Friday, December 5, 2008

Moorestown Turkey Trot

The Moorestown Turkey Trot was a great success this year. We had about 150 people participate in the One Mile Fun Run/Walk. We had about 650 participate in the 5K. We raised nearly $7,000 to be used for the Moorestown Distance Running Club, which supports the high school cross country teams, the new middle school program and the building of the new Cross Country Trail we ran on. There are some pictures on the website, and hopefully some of the other photographers that were there will drop off a CD with their photos at the store so I can put them up as well.

We started this 5 years ago as a fund raiser and a low key event that would be a fun way to connect with others on Thanksgiving morning. It was designed to not be a competitive race since we do not do official timing. The event has grown quite a bit over the past several years – I thought we had kind of peaked last year with about 450 people, but it seems to keep growing, which is great.

We did a survey of people who attended this year and have gotten over 100 responses. You can see the results here.

At a high level, it looks like we are doing pretty well – with 65% being “Very Satisfied” and only 5% being “Neutral” of “Somewhat Dissatisfied”. Lots of nice comments like “Great Family event-something for everyone”, “The food was amazing and it is great to see the trot grow through the years”, “It is a nice small "home town" race”, etc.

I think most of the suggestions are related to the fact that we did not expect this much growth (we ran out of water, we did not have port-a-potties, etc.). We will fix those things next year. I thought it might be good to address some of the most common suggestions below:

Timing: We started with the premise that this is community event and a “Trot”, not something like an official USATF certified race – there are plenty of those. We wanted to keep the cost low, yet still be able to raise some money. Our assumption is that most people who really want to be timed run with a watch. To supplement this, we have the Stadium Scoreboard clock. We designed the race to finish so runners could see the scoreboard clock as they finished and people who are watching could see it. Finally, we have the low cost way of timing – we hand out place cards and have a simple timing device that prints off the place and time. We hang that on the wall of the concession stand afterwards to allow people to check their time.

All that said, we have several ways we will improve things next year. First, we will have more volunteers at the finish line, along with a real chute to make sure everyone gets a card. Second, we will scan the results and put them up on the website and post the originals on the window of the Moorestown Running Company. Third, we will update the brochure and website to be clearer that this is a Trot and to set expectations on timing better.

Crowds: Having 600+ runners on a cross country course is a LOT. I think we can handle this size crowd for a Trot, but growing too much more may force some changes. There are several things we plan to do this summer to help ease the several problem spots though. First, the start could be done so it has a longer straightaway for the crowd to thin out more. Second, we have plans to try to improve the spot around the corner of the tennis court and build that out a bit more, as well as put a little bridge over the stream to get behind the stadium. Third, we are looking at making a second trail in the woods after the mile and just before coming onto the grass behind the tennis courts. This would prevent people from running into each other there. If you are interested in helping, please let me know.

Logistics: Only two real complaints here. We needed more than 700 bottles of drinks (we thought we might have like 600 people rather than the 800 that showed). We also need to add some port-a-potties.

T-Shirt & Prizes: We want to continue to keep the cost low, so we are not going to give a T-Shirt, but will sell one next year with our famous little Turkey on it. As for prizes, it sounds like people have a preference for the finger puppets over the bracelets.

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