Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Race Directors Doing Right by Their Customers

Clouds Coming Into the Festival Area On
Race Day at Savage
On March 19, 2016 Savage Race kicked off the 2016 season by having their spring race at Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City, Florida.  For those of you dedicated to this race series you know the Savage Race seems to have a little bit of bad luck when it comes to the weather cooperating.  The morning started off overcast and the rain was supposed to hold off until after 3:00pm.  My husband and I were able to run the first wave successfully with only a little bit of drizzle towards the end as we finished.  What was not expected were the tornado, lightening and severe weather alerts coming across phones of workers, EMTs, and race employees around 11:00am.  This abrupt alarm caused the course to close down until further notice.  This year Savage Race had promised the addition of new obstacles and a different course route.  They successfully made these changes and incorporated the new obstacles but many people didn’t get to experience the new challenges because of the rain delay and closed course on Saturday. Luckily Savage Race is a two day event which extended through Sunday.  Racers had the option of waiting out the rain, returning the next day to run, or the option to receive a future race code.

In a world filled with so many surprise “what if’s,” it was very unlikely that the Savage Race Director could have known the rain forecasted would come several hours earlier than anticipated and include tornado warnings.  My husband and I had brought our own tent canopy and stayed through the rain in hopes to see our friends off for their waves, and to wait for more to finish the race.  While we were in the festival area the D.J. announced several times weather updates, asked racers to check their emails, the times in which they were going to make key decisions regarding the next wave time, and to check Facebook for any new updates.  After a wave of rain came through the area, the decision to re-start waves was made at around 1:00pm.  Racers were allowed to run and enjoy the course as usual and all festivities resumed.  The rain did however turn a lot of runners away.  It’s one thing to run 7.5 miles and accomplish 30+ obstacles, it’s another to do it while it’s wet, rainy, and just plain yucky outside.

In my opinion, I truly think that Savage Race handled this problem to the best of their ability and did a wonderful job.  I have been to events where the race was cancelled, no refunds were issued, and no makeup date was ever announced.  Emails would come out days later saying no refunds will be issued because it costs time and money to secure locations and Race Directors simply did not have the cash to issue the refunds.  Many in our community have even bought race registrations for races which went out of business and never received their registration money back.  Sadly this is a theme in the race community and although it doesn’t happen often, it happens often enough to be hesitant about registering for a small race six months in the future.
Huddling Under Our Canopy While
The Rain Came 

What I like about the Savage Race is the fact they handled the notifications extremely well.  Even when I finished running and headed home I had numerous emails addressing the rain delay and issue as well as an email from the Race Director Sam Abbitt stating: 

“Savages,
Today, lightning in the area caused us to postpone Savage Race by three hours.  We always hate to postpone, but safety must come first.  While the course was reopened at 1:20, and many of you were able to run, we realize that some of you had already left the venue and did not come back. Congratulations to all of those who were able to run and complete the event.
For those of you who were unable to run today, we have two options for you:
1) You may come back tomorrow (Sunday) to run in any start wave.  Sunday waves go off every twenty minutes starting at 9:00am. The last wave leaves at11:00am. Course conditions are amazing, and we hope you will return.
-OR-
2) We will send you a voucher for a free future race.  Please see the details below for how to claim your voucher.
How to claim your voucher for a free future race:
The guidelines for determining eligibility for the future race credit are as follows:
If you were unable to run today, you are eligible for a free future race.
The following people are ineligible for a free future race voucher: 
  • People who finished the race
  • People who finish the race on Sunday instead of Saturday
  • People who inquired about cancelling their registration or told us they would not be able to attend the race prior to Friday, 3/18 at 11:59 PM.”
Did Savage Race HAVE to issue future race credit to racers who left because of the weather?  Absolutely not...but they did, and they did everything in their power to make their customers happy.

This brings me to another smaller race in the area Mud Titan.  My previous review of this race is listed on another post here MudTitan Review and BIG changes have been published from the Race Director on this local race as well. 

MudTitan Competitive Wave
Mud Titan is a small local race held in Plant City, Florida and brings in a smaller but more personal crowd within the race community.  This is a great race for beginners, families, and brings back local racers each year because of its location.  The latest Mud Titan was held in early March and faced low competitive wave registrations and a decline in participants from previous races.  This caused them to change a few of their waves, rearrange some runners, and reissue new rules for the competitive wave.  A few days after the race, an email was sent out to all the competitive wave athletes offering them a discounted race for the next event.  Mike, the Race Director acknowledged the issues and changes which were made in order to make the event successful, and recognized these changes mainly affected the competitive wave.  In addition to the email, and after all was said and done, the Race Director opened up his email and Facebook to have suggestions offered and solutions made.   I do not know exactly what was brought to the Race Directors attention, and can only reference my last blog, however I do know that Mud Titan took all of the suggestions and is making an improvement for racers in their August race.  Just last week they issued a statement on their Facebook page stating:

“You spoke. WE LISTENED. We took to social media/eblasts to ask TITANS to give us the good, bad and ugly of our events. And boy did you all respond. We collected all your responses and have put together a PIP (Performance improvement plan) for us to immediately attack head on. We are a customer focused and feedback driven OCR/Mud run event and we hope you will be 100% satisfied with your experiences with us.
                Here are some of the features that will be implemented for August 27th, 2016 Mud Titan 6.
·We have switched to Chronotrack which will offer the best in race day management, social media integration, chip timing, bib recognition for pictures and much more.
·Continual development of the 5K/8K concept.
·Volunteer shifts
·Elite wave improvements to rules and structure on course
·Return of age group awards
·A more friendly pricing structure. Our best price is offered right now. Get 50% off with our next event with code: TitanUp. Register now:  http://mudtitanrun.com/
·Obstacle renovations
·And much more to come!!
             Thanks,
The Mud Titan Team”

I will have to say that obstacle renovations, and the elite wave improvements are some of the biggest concerns I heard within the community the day of the last race.  So, if I heard them…Mike the Race Director definitely heard them.  Later in the week all participants were sent out an email as well which provided a link to the new competitive wave rules and regulations.  The link addressed new rules and changes to the awards.  You can see the changes here:  http://mudtitanrun.com/rules/

What’s awesome about this is that all of the changes were made because of athlete’s feedback!

The last example I have is from a mid-size race with race locations up and down the east coast.  This race is named Muddy Brute.  I had the opportunity to volunteer and run this race the last time it came to Florida in December of 2015.  This race was held at an awesome and unique location and although I would say….may have been successful…there were some struggles that happened the day of the event.  One example was not having enough finisher T-Shirts for registered participants.  Somewhere, somehow, a box of t-shirts was misplaced between the travelling and storing.  What did the Race Director do?  If you didn’t get a finisher t-shirt he mailed you one….if you didn’t get one in your appropriate size… he mailed you one….I left my ski jacket there by mistake and guess what?  He mailed it to me!  In addition, there was some minor volunteer growing pains, which I won’t get into too much detail with, but what did the Race Director do?  He sent out free race codes so we could all come back and enjoy the next event.  As a smaller race I don’t think people are asking for miracles, but I have to say the Race Director went above his responsibilities and made things right with his customers.

With all three races exceeding the level of customer service lately I had to acknowledge them and give them the praise they deserve.  As business owners their job is to keep their business growing.  When they treat registered athletes and runners as customers they encourage their return.  I am a big believer that some things are out of the hands of a normal person and things do and can go wrong….it’s how you handle yourself as a person that matters.  When businesses do good by customers those customers come back and talk about how they fixed it.

So in a society where everyone is always quick to complain about everything......Well done Savage, MudTitan, and Muddy Brute....thank you for making things right with your customers!

For more information on all 3 races please visit their individual websites at:



Try Some of Lenny and Larry’s cookies & check out the website at: Team LL
Register for your next BattleFrog Race Here: BattleFrog Series
                Want $20.00 Off Your Next Race?  Use PROMO CODE:  BFW0311









No comments:

Post a Comment