I got an interesting message from our friend Danny Smith at Paddling Paradise who just got back from the SUP & RUN 5K in Sarasota, FL. He raved about how much fun it was, how stoked people were, how it raised money for Operation Second Chance.
What was so awesome? What was their secret sauce?
No secret. Just made what they thought would be an enjoyable event for a great cause. And it worked. They’ve been at it for 5 years, building each year on a good model. The new racers dig it. New format. Accessible and inclusive, yet still a challenge. Lots of people.
The race cost $41.50 with the processing fee and that was for either the 5K Run, 5K Paddle or both the 5K Run & 5K Paddle. That’s right. They didn’t just double the entry fee if you did both.
They had 1000 total participants, 200 paddlers total with 170 of those doing the SUP N RUN combination.
The event benefitted Operation Second Chance (OSC)
OSC Mission Statement: We are patriotic citizens committed to serving our wounded, injured and ill combat veterans. We support Veterans and their families while they recover in military hospitals, by building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. We are dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces.
They cut off registration when they had 1000
According to Danny, the race cut registrations to 1000 participants with 2 weeks out. He felt they had the perfect venue, that it was very well organized with a flat run and a flat sup course that attracted tons of beginners. Of the 170 paddlers, 50 were on rental boards.
The race broke down age groups and SUP/Run and SUP&RUN divisions 6 deep, but didn’t break the SUP race into the usual 10,000 crafts divisions. There was just SUP. “There was also a lot of talk about Club racing in one design,” Danny added, “because a lot of these people were sailors as well.” It sounds like a real vote of confidence for a single division or a level playing field with either 14 and under or a One Design model.
Danny has been around the SUP scene for years and knows many of the usual paddle suspects but said he knew maybe 10 people, adding “It also shows we really need to reach outside our normal groups.”
How many races like this are safely off the radar? Flourishing in the stoke that comes from being around a group of people who are discovering SUP for the first time? For which the sport is new and exciting without a hint of so much of the negativity surrounding some of the larger, more established races? It sounds like these people wanted to run and paddle and have fun and whatever that meant, on whatever craft they allowed, meant a great time to a vast majority of the participants.
It sounds like they have a great thing there, free to build on what works for them and away from the high race fee, high vendor fee model that has been crashing and burning. Danny continued, “to me it was just an amazing thing that there weren’t Brands there no shops it was a fresh site.”
I’ll tell you one person who knew about it and seemed to flourish, our own Dylan Geiger, taking 1st in his age group. (Nice work buddy!)
“Yes it’s exactly what we need. the crazy thing, it’s been happening you just didn’t know about it that race is grown every year for the Last 5 Years” —Danny
I have to look into the race more, especially this first 100 idea that didn’t seem to have a fee. I’ll find out more and update the post. Dylan or anyone who attended, please log in and comment on this post.
Thanks Danny for the heads up. We love stuff like this. And if you have an event that’s blown you mind, made you think differently, or brought stoke where there was a stoke hole, let us know about it.
PS: Remember, if you aren’t getting coverage, it’s not because you’re being shunned. It’s because we have limited resources and are doing what we can to survive and eventually thrive as a site, as a community. Keep letting us know what’s going on and we’ll do our best to create and share your stories. Thanks for your support.
Also, visit the SUP & RUN 5K Facebook Page