Following our recent announcement that the theme for the 2017 US Trail Running Conference is: Making Strides in Innovation, this is the first in a series of posts focused on participating sponsors and our expert panelists on how they have used innovations to drive their products, service and races.
This post is focused on the Presenting Sponsor for the Trail Race Director days at the Conference, Race Roster. Race Roster is the fastest growing endurance registration website in North America, and has been a participating sponsor at the Conference for the last two years. This year they also provide the registration platform for all aspects of the Conference, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. Check out the earlier post announcing Race Roster as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2017 US Trail Running Conference.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Rob Tranter, Senior Business Development Representative for Race Roster, and asked him to share some insights into why Race Roster has become so successful.
Can you share the reasons behind how Race Roster came to be?
Race Roster was started by five life-long friends. Chantelle and Brandon are siblings who met Alex and Bob in elementary school, and the four of them met Chan in ninth grade. Chantelle and Brandon came from the endurance space, both having coached at the collegiate level (Santa Clara University and Hawaii Pacific University, respectively). Chan and Bob successfully exited from an online gaming company and Alex had been consulting for Deloitte in the technology space for five years.
The founding five were brought together to tackle the project of starting a road race in our hometown six years ago. We were using a competitor for registration and the event technology at the time wasn’t very user friendly. Our frustration with the available options led to a successful race, and organic requests from other race directors. When people started knocking on our door after using it themselves, we knew we were on to something.
What is the Race Roster mission and vision?
MISSION: We’re a passionate team dedicated to building software that empowers a community to gather, move and fundraise. Endurance events transform lives and we want to transform the way they are organized. We believe in doing things the right way and building long term relationships with our event partners.
VISION: We know events provide their participants with life changing experiences, and we want to create a community of event organizers and participants that look to Race Roster for the best event experiences in North America.
Race Roster has been described as the fastest growing endurance registration website in North America. Can you share the top three factors that you think has made this possible?
We orient our company to three foundational pillars: Customer Success, Tech, and Partners.
When it comes to a successful relationship we know the technology has to work and fit the needs of the events we partner with. Our industry has many unique ideas that need to be supported online and we pride ourselves on taking a consultative approach where event organizers challenge us and we challenge event organizers on their wants and needs to reach a solution.
Beyond the technology, being an event organizer can be a leap of faith, so we invest in people that only work in the endurance space to be experts on our platform so you feel supported from Set Up to Race Day and beyond.
Finally, we know many partners and vendors have to use the insights you collect on Race Roster. We build our technology to be a hub for your partners.
Trail running continues to grow at a fast rate in both the US and Canada. What does Race Roster offer race directors of trail races that can help them with the specific demands for races off road?
Our greatest benefit would be working in partnership with ATRA for memberships and sponsoring the US Trail Running Conference. This service offers the Event Standards Program, offers membership verification in the event registration form, integrated donations and pledge pages for ATRA or your charity event and allows the RD to have complete page customization autonomy.
Race Roster has been a sponsor for the US Trail Running Conference for the last two years. This year Race Roster are the Presenting Sponsor for the two and half days dedicated to trail race directors. Why is it important for Race Roster to be participating, and what are you looking forward to for this year’s event?
Race Roster is the only company I have worked for that embraces the endurance athlete lifestyle. We only host endurance events and sponsor endurance athletes. After finishing 35th at the IAU Ultra-Trail Championships in 2013, Race Roster President Brandon Laan (2:21 marathoner) sought me out looking for someone who understood this rapidly growing sport. Consequently, having befriended Michael Wardian, he quickly became a Race Roster ambassador and we both attended the US Trail Running Conference in 2015.
It is important for Race Roster to lead this space as we co-create an active community through tech. Trail runners love tracking each other’s progress, volunteering for an iconic event, fundraising for their local trail system and running a PB on a gorgeous trail. Race Roster allows your to sign-up, donate, earn money referring friends and track your training progress on the Pursuit app.
In Canada, most trail races work with Race Roster. These include the 5 Peaks National Trail Running Series, Whistler 50, The North Face Whistler Half Marathon, Squamish 50/50, The Coastal Mountain Trail Running Series, Lost Soul Ultra, The North Face Dirty Feet Trail Series etc. In the Road Running space you may recognize the Divas Half Marathon Series, Canada Army Run, Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon and all Canada Running Series events.
Sam Pruitt and her SLO Ultra, marathon and strong charity work is our trail blazer. The Double Dipsea, with the frantic lottery, the Miwok 100, Trails In Motion World Tour are other strong California events. Locally in Colorado Jeff Stoner leads with the Endurance Race Series with Valerie Kuhns of the Highland Ranch Series of our course ATRA. Race Roster would love to offer our trail events the same service as our iconic US events: BMW Dallas Marathon, The Cowtown, NB Falmouth Road Race, Grandma’s Marathon, Wharf to Wharf and the California International Marathon.
How does innovation drive the services and products that Race Roster provides for race directors, and can you tell us what new RR innovations are coming in the near future?
We see innovation as a collaborative and sometimes messy process that needs input from our event organizers and real, usable data to be fully validated. Innovating requires challenging assumptions on how ‘it’s always been done’ to find a better way.
We can’t spill the beans on what we’ve been working on, but our trail events can trust they have a strong and experienced voice advocating for their needs in our company. In my opinion what sets us apart with our innovation is BEING the athletes and tech creators allows us to provide a full experience beyond registration.
Race Roster recently provided the membership registration platform for the American Trail Running Association. Many folks may not know that you can handle that aspect of their potential business. Is there anything else that you can offer to races and organizations that sets you apart from other providers?
We have a stake in the success of the sport so we have invested in it. Your ROI reflects on our’s, and this motivates us to help it grow with tools that don’t exist in any other vendors tool box.
One such example is our automated referral tool, capable of “set it and forget it” monthly contests where the RD can sit back and monitor the technology sending participants to your start line. Integrated with mail chimp, your metrics, including your revenue and how many participants are currently in the registration form for all your events is easily viewed from a smart phone.