Boilermaker Blog

Moving at Hyper-Speed

There was an informal bet among Boilermaker staff concerning when the 2013 Boilermaker would sell out. The 2012 race had sold out in 65 days. I surmised that, with the field held at 14,000 that we would be looking at hitting the cap in a month.
Surprise, surprise!
Registration opened at 12:01 am, January 12th, by 4:30 am when I woke up the count was nearly 800, a fourfold increase from a year ago at that time. Something very different is happening.
The velocity of registrants continued to increase throughout Saturday; that day we saw over 14,500 hits on the website (not including Facebook which was running white hot and registered over 49,000 hits).
On Monday evening, shortly after a Boilermaker meeting, the bomb hit- the 15k reached the cap. Frantic emails began to populate my computer; the phones began to ring and ring and ring.
A day later the 5k fell victim to the race cap. In 2012 the 5k maxed out two weeks after the 15k had filled. That year was the first time the 5k had ever hit its cap and probably caused more ‘how could this have happened’ emails and calls than the closing of the 15k.
It certainly seems clear the advanced warning we utilized worked well (some might say too well).
Months before, we had ‘installed’ a countdown to registration clock on the website. We tried to keep the ‘buzz’ going on Facebook and Twitter before the big day. Traditional local media informed its audience about both 2013 cap numbers and opening day. Running clubs that traditionally send large groups of participants were notified. Finally, we send an email blast to runners that participated in last year’s event of the impending opening of registration.
So what does all this mean?
Assuming the 2013 Boilermaker is a pleasant experience for the participants I would expect the race to sell out even faster. The Peachtree Road Race with 40,000 participants now sells out in less than an hour.
While the date of opening has significance, it’s the halfway point to the running of the race, should we move the opening of registration to a later date? I sometimes wonder if coming off so close to the New Years holiday (and resolutions) that we end up with people with good intentions but later reality sets in (holy smokes; I’ve got to run 9.3 miles on a challenging course in the middle of July).
Many races have resorted to a lottery system or a combination of first come-first serve for a set amount and lottery for the remainder.
It sort of boggles my mind I’m thinking about these things with the race nearly six months away!

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