The small town of St. George is known for its scenic views and outdoor recreation activities. Unfortunately, as COVID-19 cases rose in the Spring, the excitement of spending time outside the home quickly declined. That's when the team at the St. George Marathon stepped in with a creative idea to give their community an experience that challenged them to get outside and stay active during the pandemic. With their technology partner, haku, by their side, the St. George Marathon utilized a wide range of haku's products to create three virtual events over the summer that challenged their participants to run 200 miles in one month. By the end of their last virtual event in July, St. George saw that 75% of their participants were returning customers!
"We needed to do something that got people excited to go outside again," said Aaron Metler, Recreation Coordinator for the City of St. George. "Our goals were to get people outside and include as many people as possible."
With the help of haku's robust suite of virtual products, St. George created three unique virtual events that each represented a step in the progress that was being made with the pandemic. The events were called Flatten The Curve, Forget The Couch, and Fly The Coop. To stay true to their vision of creating an all-inclusive virtual event, the St. George Marathon offered a variety of activity options to their participants from walking to biking to running.
"We had participants in wheelchairs and riding scooters. It was a place where anyone felt like they could participate and have a good time," said Metler. "haku provided us with a variety of tailored options and was always ready to get anything done that we asked."
As the virtual events kicked off, participants relied on a leaderboard to track results and a real-time social wall for some fun competition. By utilizing these virtual products along with finisher certificates, playlists, and more, St. George was able to create a competitive event while still offering a fun and rewarding participant experience.
"haku's products were one of the reasons people had such a good time," said Metler. "The whole haku experience was great when everything was placed together."
Robust technology and marketing played a big role in providing an authentic experience during the three virtual events. By combining St. George's creative content with haku's seamless communication solution, St. George effectively delivered content to their community, which increased engagement and registrations.
"With all of the communications we send out, we love haku's email system," said Metler. "The system was simple to use and incorporating our content in our emails was easy. Overall their technology is just amazing."
After the success of the virtual event series, St. George is looking forward to adding a virtual component to their upcoming in-person race and is currently brainstorming ideas for more stand-alone virtual events.
"We believe there's still going to be a niche for virtual events even when in-person events come back," said Metler. "Being able to participate in a fun St. George event from anywhere is now possible with 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 Organization, J&A Racing, Houston Marathon, Big Sur Marathon, Atlanta Track Club, Philadelphia Eagles, Mercedes Benz Corporate Run, and many more.
To learn more about haku, please visit www.hakusports.com
About St George Marathon:
Rated by Runner's World as one of the four "Marathons to Build a Vacation Around" in the World. Included in Runner's World 10 Most Scenic and Fastest Marathons and Top 20 Marathons in the USA. It begins in the majestic Pine Valley mountains and descends nearly 2600 feet through scenic southwest Utah, to the beautiful Worthen Park. The St. George Marathon is a point-to-point race, which is USA Track & Field Certified & Sanctioned. Runner's World listed the St. George Marathon as the fastest fall marathon. A fun race indeed--and scenic.