Rock 'n' Roll Race Series - Behind the Scenes with Kaitlin Heck

Rock 'n' Roll Race Series - Behind the Scenes with Kaitlin Heck


Hey RaceMob Crew! On this week's episode, we talk to Kaitlin Heck - Rock 'n' Roll's Marketing Manager for the West Coast. Many of you know about the incredible events that Rock 'n' Roll puts on across the country - In fact my first marathon was the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas - and the Rock 'n' roll San jose goes by my house every year.

So, how does one end up working for one of the largest race series on the planet? How do large races attract participants year after year? And what does the outlook look like for 2021? Well you'll just have to listen to find out.


Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.

[00:00:00] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah, so I grew up in Phoenix. The place that I bought my shoes from, for my cross country team is our pace team at rock and roll Arizona.

So it's really come full circle where, you know, rock and roll. Arizona was my first event that I ran. Now I'm the marketing manager for this event. So I get to actually be on the, behind the scenes piece of it. And couldn't really ask for more, you know, it really did come full circle.

[00:00:21] Kevin Chang:
Hello and welcome to the RaceMob podcast. This is episode number 80.

I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd. And I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator, the incomparable Bertrand Newson.

Hey there RaceMob crew. On this week's episode, we talked to Caitlin HEC rock and roll's marketing manager for the west coast.

Many of you know about the incredible events that rock and roll puts on across the country. In fact, my first marathon was rock and roll last. And the rock and roll San Jose goes by my house every year.

So how does one end up working for one of the largest race series on the planet? How to large races attract participants year after year? And what does the outlook look like for 2022? Well, you're just going to have to listen to find out!

All the show notes can be found online at RaceMob dot com slash podcast. And without further ado, here's our conversation.

[00:01:17] Bertrand Newson:
Hello, RaceMob family. We are in for a great time this evening. Why we are going to rock and roll as with Caitlin heck with rock and roll. She is a marketing executive focused on the Western region. Welcome, Kaitlin.

[00:01:32] Kaitlin Heck:
Hey guys. Thanks for having

[00:01:33] Kevin Chang:
me. Fantastic. Welcome to the podcast, Kaitlin. So happy to have you obviously, so many of us and our listeners are familiar with rock and roll in general.

So having somebody from the organization talk to us we're we can't tell you how excited we are.

[00:01:49] Kaitlin Heck:
Well, I'm happy to be here. I've been working with Bertrand now for a couple of years and we're ready to get started on a 20, 22 races. Yeah.

[00:01:56] Kevin Chang:
Fantastic. Yeah. talk to us a little bit about how you got into rock and roll, how you got into the sport of athletics.

You know, what interested you in, in working with one of the largest race entities in the world that we know of?

[00:02:11] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. So it actually goes back to my high school days. I come from a family of runners, so I joined our cross-country team in my high school, and after the fall season, junior year, they said, Hey, you know, we want to get the group together and train for a half marathon.

And that half marathon was rock and roll. So that was my first taste at a rock and roll event. I had no idea what to expect. I was packed into a corral with I think, 30,000 other runners, and we crossed that start line. And that was when I knew I needed to work in this industry. So I, I went to school out on the east coast in North Carolina and I started to work for a startup that was also in the endurance space.

They produced some smaller events on the east coast and. Throughout my time there, we had acquired several other events. And at that point, you know, I kind of hit a quarter life crisis. And I said, I want to work for the big dogs. So I applied for a job with the iron man. And two weeks later I had accepted a job and was moving to Tampa where I didn't know anybody, but I knew I wanted to continue this work in this industry.

And since then relocated to San Diego work on our west coast events and could not be happier with the communities that we've been able to work.

[00:03:20] Kevin Chang:
Wow. That's fantastic. And so did you grow up in Arizona area? Why rock'n'roll Arizona? Why was that the first one?

[00:03:27] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah, so I grew up in Phoenix. The place that I bought my shoes from, for my cross country team is our pace team at rock and roll Arizona.

So it's really come full circle where, you know, rock and roll. Arizona was my first event that I ran. Now I'm the marketing manager for this event. So I get to actually be on the, behind the scenes piece of it. And couldn't really ask for more, you know, it really did come full circle.

[00:03:50] Kevin Chang:
And that Arizona event, that must be in the winter time, because I can't imagine having a summertime run and I've been to Phoenix a time or two, and every time it's like over a hundred degrees.

[00:04:01] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah, no, if you look at the racing schedule in Phoenix, I think everybody packs in their schedule between November and February after that got a run before 5:00

[00:04:11] Kevin Chang:
AM. That's fantastic. That's fantastic. Oh Coach.

[00:04:17] Bertrand Newson:
And we understand that you, as much as you love running that you're also a triathlete, right?

[00:04:23] Kaitlin Heck:
So I'm really spoiler alert there. Yes, I did. My first 70.3 last fall. I also did that in Arizona. I felt like since I did my first half marathon there, I needed to do my first half iron man there. So I trained for that. Actually a pretty short amount of time. Cause you know, events were kind of up in the air last year and 70.3 Arizona was one of our events that we were able to thankfully produce.

And so since you know, I had been working on the iron man side of things. I finally got to see the athletes side of what an iron man event looked like and competed in. And I will be doing my second 70.3 in Oceanside next April.

[00:05:02] Kevin Chang:
That's incredible. How did you start training the swim and the bike portion?

That's usually the hardest part for people to get.

[00:05:09] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. So thankfully I had the running under my belt, but I actually also had the swimming under my belt as well. I grew up swimming before I switched to running. So I, at least that was kind of like a second nature for me, which was really nice. It's still a little bit different doing open water and getting familiar with that.

Thankfully, as you guys know, living in California, we have access to a lot of water. So I was able to kind of hop in the ocean and go, go practice the swimming there, and then started picking up biking along the Pacific coast highway and did a couple of long rides before I really hit it big in Arizona.

[00:05:44] Kevin Chang:
Yeah, the swimming, swimming part. I tried doing triathlete triathlon. Well, not really. I tried training with the triathlon club around here and swimming. Crushing me every single time I got in the pool. So that's great having that under your belt and congratulations on your, on your first half marathon and, and going for your second, this incredible.

[00:06:03] Kaitlin Heck:
Thank you. Yeah. I have a lot of respect for triathletes after that. It's incredible to see. Not only they do, they do one sport, but they do all three and they do it well.

[00:06:12] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. Yeah. That's incredible.

[00:06:15] Bertrand Newson:
And do you see yourself as the 140.6 distance at some point?

[00:06:19] Kaitlin Heck:
I think I might have to get a few more 70.3 is under my belt.

I went to our Ironman Arizona event this past November, and I felt very inspired while I was there. And then, you know, it hits midnight and I'm like, wow, these people are still crossing the finish line. So I think it's in my future at some point. Not sure if it's 20, 22, but definitely my future.

[00:06:40] Kevin Chang:
Talk to us a little bit about, I guess, getting into the race industry, kind of you mentioned that you had done some internships while you were in North Carolina.

What were you studying? What did you graduate in? What was your major? And then, I mean, I guess what are kind of the first things that you need to pick up going into a job?

What are the first things that you're learning and learning?

[00:07:00] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. So I, first of all, I attended the university of North Carolina Wilmington and I loved my experience there. I was very involved when I was on campus. So I, you know, was involved in our student ambassador programs. I worked for our campus recreation, so I really tried to figure out how can I combine my passions and where my strengths were with the marketing degree that I was pursuing at the time.

And then I think the biggest thing for me, With just relationships and reach out. And so, you know, one of my aunts, she lived in the Raleigh area. She was a big runner at the time involved in some of the run clubs there. And she mentioned, you know, a couple of names of different race organizations. And I just kind of started doing my outreach and I was like, Hey, you know, I'm going to be fresh out of college.

I'll take anything pretty much at this point. Like I just want to get my foot in the door. And I think we've all been in that position. We're willing to be like, I just want to learn. And so I stumbled upon, you know, the company that I worked for in Raleigh and they were fantastic. It was a group of about nine or 10 of us, very small.

And because of that, yes, I was marketing when I, when I started there. But when I was on a race weekend, I was customer service. I was slinging cones. I was, you know, checking to make sure nobody was in the port-a-potty left out on course. So you really got to do it all and, and wear a million different hats.

And I think that was, that was the biggest thing for me. It was just saying. Go find that small company that really needs that extra set of hands, figure out what you can learn, where you can grow. And because of that, I knew I wanted to continue on the marketing path in this industry. And that's ultimately how I ended up in iron man was just building all of that experience up
until that point.

[00:08:29] Kevin Chang:
That's incredible talk. I talked to us a little bit about, you know, marketing for small events. We've had a number of race directors that have, you know, small to medium sized events and they're trying to grow their audience. They're trying to grow their user base. What are some of the tactics, what are some of the things that you've learned, or what are some of the things maybe that you do at rock and roll that you do differently or, or that you think a big organization does differently than this?

[00:08:52] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah, I think, especially for the smaller events and you guys probably know this too, the biggest thing is relationships. So it's, it's the relationships with the city is it's the relationships with the run clubs and it's building that foundation. And when you have the support of the communities, it makes the growth just come from an organic standpoint.

So for us, you know, any kind of relationships we have with these run clubs, you get the run clubs supporting you, and they're the ones that are working with the runners in market or the potential new runners and market. And when they see the excitement and the energy that our run clubs are bringing to the start line, that's really, what's going to motivate and continue these events to grow.

So I think it's just really, you know, how, how can you be more well connected in your markets? And then additionally, like how it's not just race day, right. You know, this is 365 days, 24 7. You're constantly thinking about how can I make my event better? Who can I talk to? How do we, you know, continue to grow these events

[00:09:44] Bertrand Newson:
And from a marketing perspective, Kaitlin, what has been some of the biggest challenges coming out of the pandemic.

And we know you guys did a great job in promoting virtual events and keeping people active and involved and connected socially throughout the pandemic in 2020, but as life race had started a up. In 2021. What have you seen? Just in kind of winning the confidence back of the public, still trying to get over that social anxiety and being around crowds, and then how do you see 20, 22 shaping up?

[00:10:16] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah, I think the biggest challenge truthfully is just kind of the unknown, you know, we can continue to plan for these events. We can continue to execute on those plans, but really it's the unknown. You never know, you know, if the environment's going to change today or tomorrow.

So for us, you know, it's, it's really just staying in touch with those host communities and making sure that we're keeping our participants safe, our volunteers safe, but most importantly, our host community is safe.

So I think that's kind of been, you know, definitely one of the largest challenge, but as we go into 2022 we're hopefully dealing with less and less of those, especially, you know, domestically here in the. I think, you know, for runners, it's kind of figuring out how do we communicate to them, to, you know, what those new safety protocols are.

And again, that varies by market to market. But just making sure that we're having that open conversation, our participants know what that expectation is upfront. And again, the safety is, is truly the utmost important in all of these situations.

[00:11:09] Bertrand Newson:
Being in marketing. What is it that, I mean, Kevin and I, and we've, we've run multiple rock and roll events. But from your perspective, how are you articulating to the potential newbies first-timers like maybe during the pandemic got exposed to hiking, walking local trails and parks and tracks and getting out from a family standpoint, enticing those individuals to, you know, try out a rock and roll.

And why is. Race experience different from other.

[00:11:37] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. So I think there's a couple different things with that. You know, if they're looking, if they're actively looking for an event for us, it's, it's putting out the content that shows, what does that experience going to look like? What is it going to look like when I show up on race day?

What is the comradery? Where is the support I'm going to have on course? You know, besides the content marketing, a lot of it is again, coming down to those connections. So how do we make sure that. You know, working with our run clubs in market, that they have the support and resources. They need to be able to bring in those new runners and nurture them to the point where they feel comfortable to go race a 5k or 10 K.

And then the other piece of that is a lot of, you know, our races went virtual last year and we developed a virtual platform. One of them being the rock and roll of virtual running club.

So, you know, being able to integrate with runners who maybe felt comfortable with starting with a one mile or two mile, or just kind of seeing what those weekend virtual races looked like, and then encouraging them to do that on a live start line.

And as you said, you know, a lot of them stayed connected in these online communities and had the support and support from people who lived all the way across the country from. And now they're planning to do racist together at one of our live events.

So, you know, as somebody who worked through the virtual side of it and now is back on the live event side of it, that's been one of the coolest things is just watching these relationships develop from, from runners, who didn't even know each other beforehand and now are planning on doing these live events together.

[00:12:55] Kevin Chang:
I don't think there's anything like the real thing, right? Those, those live events standing shoulder to shoulder with somebody else. You know, we've all lived through the, the virtual events and having things online, but actually being there in person, I think yeah, there's something to be said about that. That's incredible.

Talk to us a little bit about, I guess, the day-to-day, you know cause I'm, I'm curious, I know that a lot of it is relationship building or understanding of the communities or who's out there.

But, you know, I, my understanding is when you get to a larger organization, bigger organization, and you're starting to do like budgeting for online marketing or Facebook ads or Google ads or other things, what, what are some of the like day to day things that you may be responsible for or some of the things that you know, you're taking a look at as a, as a marketing manager.

[00:13:37] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. You know, as I said, I started for a small startup and there's a lot of times even working at a big company, it feels like we're in that startup phase still. And it's, and I don't mean that in like a negative way by any means, the way that, I mean is it's, it's fun.

You get to still wear a lot of different hats. And in our industry, everybody gets to try a little bit of everything. So yes, I'm the marketing person, but I get to work with each of our marketing channels. We do have a headquarters in Tampa. You know, we do have people who are working on the email marketing side or organic social, but as somebody who is focused on these events, I really get to help tell the story.

So I have the support from all of these other resources within, you know, our company, whether it's operationally or market. But I, I luckily get to be the fun part where I get to be the brand voice. And I get to tell the story of each of these events and the history of each of these meds and think through, you know, knowing each market and how it's changing or growing what we can do to continue to grow those events and tell that story in a more amplified voice.

So the day to day, honestly, it changed. It changes so much. And I'm sure for you guys, it's the same. It's the same thing. It's like people ask me what I do. I'm like, I don't know how to explain this from a nine to five, you know, perspective. I am the one working through some media strategy. I'm the one working with our run clubs at grassroots events.

I still get to help out with customer service on race weekend or drive the press truck, or, you know, it's every day is something different. I truthfully, couldn't tell you exactly what I do. So while we get there and we make these events happen and it's, it's just incredible to see, you know, 364 days of work come together for one, you know, large race week.

[00:15:13] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. Well, talk to us about rock and roll San Jose then. I mean, I'd love to understand a little bit more and especially, you know, during the pandemic, the go no-go decision and some of the behind the scenes, how do you make some of those decisions? How do you ensure that, Hey, is this a race that we still want to put on year after year and then started telling that story and then started, you know, actually getting people to sign up.

And, and so, I mean, I guess talk to us in regards to that, that particular race, and I know that there's several. Even here in the, in the area and here on the way.

[00:15:44] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah, so rock and roll running series started back in 1998. So it's been around for quite some time over 20 years now, rock and roll. San Jose came about in 2006.

So Roger Craig, who was a three time Superbowl champion, as you guys probably know California, he picked up running. And one of the first events that he ran actually was rock and roll San Diego. He loved it, ran roll Arizona, and then said, you know what? I have to have this in the bay area. So he was the one who hosted the 2006 event.

And since then, you know, we've loved San Jose. San Jose has been incredibly supportive for us. You know, been through this past year, it was actually our 15th year running. So we really just celebrated an anniversary. We still have several legacy runners who have been running with us since the
first event.

So, you know, we're proud to be in this community. And the big thing that comes about it is the community. You know, that's, that's how we keep, keep alive in these communities. And we keep running with them is we had just have incredible support from the communities, whether it's volunteers, the cities, the runners themselves.

So we're happy to be here. And, you know, there's a lot of history with this event. We, the inaugural year that both California half-marathon records were broken. We've had incredible elite fields before with Meg Ryan Hall, Dina cast store. So. It's definitely ran its own history and we're excited to continue to run in this market.

[00:17:06] Kevin Chang:
If you like our podcast and sign up for our newsletter, where we give you weekly tips on how to run your best race and have fun in the process. Just go to RaceMob dot com and sign up today.

[00:17:19] Bertrand Newson:
Wasn't there a point Caitlin where this particular event had, it was the fastest half marathon course in the United States for several years on average.

[00:17:29] Kaitlin Heck:
Yes. Yes. It's changed slightly since then, but yes, that was one piece of its history as well was having the fastest half marathon course. So proud of it.

[00:17:38] Bertrand Newson:
And how can we best support the rock and roll series moving forward? What does the ask that you have of, of local run clubs and smaller media outlets? Like.

[00:17:49] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. You know, for me, it's, it's really just the keep doing what you're doing. So keep encouraging people to start running and picking that up and trying a new distance, setting those goals, reaching for that next distance level.

You know, I've, as you guys can't run an event, you know, can you volunteer at an event? Can you continue to support other local events? You know, we can't do this without the other local events as well. And so it's important for us to build a running community between. As well as all the other, you know, run clubs and recent cities in market.

But really, it just comes down to encouraging the runners to get out there. And, you know, you guys are the ones that bring the energy to the start line and that's the experience that our new runners are going to remember. And that's what they're going to come back with is. Hey, we saw two legit fitness out there.

They were the most professional Pacers we've ever had and that's, what's going to make their experience and they're gonna want to come back and do it again. So we're, we're super appreciative of, of all the run clubs and again, local race entities that have supported us throughout the last 15 years.

[00:18:45] Kevin Chang:
Yeah, that's incredible. And, and I know, you know, it's so funny because both coach and I, we got our starts in some of these bigger events. You know, I think we both did warrior dash was our first one. My first marathon marathon was the rock and roll in Las Vegas. And so definitely familiar with rock and roll.

I've done rock and roll San Jose, a couple of different times. It actually runs like right by my backyard. And we've had a bunch of these conversations with race directors, especially early on that said, oh, if rock and roll is in town, you know, are they taking a lot of our participants? Are they taking them away?

But they realized at the end of the day that we're. The PI, right. We're growing that industry because you're, you're helping so many people who never thought that they could run a half marathon realize, oh, there's going to be so many people out there so much support. You guys make it a ton of fun. Having those, you know, those bands there on the corners.

You know, it's great for participants is great for everybody to be out there on the courses and you do it so professionally and people know what they're getting when they're signing up for rock and roll events. So, yeah. You know, I have to say, thank you for putting on these events. They really do mean so much to our community and they, every time we've been to one, we find so many people that this is their first event.

The first time that they've run and they're having a blast and they're want to learn, how do I continue this? How do I, you know, how do I get better? How do I, you know, continue the fun. Stay in contact with the people that I've met on race day. And so, yeah, there's just such a tremendous experience. Every time you guys come out out to town and then, you know, we just hope to be able to continue that experience as people, as people get.

[00:20:15] Kaitlin Heck:
Well, thank you. That was incredibly well said. And, you know, as, as a runner myself who started with a rock and roll event and has run several local events, you know, beyond that, it is, it is truly incredible to see how you compare athletics and endurance with a whole experience. You know, again, I grew up doing cross country.

It's great to be able to run a 5k course on a golf course, but when you add bands and beer and a whole experience of a crowd cheering you on, and you're just out there running for a good time. That's it's just uncanny, you know, it's awesome.

[00:20:46] Bertrand Newson:
And that it's such a wonderful family experience. You have generations out there.

You have kids. Parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. And that's one thing when I was first exposed to the event in 2007 I saw people out there running that at the time were probably twice my age. And I realized that, you know what, they're probably in better cardio shape than I am. You know, what is happening here has have they found the fountain of youth and then the friendliness of the running community and that a lot of people here in the south bay, the San Jose rock and roll.

It's the event of the year where they, if they've done it, once they say, okay, I'm going to go ahead and try to beat that 10 K time. I'm going to try and beat that half marathon time. I'll go from two hours and 30 minutes to two hours and 20 minutes or that iconic sub two hour effort that people are training all year long.

And then like you've mentioned, the crowd support is so fantastic. It just makes it an annual tradition. And we can't wait until October 9th, 2020 to. Yes.

[00:21:49] Kaitlin Heck:
Think, you know what you keep mentioning. It's like, these are our mass, you know, endurance events, but really everybody out there has their own individual story.

And it's whether they're running with their dad, they're running for a goal, whatever that may be. It's, it's the fact that we can get, you know, 10, 15, 20,000 runners out at these start lines. But every single person has a different reason for being there. And I think, I think that's what keeps us all going too.

Especially as the staff and the volunteers and the host community.

[00:22:16] Kevin Chang:
Incredible. Incredible. Talk to us about, I guess, what other events are in the area or is there still at the San Francisco rock and roll? Are there other iron mans in the area? What other, I guess are some of the flagship events that you're also responsible?

[00:22:29] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. So I am responsible for our west coast region on the rock and roll side. I have our San Jose event. I've San Diego down in Southern California. We have our Arizona met, which is the greater Phoenix area. We actually just reopened our rock and roll Washington event. So we'll be hosting that.

And then Vegas as well. So that's just our west coast region. We do have quite a few iron man events, also either in the Pacific Northwest or Northern California. Both full iron mans and, you know, 70.3, we have Ironman, California, which will be happening next year in Sacramento. I believe we have one in Santa Cruz as well.

So definitely quite a few events up in the bay area.

[00:23:06] Kevin Chang:
Incredible. And I know that you guys used to have, like these passes where you can sign up for multiple events. Do you still do that? Sign up for multiple rock and rolls. I know a lot of people travel and it's like a tradition that they, they go to all a lot of the rock girls.

[00:23:21] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. There, there are a lot of people who go to every rock and roll and I wish I could have the time to do that. But yes, we do have it. It's called a tour pass. So we have a three-pack and I'm like and this is just kind of a great value option. If you don't really know what your schedule is going to look like, or if you already know which three events you want to do it's set at flat prices.

So again, you buy that three pack and you can honestly sign up race weekend. If you decide you want to run. So gives people the flexibility and options to do it. But we do have quite a few runners who do all races. We have a heavy metal series that a lot of people are constantly chasing to get that next bling or extra meds.

And then, you know, when they do 15, within a year, it, they ended up getting this hall of fame metal and featured all over our website and things like that. So there are, there are quite a few people who do that, and it's very impressive.

[00:24:08] Bertrand Newson:
Real quick question. Do they let's see cause a lot of rock and roll against the offer that 5k 10 K and half some offer the marathon can, if someone is doing multiple cities, do they have to do stick to a certain distance order to get the larger metal?

Or can they do a 5k in one city, 10 K half marathon, but still get all the events.

[00:24:26] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. So for our heavy metals program, which is where you earn blame for each race that you add on per market you do have to do either the half marathon or the marathon distance. So it is the longer distance

[00:24:38] Kevin Chang:
And I know you mentioned the races themselves. Can you tell us kind of dates calendar wise? When they're,
when they're.

[00:24:44] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. So our rock and roll Arizona event is going to be the first one of the new year. That's going to be January 14th and 15th.

So we're excited to start the race season with that. The next one in the Southwest, which is San Diego is going to be the first weekend of June. San Jose, as you guys know is the second weekend of October. We have our Washington event and normally has been in June before, but it'll actually be labor day weekend.

This following. And then the mega event, which Kevin, it sounds like you've already won Las Vegas. Yeah. It's normally has been at a November date, but it's going to be in February this year. So all new date, all new experiences. We're excited to bring it back. It's crazy. It hasn't been back since 2019, but as you guys know, it's been a crazy two years and we've had a lot of time to plan.

So this year it's gonna, we're really gonna bring a big. Yeah.

[00:25:32] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. And does the rock, or sorry, the rock and roll Vegas. Does that still run down the strip or do you guys still shut down the strip to, to run that one? Oh

[00:25:41] Kaitlin Heck:
wow. Las Vegas Boulevard. And you see, we closed down the strip for you and you finished right on the strip at night, which is incredible.

[00:25:50] Bertrand Newson:
Yeah. I mean the marathon still being offered Katelyn or no longer.

[00:25:54] Kaitlin Heck:
Nope. It's just our half marathon, 10 K and five K distances. This.

[00:25:58] Kevin Chang:
Yeah, I'm still, I mean, yeah. I think for the most part, people are doing it for the experience for the, for the you know, when you guys put on such great experiences. So that is fantastic to hear.

Yeah. Yeah.

[00:26:09] Bertrand Newson:
My sisters that are twins signed up. Thank you for sharing the winter promo. They took advantage of that with a family friend that signed up as well. Likely my younger brother will and the 27th of February.

[00:26:23] Kaitlin Heck:
Yes, February 26th, 27th, that weekend.

[00:26:26] Bertrand Newson:
So hopefully make it a family affair. That's the game plan.

[00:26:29] Kaitlin Heck:
That's what, that's what we've always done. You know, when you have a family of runners and some of them are chasing all 50 states, I'm like, all right, where are we? Where are we headed to next?

[00:26:40] Kevin Chang:
Coach. Can you talk to us about, I know leading up to the rock and roll San Jose events, you worked with Caitlin, I'm putting together some training runs and, and some, some runs at Lulu lemon, I think leading up to the events. Can you like talk to us about, like how, how would you help new runners? How do you help new runners train?

And I guess, Caitlin, do you have similar programs anywhere or in in multiple regions on, on the training site?

[00:27:06] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah, I'll let coach Visco first.

[00:27:08] Bertrand Newson:
Yes. Very fortunate. Let's see, going back to 2020 we were going to pace the live event. We were very fortunate to be given the opportunity by the rock.

Executives and our friends with pack Western Dorrance coach Jay Ridgeway, who Shepard this opportunity for more like a decade and a half. So for him to have the trust in to legit fitness, the cool thing is we're right here in San Jose. I mean, all of our Pacers. Here in the south bay, they've been longterm participants.

And then I was very fortunate to meet Caitlin in that process. And when we were given the opportunity to help with the social media in 2020 September. Early October the virtual race weekend got some footage down at Santana, braille and other landmarks throughout the south bay, which is really cool.

And then as we saw there's kind of a month to month leading up to October of this year, is the race going to have. Okay. And we, we are glad that it did. We had a blast, but being able to start some early marketing and grassroots smaller community gatherings opportunities to meet up and showcase some local businesses.

And then people having some Q and a onsite, either pre pre-workout or post-workout on Coach. How do we pace Coach? How do we hydrate code what's or some good nutrition strategies? What's the best way to enter a taper cycle, meaning pull down your mileage. What's a good what are some similar routes for us to train on in preparation for race week?

And so it all came together and the. From race day. I think the 3rd of October was fantastic and we're looking forward to championing those efforts moving forward into 20, 22 and beyond. So and will I get, is it okay to share that Caitlin, that to legit fitness will be the Pacers for the 22 20 22 event?


[00:28:59] Kaitlin Heck:
not too soon where we're more than thrilled. All

[00:29:02] Bertrand Newson:
right. Got it on, on, on the record now officially. Yay.

[00:29:07] Kaitlin Heck:
Woo. Yeah. And just, I mean, just to add onto that, you kind of asked about it being in different markets. That is something that we try to do in most of our markets is, you know, work with the runners locally and figure out, you know, where can we host different runs, different group runs, things like that.

You know, the runners in these markets, they know their cities best. You know, we're happy to produce an event there and show off the best assets of the city, but when it comes down to the training and the train and knowing that. They, they obviously know these events best, and I've honestly got some of my best running routes from working with these runners in these markets and trying them out and being able to see a different side of something.

And, you know, is that something maybe we consider for a future course or, you know, you just never know, but I'm really, these runners know these courses and routes like the back of their hand and very, very helpful on our end.

[00:29:58] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. I mean, I think it's such a tremendous service that you offer because yeah, coach and I always talk about our first races, the mistakes that we make.

You know, and I, I'm sure that you've heard a lot of a lot of stories of people, you know, obviously going out too fast or, you know, missing, missing a hydration station or, you know, this or that. Just having somebody who's been there, done that before. Leading up to race day, I think that's tremendously helpful.

And then just having a friendly face. I think that's always, you know, one of those things that I think my first rock and roll, of course I had, you know, a sister was out there and, and my now wife was out there cheering me on. But I didn't have a friendly face on the race course or people to, to help pull me along when things were getting tough.

And so, you know, meeting some people leading up to the race events knowing that they're going to be there alongside you, I think that's always tremendously beneficial and invaluable. So that's great that you guys put.

[00:30:47] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. And I think one of my favorite things too, is a lot of times people will put their name on their bibs.

So there'll be running through the crowds and you're like, did I invite that person right now? I think it just goes back to that community aspect where, you know, our, our spectators, they don't get enough credit. They're incredible. They keep our runners moving. And a lot of times they're lined all throughout those 13 miles of the course.

So yes, kudos to everyone who's out there cheering everyone.

[00:31:13] Kevin Chang:
Is awesome. That's awesome. Katelyn, do you have any favorite stories? Do you have anything any behind the scenes that we may not know about as runners kind of on the front end at any of these events,

[00:31:24] Kaitlin Heck:
I'm trying to think. I mean, honestly, every event has just like a different, somebody has a different story there.

One of my favorites at rock and roll Arizona is this guy shows up and, you know, OCDEL banana outfit. And I was like, first of all, I was like, where do you order that? Is that on Amazon? That might be my Halloween costume, but second of all, then you're like, well, what's your story? Why are you doing this?

And so he was out there trying to. One break a Guinness world record for being the fastest banana. Didn't know that was a world record for everything, but two it's, it started off because, you know, he had previously been running with his dad and his dad was there that day, supporting him to. They had been running several other events to raise money for his cancer awareness.

And his dad had been going through treatment. And this was the first event that his dad was going to be back out on course with him. You know, after his cancer treatment had concluded and he was healthy again. So he was out there supporting his son and his banana endeavors and it was quite bananas, but it made for an incredible story.

And that's something you, you don't forget. And so I feel like at every event we go to, there's always some kind of story. You know, there's a lot of feel, good stories. There's the ones I'm like, what are you doing? But you're here, you know, lots of world records and Guinness world records that try to be broken, but always, always the story.

[00:32:39] Bertrand Newson:
Do we have any new locations in 20, 22 or potentials in, in.

[00:32:46] Kaitlin Heck:
So I think there's always potentials, right? We're always looking at new cities and seeing where we can go, but I'm in terms of new for next year. So we have to, they were actually supposed to happen in 2020.

Obviously you guys know the year that 2020 was. But we are excited to be back in Atlantic city and Clearwater, and those will both be inaugural events this year. So both on the. Super exciting, but new locations for us. And then hopefully, you know, as we look into 2023, we'll continue
to hopefully expand.

[00:33:13] Bertrand Newson:
Yes. What a small world. One of our RaceMob members, Samuel Pappas, who let's see 150 plus pounds. Military veteran two hip replacements completed his very first half marathon two weekends ago. I share with them yesterday because of the winter cell of the Clearwater event. So he signed it up yesterday and is running in late September, I believe. Right.

[00:33:36] Kaitlin Heck:
I believe it's the first weekend of October, but yes, around the same timeframe. And if somebody who lived in Tampa for a year, that's a great time to run. So I might even be looking at that one myself. Yeah. We'll see.

[00:33:49] Kevin Chang:
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. Kaitlin, we've really had a blast.

Where can people learn more about rock and roll events? And where can they find you?

[00:33:59] Kaitlin Heck:
Yeah. So in terms of rock and roll, run, rock and roll.com, we'll have all the information. You can also follow us on Facebook. And then my name is Kaitlin. Heck so feel free to, to reach out. I'm happy to talk to you all about running and rock and roll and, and all the things I love connecting with fellow runners and as a runner and triathlete myself.

It's, it's fun to kind of be on the, behind the scenes, but also I'm hoping to get back out there and do a little bit more myself.

[00:34:24] Kevin Chang:
Awesome. Incredible. Thank you so much, Katelyn. Really, really appreciate this conversation. I'm sure we'll we're going to have tons more.

[00:34:31] Kaitlin Heck:
Yes. Thank you guys for having me.

[00:34:34] Kevin Chang:
Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at RaceMob dot com. Please subscribe to us on apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time.

Keep on moving.