I have to admit, I don’t know a lot about planning races and runs other than what I’ve seen as a participant. But, I think there’s a potential out there for some huge social media usage DURING a race, if the logistics could be figured out.
In almost all the races I’ve done I got to wear a chip timer. The chip timer marks when I get to cross the starting line and it marks when I FINALLY cross the finish line. (I like races, but I’m not very fast.)
This got me to thinking, if the chip timer can record start and finish, why not mile markers too? This would allow runners to more easily see their splits. I wouldn’t personally know what to do with that information, but others would. 🙂
This led to even more imaginative ideas and What Ifs…
What If…chip timers could be registered with the runner’s various social media accounts? Specifically, Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare to start simply. Then…
What if…as people cross various mile markers or hit the water stations, their social media accounts could be auto-updated with their location and current pace and even calculate out their estimated finish time? Also, it could check them in on an app like FourSquare and earn a special badge.
What if…as so many people hit each water station or mile marker, an update could appear in the run’s social media accounts. (“The first ten runners have already hit the first mile marker!” or “Over half the race has passed by water station #1 and they’re going strong!”)
What if…special congrats messages from the event account to the runner accounts could be sent as they cross the finish line with their unofficial time?
What if…after the race, all the different marker points could be shown with the runner’s individual times and give them a infographic of how they ran the race.
Overall, these additions would allow the runner to have a great history of their run. Also, it would allow the runner’s support team see how the runner is progressing in the race and allow them to add their own messages of support and congrats for the runner to read afterwards. Using these comments overlaid with the runner’s own “posts” and a picture could make for a great keepsake image!
The free marketing for the event could help increase the number of runners for the following year. With multiple posts for each runner, the viral touch increases exponentially. If each runner includes more than one social media account, you’re looking at even MORE marketing potential!
With a whole new generation of runners who also happen to be digital natives, I think it’s time we took a new look at charity runs and make them even more social. Any one ready to join the race? 🙂