Race Recap: Night Moves Race 5
Our goal with creating the Night Moves race series this past year was to connect more deeply with the local running community with the hopes that we'd find the niche of runners that were up for a unique experience. We knew that if we could connect with this group, they'd be the type of people that would connect with the heart of NeighborLink and potentially be the kind of people that would either want to support us in the future at other events and maybe even become volunteers or donors in the future.
We knew almost nothing about creating running events and heading into the first 4 races of the series, we had no idea whether anyone would show up, but we didn't have much to lose and went for it. The first 4 races were a huge success and runners demanded more events. After several months of strategizing how we could pull off more and where, we finally set a date and started promoting the 5th race.
Runners were ready for race 5. Within 48 hours, we sold 50 spots and by race day, we ended up with just over 60 runners. That may not sound like much, but we set the original race cap at 40 runners because we want to keep these small, intimate, and maybe even a bit exclusive to create engagement and connectivity to Team NeighborLink.
All of that above to say, we've made a lot of new friends that not only love running, but because they love doing it for the fun of it. Knowing their race fees go to funding specific NeighborLink projects doesn't hurt either. Over $750 of the race fees went towards a furnace replacement project for a guy named Robert who has been without heat since the middle of last winter. That project is happening today and once we have the full story ready, we'll share that.
To the race: The weather has finally turned towards winter and we knew we were going to have a chilly evening, but it was actually pretty great. Low 30's, no wind, dry ground, and there was even a few flurries just for fun. We couldn't have asked for better weather.
One of the biggest improvements we made to the overall race format was to ask volunteers to be at specific corners of the route with flashlights to point runners in the right direction. We heard a lot of positive feedback from runners not having to think about where they were going and we even heard back from volunteers that it seemed to work out better for them as well. Clear direction helped everyone. Next improvement is to make sure we have even more volunteers so we can have "buddies" at each turn so folks don't feel alone at night. We tried to ensure that, but we fell a few people short.
This race had some great competition in both the male and female categories. There were a half dozen or more males that were very competitive and kept the pace up until the end where Chad Shaw broke away and won the 4.1 mile course with a time of 26:04. Gretchen Steele kept her lead throughout the event and won easily with a time of 32:40. Both walked away with really cool stained glass trophies made by Team NL athlete, Jerriah Miller. Jerriah also made almost 40 stained glass feathers a couple of weeks ago and raised almost $800 for NeighborLink.
Overall, the event went fantastic and we couldn't have done it without these folks:
- The 18 volunteers who rode bikes, stood in the cold and dark, and who helped with registration
- Wunderkammer Gallery - They donated their space to be a landing spot for our event. We couldn't have asked for a better neighborhood cultural hotspot. Thanks, Dan.
- Bravas - Bo is one of the nicest guys we know and he was quickly on board to help out. He opened their food truck just for our event to sell their hot dogs to our guests. He even discounted the per item price and donated the lost revenue to NeighborLink. He mentioned the runners were incredibly kind and great tippers. Thanks for that.
We teased another race to be held in December. We're 75% sure we're going to make this happen, but our biggest concern is finding a good date since the holidays are full of parties. If it happens, we're partnering with Blue Jacket, who is the new operator of The Fantasy of Lights. We'll be doing a 5k run through the lights and some of the trails at Franke Park if we make it happen. More details to come on that.
We've created a race 5 survey and included in that is an opportunity to voice your opinion on what the best date is for Race 6. Click the "SURVEY" link above.