Looking back at our Indiegogo campaign, I feel like that was 10 years ago but it was only last year. In that campaign we made a promise to upgrade your race experience if we raised over $50,000 in our crowdfunding. Although our course goals fell short, you raised over $50,000 and we did our best to deliver a few upgrades.
- Better Race Swag. How about those amazing Under Armour shirts? We saw a lot of smiles when people slipped on their new flip flops at the finish. And I think we can say that the medals were 'bigger' :)
- Bigger and Better Bands at the Finish Line. For the few of you that stuck around for Harold Allen and then Slippery When Wet, you were reward with two outstanding performances by national acts.
by the numbers
I have been struggling with whether or not to disclose the race financials. I can tell you that when I was researching this event, there are very, very few races that disclose this information even though many are non-profits. But 600+ of you took a chance on me and supported this race on Indiegogo where I promised to be upfront and honest about all parts of our race. On that campaign, I estimated the race would cost over $100,000 for 1,000 runners. Now that the dust has finally settled, this event cost $189,680 to put on. That is $123 per registered runner. That budget includes a 0 on the line for race director pay and on the lines for several of our key staff pay. If we had been paid even minimum wage for the thousands of hours of our time, this event would have cost well over $200,000 to produce. Very, very few of you paid $123 to run this event, but thanks to our amazing sponsors our income should be $186,196 once all the checks are received. You don't have to be a math major to figure out we lost about $3,500 this year. Although we did move this race under our non-profit, myself and my company, International Running Company, are going to cover that out of our own pockets. It is just not fair to penalize the non-profit for supporting this event.
$637,804.16. ($415 per registered runner; $488 per participating runner) This is the actual, local economic impact of the Kill Cliff Destin Marathon and Half Marathon based on surveys from every runner who attended the event.
1316 room nights x $126.51 per room=$166,487.16
5412 visitor days spent x $56 per day=$303,072
$76,000+ spent by the Destin Marathon organization locally
One unplanned $70,000 boat purchased by visiting runner
Money spent by runners from Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties due to this event $22,245
Other data: 316 guests flew into the area for the event; 2.821 visitors per out of area runner (including runner)
This data is based on the surveys each runner was required to fill out prior to getting their race bibs. Avg room price is for April, based on Okaloosa County Tourism Development Council data. $56 per visitor/per day is based on TDC data. Thank you to two of our friends for putting all the handwritten forms into excel for us to use.
We received a lot of quality feedback from our runners and others in our surveys and on social media. I would really love to list (the very long list) all the things that you runners said we did awesome, but it is our failures that we learn the most from. As with most events, you can't please everyone and keep the costs reasonable enough that people can afford to participate. But there were several areas that we can improve on and keep the race relatively affordable.
-Have to course finalized before we open registration. I understand a lot of you didn't like the course for one reason or another and many of you signed up when the proposed course looked much different. As you can read earlier in this blog, that was the 5th version of this course and that was the only layout that allowed a race to happen. Every single detail of that course was the way it was for a reason, to get approval (not to cause you pain and heartache). Getting approval for that course was a huge challenge this year and something we should have started on 2 years prior.
-A lot more people than expected may drop from the full marathon to the half marathon. My not being prepared for this number did cause a serious delay in our age group awards process as we had to move all these people out of the half marathon awards and ensure they were not in the full marathon results. Due to the cost of the Yeti cup awards and an error made in the overall awards, I was overly cautious in making sure that the age group awards were correct. Hopefully all the age group winners have received their cups in the mail by now.
-The car traffic volume on this route requires that Okaloosa Island portion open to traffic much earlier. The length of our race, some delays in removing the aid stations and traffic devices, and heavier than expected traffic volumes caused serious delays for non-runner motorists. This was never our intention and something that we need to fix.
Luckily I was naive last year and didn't realize that I would be risking $120,000 (even after the successful crowdfunding campaign) by deciding to do this event. But now, to do this again, I am looking at risking tens of thousands of my own dollars without the possibility of any financial benefit. I already donate hundreds of hours putting on the Destin Beach Ultra Runs and simply don't have the time or financial resources to do that for two major events.
In order for this event to happen again in 2017, as many of you have expressed a desire for, a few things are going to have to fall into place. 1) We are going to have to work with the local elected officials to find a plan that balances the economic benefit of this event with the possible disruption of local traffic. 2) Once again, we will need to secure sponsors that are willing to share the financial risk of this event with me. 3) We have to work with our non-profit board, or another non-profit, to find a way to compensate myself and my staff for the hours put into planning this event. 4) We will need local businesses and citizens to buy into the long-term vision of this event, to create a marathon that rivals the largest destination marathons in the nation and brings tens of millions of dollars into the local economy.
Once all four of those objectives are met, we will publish the date for the 2017 event and open registration. As for this blog, I doubt there are too many people who want to hear another year's worth of race directing drama. There have been some suggestions that I turn this more towards a Race Director's guide type of blog and that is something I will consider. Until then, thank you so much for your support of the Destin Marathon, myself and the running community. -Zane