395
11 min 45 sec

Corporate Employee Starts Relay Series, Quits Job to Produce Races Full-Time

A runner decides to create his own relay race, and then a marathon. Three years later he works full-time on producing 5 annual races.
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What It's About

A new side hustle finds itself on the fast track to the finish line.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Organization & Communication
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Kerry attributes the success of their first relay to the format they picked. Instead of the multi-day relay that a lot of races opt for, they decided to make theirs a one-day event. They coined the tagline “one day, one van, one gorgeous relay.” And they emphasized how at the end of the race participants could sleep in their own beds.

They also don’t time the relays. This does two things: it creates a friendlier atmosphere among participants and also keeps the costs down since more organization and infrastructure is needed for official race timings.

Fun Fact

The original Gorgeous Relay had to be canceled in 2017 due to the fire in the Columbia River Gorge. While heartbreaking all around, the reaction of the runners was touching. Instead of being frustrated or upset people just wanted to know how they could help. Entire teams signed over their refund check to Friends of the Columbia Gorge (our beneficiary) to help out.

Notes from Chris

Episode 395

Six years ago avid runner Kerry Loehr was sitting on the beach with a buddy talking about the relay race they had just finished. It hadn’t been a great user experience and Kerry uttered the phrase, “Surely we can do better!”—famous last words!

They talked about it on and off and fantasized about putting on their own race, until one day Kerry was at his day job, at Xerox, in downtown Portland, Oregon. He read about a new section of paved path that was being opened in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. The State Parks and Highway Division were working together to put in a bike path. Kerry thought this was a perfect opportunity to try a race on a new course.

He and his buddy thought that if they could just get 5 teams, they could scope out the course to see if they could put it on for real the following year. So Kerry used MapMyRun to chart out the relay course and then posted the free relay race opportunity to Facebook to get a few teams together to run with them. As an experienced runner with a lot of runner friends, the post quickly circulated and he ended up getting a lot of interest. His hopes of getting 5 teams were quickly surpassed when he had 40 teams express interest. At that point, he realized he needed to shut it down.

The relay was a success! People loved the course and Kerry saw that he had a great route on his hands.

The next year they decided to raise the stakes. They also decided to get all those permits, which was no small task. Because the relay route was 60 miles long it ended up going through 10 different jurisdictions. With that many municipalities involved, Kerry joked that he needed a whole year to just line up the permits. They also gave the race a name based on its beautiful route: they called it the Gorgeous Series.

They used PayPal to collect the $70 per person registration fees, tracked registration manually using a spreadsheet and ended up with around 80 teams. At an approximately 50% profit margin, Kerry and his partner came away with a bit more than $10,000 profit. Not bad for his first official race!

Since then, Kerry has been able to take on this profitable side hustle full-time, and he expects that this is the kind of project with long-distance potential.



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Gorgeous Series: Race on over to Kerry's website to learn more about his gorgeous marathon series!
  • MapMyRun: The platform that Kerry used to chart out the relay course and then posted the free relay race opportunity to Facebook to get a few teams together to run with them
  • PayPal: The online payment platform that Kerry used to accept registration payments

SEE ALSO:


Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Just start—pursue your vision and passion. Don't worry about the naysayers or the end game, just start with the first tasks you know need to happen. People will recognize your passion and reward it, or they won't, but the beautiful thing is you put your whole self into it. In the process, you will learn and grow, no matter the results."
—Kerry Loehr #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau