The Latest Trend For Big Events: 5k Runs

Organising a 5km run to compliment your meeting or exhibition is a popular trend we are seeing more and more. Here are some reasons you should consider it.

Attendees are becoming increasingly health conscious and focusing more on their wellbeing so it makes sense that including a physical element as a fringe event to your main event is growing in popularity. Combining a 5km run alongside an exhibition or meeting can give the best of both worlds to your attendees. There are several industry events that have already taken this approach, including;

IMEXrun – Frankfurt 2016 was another sell out event, similar to the previous two editions in Frankfurt and Las Vegas. It is free of charge for IMEX attendees to enter and allows up to 800 spaces for participants.

IBTM – This event industry exhibition in Barcelona has a 5km run taking place early on Wednesday morning to start the day. With many attendees expressing that it was a highlight, they saw the sun rise with this event and definitely started the day off with impact.

With fantastic turnout at these event industry exhibitions, they are clearly doing something right. Here are some of the reasons why 5k runs are so popular alongside professional events:

The Latest Trend For Big Events: 5k Runs
  1. Promotes A Healthy Lifestyle

We will start with the obvious, running can help to promote a healthy lifestyle for your attendees and appeals to those who are health conscious. Running is a popular pastime and many people would like to be healthier or add better habits to their lifestyle. A 5km run is fairly accessible to all, even if they haven’t done much exercise before. It is also a great way to get the heart pumping and endorphins rushing which means that when they are done they are left with the “runner’s high” making them more likely to enjoy themselves against other fitness activity options.

In addition to this, including this healthy element and perhaps pairing it with health conscious catering choices show you care about your attendees well-being.

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  1. Adds Balance

Contrary to popular belief, many business and industry events are not holidays! They can often be incredibly demanding, and particularly when a conference or exhibition spans several days it can feel like there isn’t a break. For introverts or at functions that involve a lot of networking and brain power it can feel like you are constantly “switched on”.

Incorporating an activity, such as a 5k run, can add some balance and inject some fun into serious events. Because it involves predominantly the physical aspect it gives attendees a chance to give their mind a rest if they choose and focus on their own thoughts, with some choosing to run with music or “switch off” completely it balances out the hard work for the rest of the event.

  1. Mass Participation

Taking part in a fun run can generate a great buzz from attendees, as many sporting events do, because for serious runners there is an element of competition or rivalry and this buzz is contagious. Even if you are new to running, everyone is supportive and encouraging, creating a great atmosphere. The experience draws a great number of people to come together with a common goal and it can increase the event’s popularity as these warm fuzzy feelings spill over to the rest of the event. Attendees share the experience widely on social media and then will go home and tell others about how special and different the event was compared to other meetings or exhibitions.

Also, people will naturally want to improve on the previous year’s time or performance meaning that they are more likely to return to future events and take part again, perhaps bringing others with them.

  1. Diversify Demographic

Adding a fitness element can appeal to a different demographic of attendees who are more likely to attend the event specifically as the run appeals to them and means that the trip doesn’t have to interrupt their fitness regime. For those that are busy and wondering whether they should make the trip it could be the tipping point they need so it could positively affect the turnout. It can open up a different market who would have otherwise not been interested or got involved with your brand.

  1. Sense of Achievement

While it is on the smaller spectrum of event distances in the running world, 5km is not an easy feat and some training and preparation should be done in advance. Many will set personal goals, whether that is for time, running all the way or even just finishing but either way, the end result is usually the same and gives attendees a sense of achievement. This feel-good factor can enhance your event because the feeling is likely to transfer and put the attendees in a better mood to receive your message.

A positive event experience will mean they feel this event was worth something to them and they will go away on a high, which makes them more likely to keep coming back for more.

  1. Quality Networking

This relaxed and fun environment is very conducive to being social and creating new connections, making it a quality networking opportunity. Working out and running releases endorphins making you happier and the supportive community feel of the run increases your chances of making a real connection with someone. Also, the simple shared experience of running together creates a networking ice breaker that everyone automatically has in common at the event. Also, anyone who has helped you (mentally and physically) to get across the finish line is someone that you remember and will leave a lasting impression which also means you are more likely to keep in contact.

The only downside is recognising people you have met when they aren’t in running clothes, which can be tricky!

  1. A Great Sponsorship Opportunity

Planning additional events like this can be costly, particularly if including as a free perk for event attendees. For 5k’s you can cut down on staff marshalling by making the course loops, choose virtual goody bags instead of physical swag and opt for whole fruit at the finish line rather than pre-packaged snacks.

They are also great opportunities for sponsors who can provide start/finish signage, running numbers, t-shirts, samples or even give out medals with branded lanyards to get their message across.

  1. Energy and Concentration Boost

Making sure you don’t exhaust your attendees is important, otherwise they won’t be able to concentrate and focus when it is time for your main event. Luckily, a 5k shouldn’t be too exhausting and don’t require a lot of recovery time which means they can slot into the day nicely, whether you want to opt for a morning, lunchtime or afternoon event.

Many find that running shorter distances, such as 5km, makes attendees feel rejuvenated and gives them a burst of energy. This means that you could combat the traditional afternoon fatigue where people pay less attention by including the run in the middle of the day to see everyone through!

  1. Minimal Equipment Required

For shorter running events such as this, attendees don’t need the type of equipment seen at longer distances such as; running belts, hydration and fuelling options or fancy footwear. All that is needed are some sturdy trainers and a water bottle and they are good to go. This not only makes it more appealing but is logistically easier to plan rather than having large bag drop off or safe areas.

Also, for overnight events or those where attendees are expected to travel with a limited baggage allowance it doesn’t add more to their list to consider when packing (or to forget). Reassuring entrants that no fancy equipment is needed will end up with a better turnout and won’t put anyone off because they don’t feel prepared.

  1. Accessible

A 5k is the perfect combination of a running achievement that requires little prep beforehand so for an average person a 5k, although daunting, can be achieved whether they decide to walk, jog, run or a combination of all three. It requires minimal training, even for those who haven’t run before and can even include those in wheelchairs or who need guide runners and the course can be adapted for those with disabilities making it accessible for everyone.

For those who have never participating in sporting events before it can of course still be a daunting task, even if it is just for fun. Support your event attendees by sharing fitness programs and apps such as Couch to 5k, which set a training schedule of 9 weeks to reach the target, even for those that have never run before.

Although most 5ks have a 75 minute cut off end time to avoid logistical problems, it is rare that attendees would run over this anyway because of the distance itself, meaning it also doesn’t eat too much into the day.

  1. Team Building

Although many enjoy the personal achievement to run by themselves, 5k’s are easy to transform into team events where you can act as a relay (if you have a smaller running area) or where everyone runs together. This can create a sense of competition and comradery that you find in many team building activities but with running, the shared experiences help to bring people closer together, particularly if they are all non-runners, struggling over the line.

  1. Explore an Area

The shared experience of running around a set 5km course is a great way to see parts of the destination that otherwise you would have missed. When attending business events it can be easy to only see the airport, hotel room and venue, with limited opportunity to sample what the wider area has to offer. The organizers can chose to highlight and show off some of the amazing sights of interest with the route that they set.

In Conclusion

As health and wellness is a growing trend among attendees it makes sense to cater to this at events and 5k’s are a fantastic distance to do this with. The high accessibility rate means you can be inclusive and provide some truly memorable fun at your next corporate event, exhibition, conference or meeting.

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EventMB Team
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Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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