also realized that a signficant portion of our costs for some races were in providing swag. Sourcing and getting swag for each individual event, particulalry once our 'season' gets underway, is also logistically pretty difficult. We also know that some racers would rather not pay for swag they don't want/need. Finally, we've had an increasing request for ENDracing merchandise. So here's what we've decided to do:
Most races will be offered at a base level registration fee - this fee will get you into the race but does not include any swag. Racers signing up for events will have the option to add optional swag at prices that cover our cost to purchase and screen print it. We plan on offering functional and awesome gear that is useful for racing - hats, gloves, socks, merino shirts - stuff like that. If you want swag, just add it to your 'cart' during the registration process and the discount will appear automatically - you'll get your stuff at the race. We'll also offer all the merchandise available for purchase as swag (and maybe some additional stuff) in a new 'store' section of the website that we hope to have up and running in time for you to do some holiday shopping. And of course any relevent ENDracing gear will also be available for purchase at events themselves. Note, some races will still have swag - this will be noted on the event page under the section that tells you what you get for your registration fee.
Some races, particularly the really difficult ones that will remain the same from year to year (END-SURE, etc) will offer finisher awards for some categories. This means if you take on the 100K trail run, for example, and finish it, you'll get a belt buckle or something similar.
We will continue to pursue industry sponsors as a source of meaningful prizes, but realize that we will increasingly need to rely on local connections and a more 'humble' prize pool (like the Zombie Zinfindel and Dead Guy growlers from the double feature) when we don't get suitable industry sponsorship. Experience has shown that even when we've got good relationships with national partners, it is hit and miss as to whether we are able to get them on board (or even connect with them at all!) for a particular event. After all, these companies are being asked to give stuff away to an extremely niche racing group in North Dakota of all places! So we'll take the love when we get it, and continue to rely on racers themselves reaching out to these sponsors to show their appreciation when it all comes together. Bottom line though is that providing memorable race experiences will always trump providing valuable prizes as our priority.
Finally, I want to create an organization that is fully tranparent. So if you're interested in this sort of thing, and want a look at the big picture of ENDracing, then here is a link that give details about what we do behind the scenes, how we do it, and where the money goes.
See you all soon!