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Some Unsolicited Cause Marketing Advice to a Growing Race Series

Run Like a Mother is women’s-only 5K race that takes place on Mother’s Day in 12 cities across the United States. It sounds like a cause, but it’s not. Instead, each of the dozen races benefit their own causes. However, a couple of small cause marketing twists would give the race a huge advantage over its countless competitors.

Run Like a Mother (RLM) was founded by mother-of-three and fitness trainer Megan Searfoss. Megan started the race in Ridgefield, Connecticut in 2008 and, with the sponsorship of Redbook Magazine (see at the Redbook ad left), has expanded to 12 cities in 2012. The race has a kids’ component and a party after the race.

“The mission of Run Like a Mother,” the website says, “is to fuel a woman’s journey toward health and wellness. Empower with education and training programs. Inspire with communities, events and races. Enable through programs and partnerships.”

It strikes me as a fun race and a cool idea.

But I’d suggest that they make a couple of changes that would serve as additional motivation for the participants.

First, instead of dictating the benefiting cause RLM ought to let the women choose for themselves the cause they want to benefit from their race. RLM will get more buy-in that way. If that’s unworkable they ought to create a menu of perhaps 10 charities for participants to choose from, instead of just the one.

Second, RLM ought to offer prizes to mothers in certain categories. Only instead of giving prize money to the mother, give it to the cause that she has chosen. This is a 5k race after all, about 3.1 miles. It’s a ‘gateway’ race. A starting point meant to “fuel a woman’s journey to health and wellness.”

A few of the participants, like Searfoss herself, will be very fit. But many will not be. So RLM would be smart to make one of the motivations of the race about the causes that move them.

You could do the usual time and age categories. But why not also have ‘biggest family’ category, craziest costume, mother with the youngest (or oldest) child, biggest weight loss since the start of training, etc. If you had 10 categories per race and offered one $500 prize per category that would come to $5,000, which isn’t very expensive. But a $500 donation coming to a cause from a single person is actually a large and meaningful amount. An amount that likely would motivate someone to train and prepare for the race.

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