Running Events

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

4 Sep, 2019

By: Shane Facteau

Sports Destination Management: How long has the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series been around?
Shane Facteau: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series has been in existence since 1998.

SDM: How has it changed/evolved in that time?
Facteau: The largest change has been in the internationalization of the brand. We presently have more than 30 events across nine countries. We expect this to continue in the coming years as there is great interest around the globe for the brand. Additionally, we are always evaluating the brand and the elements that make up the events. It all starts with three core pillars — Running, Music and Community — and within those there are a number of opportunities to innovate and create the best experience for our participants.

SDM: How many different types of events are offered?
Facteau: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series offers a distance for everyone, regardless of abilities. Throughout the schedule, events could include distances of one mile, 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon and a relay. At select events, we have KIDS ROCK events for kids.

SDM: Is there any specific demographic for the race (women, men, certain ages, etc.?)
Facteau: There is definitely a mix of gender and ages. More specifically, our events in North America see about 60 percent female, 40 percent male participation with the average age of 38 years old.

SDM: Do people tend to travel for these races, or do they generally find races close to home?
Facteau: Our events are really a mix of local participants and those that travel. We have events that are much more local but are seeing athletes travel from further distances to participate in our events than ever before. On average, participants are traveling from over 400 miles away to participate in a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event. For example, our marquee event, the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon is the biggest night race in the world and attracts approximately 40,000 runners each year from all 50 states and more than 80 countries, regions and territories.

SDM: If runners travel, do you think they tend to make a weekend or a mini vacation of it?
Facteau: Nearly 65 percent of our athletes stay on average three or more nights and 83 percent of athletes stay at least two nights.

SDM: What qualifications are you looking for when you are evaluating a city as a potential host?
Facteau: There are various factors that we consider when we are evaluating a potential host city to make sure we provide memorable experiences for our participants. To highlight a few, here are some of most important factors: host communities that 1) have experience in hosting larger events, 2) communities that have excellent support from the local CVB or sports commission, 3) communities that are easily accessible via car or via air travel, 4) communities that have enough local lodging to house our athletes and supporters during the event, 5) vibrant downtown areas or central community areas, 6) access to courses that have good road conditions and scenic routes to provide our participants a memorable experience and 7) weather conditions that are favorable for endurance events.

SDM: What is the estimated economic impact of a race in your series?
Facteau: Being a global brand that has events all over the world and a vast variety of cities, the cities we do work with have a total economic impact into the tens of millions of dollars. The total impact varies from event to event however, based upon third party studies, our half marathon-focused events average approximately $14 million. For our marathon-focused events, we see a wide range that begins at approximately $20 million. Based upon capacity of the course and other variable factors, this number can and has been significantly higher in some markets.

SDM: If a city wants to host an event, how should they reach out to you?
Facteau: We would encourage them to reach out to and our operations team will get back in touch with them. SDM

About the Author

Shane Facteau


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