The news keeps getting better for run specialty retailers who depend on races to drive business. In an October update, RunSignup reported that aggregated registration data continues to show gradual improvement for the endurance race category following the pandemic.

In fact, even though most events have not returned to pre-pandemic participation levels, the average year-to-date trend improved by five percent.

In other positive findings:

  • There has been an average reduction of 15 percent in participation levels compared to pre-pandemic data; this corresponds to its previously reported 20 percent reduction in registration levels.
  • Even though October registrations declined percent, participation levels improved — a net new race growth of 40 percent was reported while maintaining its existing participant base of 25,000 events.

“We are very hopeful that the recent trend data will continue to improve for the industry,” says Bob Bickel, RunSignup’s CEO and founder, adding that “the last three months indicate a positive shift.”

September was set to have similar numbers as August, with the lower nine percent reduced levels, but Hurricane Ian temporarily disrupted this trend, he points out.

“We believe that for the industry to rebound fully, it will require race organizers to apply more concerted efforts to help build back participation — this involves reassessing their event’s overall experience and applying a much more assertive marketing effort that includes strategic pricing incentives, proactive promotion through a mix of tools and connecting with the community to help raise awareness and interest,” Bickel adds.