Behind J&A Racing’s Virtual Experience That Became an Overnight Success Through haku

Written by Cody Beavers

In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, J&A Racing, a locally owned running event organization based in Virginia Beach, faced a challenge. After their spring in-person events were canceled, J&A Racing had to think quickly on how they’d be able to create a new revenue stream for their organization. In just four days, they created and deployed their virtual I Heart Mom 5k with the innovative technology and dedicated support of their partner, haku. 


What started as a way to help their community stay engaged with their brand became a revenue driver for J&A Racing during a time of uncertainty. The event also drove a considerable amount of fundraising, through the haku platform, for their charity partner, First Responders Children’s Foundation. 


“Our team quickly got together and discussed ways we could generate income after so many losses from this pandemic,” said J&A Racing Co-Owner Amy Frostick. “The I Heart Mom 5k became a financial success for J&A Racing.”


Implementing a new event quickly was the biggest challenge for J&A Racing due to the rapid business impacts of coronavirus. Over the few days that J&A Racing was setting up their I Heart Mom 5k, Communications Director, Kristy Maute, relied on her dedicated haku customer experience team to help set up registration, develop an engaging participant experience, map the participant’s journey, implement a marketing strategy, and more. 


“It felt like haku dropped everything to support us. They even surprised us with custom branding, which made our event feel like a complete product,” said Maute. “They might as well share an office with me.” 


In addition to providing J&A Racing with the innovative virtual products they needed to succeed, haku became a part of the experience themselves. A majority of haku’s senior executives completed the I Heart Mom 5k, demonstrating just how committed they are to their partners. 


“haku is always 100% involved. Not only supporting us with the best technology platform but also participating in the events with us. It’s huge and brings a big smile to my face,” said Frostick. 


J&A Racing utilized a wide range of virtual products from haku to create a best-in-class experience for their participants including a virtual goodie bag, an engaging virtual results experience, a real-time social wall, fundraising, and more. When participants had questions, haku’s participant support team was there - as an extension of J&A Racing’s team - to provide answers through live chat, phone, email, and text. This level of service ensured that every participant was offered the best experience possible.


Through haku’s virtual suite of products, J&A Racing was able to optimize their I Heart Mom 5k to drive revenue, create a rewarding experience, engage with their community, and raise brand awareness. To keep their participants engaged throughout the summer, J&A Racing launched another virtual event series, The Dog Days of Summer, which has garnered more successful results. They also plan on adding a virtual option alongside future events.


“We’re working closely with haku to offer virtual options for all of our in-person races in the fall,” said Frostick.


What was the lesson learned from J&A Racing? Move quickly. Now is the time to think about new and inventive ways to host a virtual event and create an experience for your community. 


About haku:


haku is an unparalleled technology partner that forward-thinking event organizers work with to plan, manage, promote, and sell-out their events. Through state-of-the-art technology and an all-in-one platform, world-class organizations can better plan events, track progress, engage with participants, and move their events and businesses forward, all while utilizing an all-encompassing technology ecosystem. haku is trusted by organizations such as the Boston Athletic Association, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Big Sur International Marathon, Atlanta Track Club, J&A Racing, Houston Marathon, Mercedes Benz Corporate Run, and many more.


To learn more about haku, please visit www.hakusports.com


About J&A Racing:


J&A Racing is a nationally recognized race management company based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. With a portfolio of seven events, J&A Racing’s mission is to promote and support healthy lifestyles and the sport of running through all stages of life. Since 2003 when J&A Racing owners, Amy and Jerry Frostick, took over the Shamrock Sportsfest, the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend has become one of the most popular running events in the country growing from 3,000 participants to a record 30,000 in 2015. Additionally, J&A Racing organizes the Old Point National Bank Wicked 10K; the MSP Design Group Big Blue 5K; the Bayport Credit Union Surf-N-Santa 5 Miler; the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon & 5K; the Chartway Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon, 10K & We Promise Foundation Norfolk Harbor 5K; and the ADP Corporate 5K.

For more information on J&A Racing’s events, visit jandaracing.com