Communities at events, the feeling of belonging
Racing brings a likeminded group of friendly people together. The feeling of support from your fellow racers, and camaraderie while in the deepest, darkest depths of fatigue, are only heightened when you have a large, diverse community behind you. When a survey of 100 Racecheck users were asked what they loved most about the site, more than 60% answered the #Visorclub community – a proud moment for us and fantastic news for those eager to join the party.
When asked whether participating in an event with other club members or friends is more important than racing on a course where a PB is possible, 63% of people said ‘yes’ – further emphasising the community feel within Racecheck. It’s a unique sense of belonging you just don’t get by running, riding or swimming solo.
But how exactly does community affect the races from an organiser’s perspective – will it affect participation rates for the better? Hollie Light from seems to think so, explaining how the feeling of belonging and also a strong element of FOMO, drives people to enter AAT’s races.
“Encouragement from others is a proven factor in determining whether some people will enter an event or not. Regardless of experience, most participants reported signing up because “everyone was doing it” – they didn’t want to feel as though they would be missing out. Runners also commented that because most people train for at least six months for a half marathon – the experience involves so much more than just the race day itself.”
Light also says that this ‘group mentality’ is a positive one from an organiser’s perspective.
“It’s something that we actively encourage. The Morrisons Solicitors Corporate Challenge at Mercergives people the opportunity to represent their branch, company or department whilst taking part in the half marathon.
“There is no limit to the number or team members who can register – so it’s very inclusive. And it needs to be. As organisers of the largest mass-participation community events in our area, we feel that we have a responsibility to encourage local people to lead more active and healthy lifestyles – which can be promoted more effectively when it comes from within those people’s group units – from team leaders (such as employers) and team members (colleagues).”
The community feel that Racecheck encourages isn’t the only aspect that keeps people coming back. 24% of people said that the ability to share stories from past races and review each course is what they love most about the site – and if that’s not the digital equivalent of regaling your pals with tales of your exploits in the pub post-race, we don’t know what is!
The opportunity to share race stories, from the most popular, to the most obscure, has given Racecheck users an incredible insight into a wider range, and number, of races than they could have ever imagined – 90% of people surveyed saying Racecheck had opened their eyes and helped them cover new racing ground.
We also wanted to find out how our current #Visorclub members thought we could build the community yet further.We heard a lot of requests for more #Viscorclub meetings pre/post races and events, as well as more #Visorclub merchandise. We’re not exactly surprised by this, after all nothing screams ‘community’ more than a shared appreciation for flashy, stylish race kit – oftentimes it’s just as much about looking good, as it is feeling good.
Making a strong community even stronger
One Racecheck user surveyed had this to say when queried about extra functions that they’d like to see on the Racecheck site.
“I think making for a real-time community in addition to the virtual community is the next evolution; pre/post big event socials. Those real-time meets are likely to further drive the virtual engagement.”
Others wanted to hear more from the organisers of races themselves, believing that their involvement in the reviews, sharing of stories and wider #Visorclub community was just as integral as the views of the participants.
“I’d like to see race organisers’ comments on how they think the event went – and maybe even get their response to reviews.”
“If possible, I would like to see a bit more interaction with race organisers in some form. Do they see the feedback? What do they do with it? Some races don't have any reviews (despite being around for a good few years), don't race organisers want to promote this?”
At Racecheck we truly believe in the power of community, priding ourselves on providing the platform for athletes to help other athletes find great races. The enthusiasm that our community shows is a constant source of inspiration and we love nothing more than hearing stories of new participants having awesome experiences at events which they’ve been recommended through our website. We’ll be looking carefully at the feedback we’ve received in the pursuit of an even stronger community.
Want to get involved with our #visorclub? Every month we choose a handful of lucky reviewers to join the club – you must have written a review in the last month – so if you haven’t written a review lately, get typing! The more reviews you write, the better your chance of being selected – with no upper limit on how many races you can review.