‘Virtual’ 5K Leaves Borders in the Dust
RMEF fun run features online participation, attracts new batch of outdoor enthusiasts around the country
By Ryan Kaiser, RMEF eastern Wyoming Regional Director
Join The Run
WHAT: First RMEF virtual 5K. Organized by Wyoming RMEF members, the run is for runners, walkers or hikers anywhere in the U.S. who would like to participate.
WHEN: Register until August 19 online on the RMEF events webpage. The run must be completed by September 20 in order to get a medal.
COST: $25 adults, $15 youths 11 and younger.
MORE: There are shorter races for younger runners to join in different age categories. Check the website for details.
What is your favorite thing to do? Many great RMEF second events start with this one simple question that, as organizers, we should always remember to ask ourselves.
In Wyoming, we’ve organized an event that’s new to the RMEF but based on a popular warm weather activity—the 5K run. And we’ve done some creative problem solving that will help engage participants in all corners of elk country.
The inaugural RMEF 5K Fun Run takes place from June through September 2015, and runners around the U.S. can lace up to participate without leaving their home city. The “virtual” run will help motivate hunters to get in shape for elk season or simply offer a chance to participate in one more fun run before the end of summer. This is a new RMEF second event that will hopefully appeal to a larger group of outdoor enthusiasts than just the folks who regularly attend their local RMEF banquet.
How it works
A virtual run means there is no host location where runners must gather to race. Although the race is being organized by RMEF members in Wyoming, participants in the 5K can run (or walk or hike) on any track or trail they choose, anywhere in the U.S., by signing up online at www.active.com
or through the RMEF events webpage.
We are also advertising the event on other local, regional and national racing, fitness, and outdoor websites.
Runners can register for the race from June 8-August 19 and everyone has until September 20 to complete the run. There is a $25 registration fee, $15 for youths age 11 and younger. Some online registration services may charge a sign-up fee as well, but there are no additional fees if you go to the RMEF events page to enter.
Runners will receive a welcome letter and completion form and then it’s off to the races. Participants may finish their 5K right away but participation medals won’t be available until after August 19.
The $25 sign-up fee covers the cost of the participation medals and postage, which will be about $6 each (less if this event proves popular and the medals can be bought in bulk). The rest of the registration fee is profit for the RMEF to help us achieve our conservation mission.
In future years, once the event is more established with a base of participants, we plan to allow runners to get sponsorships and cash donations to further support fundraising through this event. There could even be individual and team prizes for reaching pre-established fundraising goals.
Why it works
We set realistic expectations when planning the event. Since this is the first year, we are optimistically hoping for 200 participants. But since it’s a virtual event we can scale it to fit however many people sign up during the registration period.
There’s already an enormous community of avid runners, walkers and hikers out there. All we have to do is inspire them to do some good for wildlife at the same time they’re doing some good for their health.
Whether you decide to host a golf or bowling tournament, a youth event, a ladies night out, or a local fishing derby, by tapping into popular pastimes as a basis for your own unique second event, you can use your knowledge, background, and interests to put together a fun event for the RMEF that introduces new people to our organization in new ways.
Build a first-place second event
A second event is any RMEF fundraising event other than a banquet—and it can turn into anything you can imagine. The sky really is the limit as to how creative you make it.
Following a few simple guidelines can help you create a second event that will get people excited. When planning an event, keep in mind three things:
1. If you love it, they’ll love it. Create an event around something you’re personally interested in or find an expert for what you’d like to do and get as much help and advice as you can from them.
2. Don’t break the bank. Set realistic goals and budgets. Nothing is more disheartening than working really hard on a new event and then not getting the response you were hoping for, or, worse yet, losing money because you set your expectations too high.
3. Don’t give up. The RMEF didn’t become one of the top wildlife conservation organizations overnight. It has taken a lot of time and determination from some outstanding volunteers and staff members to build it into what it is today. With time, effort and dedication, your second event will become a success, too.