The Top Six Things You Can Do To Create Value In A Running Race

Oct 17, 2023

IBA, as the premier business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, is firmly established as a respected professional service firm in the legal, accounting, banking, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, and financial planning communities.  Periodically, we will post guest blogs from professionals with knowledge to share for the good of owners of privately held companies & family owned businesses. The following blog article has been provided by Sally Bergesen. Ms. Bergesen is a business broker at IBA (

The Top Six Things You Can Do To Create Value In A Running Race

Running events have become much more than just races; they are experiences that bring communities together while offering significant financial potential. Whether you’re a seasoned race director or an aspiring event organizer, creating financial value in your running event is the best way to help it grow, and keep inspiring new runners every year.

Here are six key steps to help you achieve favorable results:

  1. Longevity: Be in it for the long run. Building long-term financial value starts with investing in those foundational pieces, such as city permitting, or strong sponsor relationships. Continuity, from year to year, breeds trust and anticipation among participants. Aim for consistency in event scheduling, and invest in sustainable event planning and logistics to secure the future of your race.
  2. Repeatable Systems: As reliable as your favorite pre-race meal. Developing efficient and repeatable systems is a cornerstone of financial success in running events. Streamline registration processes, race-day operations, and marketing efforts. This enhances the overall runner experience, fosters loyalty, repeat attendance, and makes your event more attractive as a business entity.
  3. Brand Awareness: Work your way up to the front of the pack. Establishing a strong and consistent brand presence is crucial for financial success. Cultivate a brand that resonates with participants, sponsors, and the community. Effective branding can attract more participants, increase sponsorship opportunities, and boost your event’s overall financial health.
  4. Profitability: Train hard, and maximize your strengths. Running events should be financially sustainable. Carefully manage your expenses and revenue streams to ensure profitability. Explore additional income sources, such as merchandise sales, premium registrations, or hosting related events like expos or clinics.
  5. Staffing: Even small teams can have a huge impact. Invest in a dedicated and skilled team and volunteer pool. Efficient event management not only enhances the participant experience but also reduces operational costs. Seasonal or part-time staff can help, but consider retaining core team members who understand the unique dynamics of your event. Establish relationships with local running clubs or schools, with a large pool of potential volunteers.
  6. Seasonal Timing: Meet people where they are. Holidays bring out the crowds. July 4th, Thanksgiving, New Year’s. The timing of your event can significantly impact its financial success. Consider hosting races on dates with higher participation potential, such as holidays, or the two major seasons for running events: spring and fall. Once you’ve had success with a date, resist the urge to change it. A date on the calendar has its own equity.

Creating financial value in a running event requires a mix of planning, consistency, and vision. If you’re new to the running event scene, there are a number of organizations that can support you along the way, with information and/or a community of other race directors and owners: RunningUSA, Road Runners Club of America, or Road Race Management.

IBA recently created a new transaction team focused on serving entrepreneurs in the running event space.  Sally Bergesen is the lead intermediary for that team and a recognized advocate for the running community.  Please visit Run Broker to learn more about this group.

If you have questions relating to the content of this article or the process associated with selling or buying a running race or fun run, Sally Bergesen would welcome the opportunity to talk with you.  Ms. Bergesen can be reached at (425) 454-3052 or

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, accounting, legal, and financial planning communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family-owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.