When I started this little business I did it with one purpose in mind. To make racing affordable for people, and the way that I would make that happen is to put on affordable races. In fact, before we became a legitimate running company I put on a FREE race called the Broke Man's Half Marathon in May of 2013. It was quite a gem.
I wish I could say that I had any idea what I was doing. I learned about race directing by recruiting a mentor (who I owe my gratitude and sanity too), google, and an 8 week stint I did for another company that taught me not so much what TO do as a race director, but what NOT to do. From there it was just trial and error, listening to people, and trial again.
I wish I could say that I knew why things went so well for the first few years. I opened up my first winter warm up on November 1st of 2015 and on race day 2 1/2 months later we had over 900 runners signed up. All of our races in 2016 pulled in similarly well numbers. It was a whirlwind of everything that I was hoping it would be.
But through the development of my running series cities starting pulling in tighter reigns on the explosion of little races that were popping up all over the place (i.e. raising fees). In that year of trying many different things with our new company, I figured out its place in the running world. A small, grass roots running company with a amazing following, but a business model that made it challenging to operate in a highly competitive and established market.
And in 2017 the numbers dropped. Our winter warm up race was almost HALF of what is was the year prior, our Southeast race is well under half the amount of participants, and the numbers were so low for our Northern race that we had to make the very tough decision to cancel.
Through this all, I've started to become so concentrated on trying to get feet to the starting line, that I've completely lost sight of why I started this race in the first place. To take away the monetary challenges that come with running, so that everyone has a chance to experience the life changing process that is running with the sole focus on the promotion of physical and mental health. But I couldn't even begin to think about focusing on the mission when I was so focused on the nitty gritty.
My goal was to never be competition. My goal was always to make running affordable for people. But I have realized that putting on affordable races is NOT the way that I was going to make that happen. There are so many amazing races out there, so how do we go about solving the problem of making those races accessible for those that want to run them, but can't afford it?
So I am putting in my resignation as a full time race director and announcing the start of my non-profit (pending development of company and non-profit status) of Chapter Two.
SO what's going to happen to the races!?!
I will still be putting on the "fun" races that we do. These will most likely be contained to the summer solstice run, the winter solstice run, and the #optoutside trail race. I don't have 100% details on that yet, it may change. If we choose to go forward with a specific race then you'll know and registration will be quick.
I WILL be putting on races that currently have open registration. We will NOT be cancelling current events. All current events will be final year events.
So whats the next step?
Brokeman's Running will become an apparel company selling quality, meaningful and purposeful shirts and other apparel and goods. 100% percent of profits from this apparel line will go to benefit our non-profit Chapter Two.
So what's Chapter Two? (Or chapter Forty-Two it seems like)
This is something I've wanted to develop for years. It was supposed to be the main purpose of the races, but I never had time to bring it to light. We will exist for the goal of making running possible for anyone. When I was a younger version of myself, I struggled heavily with anxiety, an eating disorder and alcoholism. I was on the straight path to no where fast. Fear and/or addiction grips all of us in some way or another. Through drugs, isolation, food, alcohol, pills, unhealthy relationships, weight gain, commitment issues. A healthy addiction to running has been clinically proven to be the tool that can CURE all of this. Trust me.
But running is expensive. And by expensive I mean any hobby that takes up time and money, when you don't otherwise have the time and money... is expensive. Trust me.
We want to take away the obstacles for people that are choosing to change their life through the medicine of running. Give them a little good faith gesture. A little high five. A little light. We will organize a scholarship program ANYONE can apply to for help with race fees, running shoes, transportation to and from races, along with community support through running groups, training programs, and anything else we or the runners may need to get them from the first thought of change, to the starting line.
Chapter Two will be supported financially through the sales of Brokeman's Apparel, along with partnerships from national running focused companies, races, and sponsors that focus on physical and mental health.
I'd love to know your thoughts, and how you can help as this non-profit goes from an idea on a page, to real life.
Dream Big. Inspire Others. Run Long.