The Race To The Race

The burst off the start was furious. The pace was so strong that its competitors could not match. None of those observing had seen such a performance.
Are we watching the performance of some world class athlete? No, we’re seeing the registration numbers for the 2011 Boilermaker!
How did this happen; let’s jump into the time machine and turn the dial to April 2010.
For at least the past 10 years the Boilermaker would run an ad in the newspaper the day after the race offering registration for the following year’s race. Registration would remain open until the end of June or approximately 48 weeks! I’m not sure how many other races have such an open timeframe.
The elimination of this tradition was two-fold One, to give the Boilermaker Committee a chance to go through lessons learned from the race just run. We would have been making decisions in April 2010 about the July 2011 race!
Secondly, to make the opening of registration more of an event as the ‘shadow’ of the race run the day before eclipsed the chance to sign up for the following year’s Boilermaker.
Front and center was registration for the 2011 race. We were just coming off a record of 13,108 for the 15k and 2,991 for the 5k.
I received more than a few e-mails from 15k complaining about taking miles to break out of the pack. Also the inevitable ‘it takes so long to hit the start line’ messages.
There clearly was concern that we could be looking at over 14,000 runners for the 2011 15k run.
Sometimes more is now always better…
With the 5k we have seen 20% growth year over year. The start is much more open than the 15k so we could clearly handle more runners.
In the end registration caps were set for the 15k and 5k at 13,000 and 4,000 respectively so overall we are taking roughly 900 more runners than last year.
In addition, we wanted to encourage on-line registration. It reduces errors on our end, increases real time information and is clearly a ‘greener’ alternative to paper apps..
To promote the on-line registration we lunched it 4 weeks ahead of paper.
Long and the short of it while we might see 4 to 5 runners registering a day at this time of year we are seeing over 110 a day!
It appears at some point, perhaps in the early Spring, we might hit our registration numbers.
Word to the wise; register now if you are planning on running this year.

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