Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to Write a Great Race Report | 3 Years of Feedback

I race a lot.

I write a lot of race reports, also. LINK

Why?  They are the journal of my experiences.  I print each race report and put them in a binder for safe keeping.  They are also a part of my son's childhood.  They often travel with me or even race with me.  This is their memories, also.

That was my original intent with race reports.  Little did I know, I would develop a following, because of my race reports on my blog.  As of today, I receive over 100K unique visitors to my blog, per month.  Never in my wildest dreams did I pursue or think my little online journal would receive the attention it does.  To all my readers, thank from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be a part of your online life!

Over the past 3 years, I have had many people chat with me at races about what I wrote about a race.  In those 3 years, people are very candid on what they did and didn't like. That is valuable to me. I want to write a race report for myself and own memory, but also to educate and inspire others.

Based on those conversations I have had with many racers - here are the key elements that make a great race report. A report, that people will want to read and come back to read more.

1.  Be humble. There is a fine line between sharing your accomplishments and looking over-bearing and "look at me, I am wonderful!".  Your race report is not a college-funded research paper.  Don't bore people to tears.

2.  Talk about other people at the race - A LOT. Even if you had a chance meeting with someone in a corral.  Mention them by name in your blog.  Acknowledge those who were a part of your race experience, as much as you can.   When the blog is up, send them the link.  Everyone loves to see their name in print and they will be very appreciative you acknowledged them in your report.  Did you hang out with someone at a race?  Acknowledge them.  How would you feel if you spent the entire day with someone and they ignored you in their race report?  I have seen many of bloggers make this mistake and it is a death sentence to any race report blogger. Talk about the other people!  I can't say that enough. If you meet other racers and they have a business FB page, a blog, twitter handle or other website - hyper link.   Every race I have run in the past 3 years - someone has come up to me and mentioned one of my race reports and how I mentioned them or a friend of theirs. It's amazing the fun conversations that take place in corrals!

3.  Thank people.  Be gracious in your report.  You did not get there alone.  You could thank your Coach.  You could thank the person standing next to you at the Start.  You could thank the wonderful volunteers on the course. You could thank the RD.  Be gracious and show your appreciation of others in your race experience. You can never thank other people enough.

HINT:  Be sincere. Don't thank people, just for the sake of thanking people. Your fellow runners will see right through it.  If you don't think you have anyone to thank, think again. I challenge you to have a great race experience without a friend, company or RD. 

ANOTHER HINT:  Don't use your blog to gain attention of a potential sponsor.  That also is very transparent.  You gain sponsorships by building a relationship, that takes time. 

4. Show pictures of places and things at the race, that don't have you in the picture.  Readers want to see Corrals, tents, views, buildings, etc.

5. Know your audience.   Not everyone is going to be impressed with you a blog full of pictures of you drinking at beer garden. 

6. Congratulate other runners.  You will know someone who finished, PR'd or just showed up.  Use your blog to congratulate them. Even show their picture (even if you are not in the picture)

7.  Be funny, quirky and joyful.   If the race was that bad - offer a solution to the RD and then forward your blog to the RD. I have written one scathing race report in my 3 years, I hope to never have to write another one, again.

8.  Be quick, but not too quick.  Think of more to add. What did you wear? What did you eat?  Use your blog to educate people about your racing routine.

9.  Don't make excuses for a poor race performance.  It's your race, own it.  No one likes a whiner on every race report.  "Oh my knee hurt"..."My ankle twisted"...."I had a headache"..."I had a bad cold".  If every race you post has something wrong with's like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. 

10.  Remember, your race report is your chance to share and applaud your accomplishments, but if you want others to follow you or even read your article...take it back a few notches, write with joy, include others by names (and links) and have fun!

Enjoy writing your race reports!

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-13
Run F.A.B. & Boston Strong,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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*SuperHero Events Ambassador 2013-14
*San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2012-13
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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