Around the Crown 10k - Inclusion and Sustainability with Brian Mister

Around the Crown 10k - Inclusion and Sustainability with Brian Mister


In this episode of the RaceMob podcast, we talked to Brian Mister, creator, founder, and race director for the Around the Crown 10k, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sometimes during a conversation, you build this immediate kinship and connection. Well, this is certainly one of those chats.

Brian is a fixture of the Charlotte running community. During this conversation, you're going to learn how he started and built one of the largest races in North Carolina in his late twenties, overcoming some major obstacles along the way.

You're going to learn about all the grassroot initiatives that he started inspiring and building up the running community and fostering diversity at his race.

You're also gonna learn about the thoughtfulness. They've put behind their sustainability initiatives and helping other races across the country be more mindful of the ways that we can help the environment.

This was an incredibly fun conversation and listeners can enjoy $5 off the Around the Crown 10k, and we're also going to be holding a members only raffle. So check out the show notes online at RaceMob.com/podcast.



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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.

Brian Mister: Pace, cultural differences, gender. Pieces like that, and it just kind of speaks true to our mission as well of, of really wanting, running to be as inclusive as we've always said it is. And it's I think things have come to light since Ahmaud Arbery and other injustices in 2020 and beyond that, it's not as inclusive as we thought.

Kevin Chang: Hey crew. On this episode of the RaceMob podcast, we talked to Brian, Mister creator, founder, and race director for the round, the crown 10 K in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sometimes during conversation, you build this immediate kinship and connection. Well, this is certainly one of those chats. Bryant is a fixture of the Charlotte running community. And during this conversation, you're going to learn how he started and built one of the largest races in North Carolina in his late twenties, overcoming some major obstacles along the way.

You're going to learn about all the grassroot initiatives that he started inspiring and building up the running community and fostering diversity at his race.

You're also gonna learn about the thoughtfulness. They've put behind their sustainability initiatives

and helping other races across the country, being more mindful about the ways that we can help the environment.

This was an incredibly fun conversation and listeners can enjoy $5 off the, around the crown 10 K, and we're also going to be holding a members only raffle . So check out the show notes online at RaceMob dot com slash podcast.

And without further ado, here's our conversation.

Right on, Hey, RaceMob crew! Today we're so excited to welcome Brian Mister from the Around the Crown 10 K out in Charlotte, North Carolina, to the RaceMob podcast.

Welcome to the podcast, Brian.

Brian Mister: Howdi, Gentlemen, thank you for having me today. I really appreciate it.

Bertrand Newson: Pleasure having you.

Kevin Chang: Fantastic. Yeah, yeah. Pleasure having you. And I know that we kind of got connected through Mindy who talked up about uh, your race to me um, about the sustainability initiatives about the race itself, and really, you know, our goal for this year is to work with more race directors, work with more races, really take advantage of the live aspects of racing this year.

So wanted to talk to you about how you guys got it started. You know what was the impetus for the, around the crown 10 K.

Brian Mister: Yeah, so our race Around the Crown 10 K here in Charlotte, North Carolina, we started uh, working on this back in like 2017, 2018, and then got all of the permits and had our first race in 2019.

we worked on it for quite a bit before because our race is a little different in that it it shuts down I 2 77, which is the major inner beltway here in Charlotte. Yeah. So it's, it's it's big.

And really the only other time this thing gets shut down is when like the president's in town and for security purposes, they're shutting it down.

So, so to go through this, we, we got quite a bit of laughter and nose, especially honestly, like from a age standpoint, I had a lot of people pretty much asking me, like, how is this at that time older, 20 year old, gonna, you know, be able to make this happen. They they're asking questions about legitimacy and where's the money gonna come from and sponsorship.

And it was, it was interesting to say the least didn't expect that kickback. I had, I had been in the race directing world through, us national whitewater center, which is a, a big trail facility out here with whitewater paddling and climbing and all this stuff. And then the Charlotte marathon and kind of knew my, my way around the space in the industry.

So it honestly was somewhat of a fun challenge at that point of like, all right, cool. Like I get to prove these guys and girls that I can, I can do something here.

And so yeah, got the permits in place announced everything in gosh, what was that? February of 19 and that our first race of labor day weekend September of 2019.

And it was awesome first year and it hit some goals that we expected between my wife and I we're the owners and founders and only employees. And uh, we were like, cool, like this thing's gonna grow the way we expect.

We did some research through running platforms, like, like run, signup and race, roster and Haku and all the kind of big names. And a lot of 'em have a ton of data on their sites that they'll share of like their year end reports on what the industry is doing.

So through that we found the 10 K was the fastest growing distance. And it also has the highest retention. So it may not be, it may not have the most right now, but the growth is massive and the retention, which is even bigger, meaning like we'll, we'll see probably a 15 to 20, maybe even 25% retention rate of these people coming back to run our race again, whereas a 5k might have a 4% retention rate. So it's, I felt like it was needed in the area.

So the first year rate about 5,000 runners which was awesome. And yeah. Oh man. It was fun. It was a blast. It It's what our goal was, but it was just this like random number. We're like, eh, let's pick this one.

This sounds good. And um, we were able to hit that goal in the first year, which was a blast. So we quickly became north Carolina's largest 10 K and almost north Carolina's largest running race. Because again, there's just not a massive running race here in, in North Carolina. You have Charlotte marathon is pretty big and they're right around that same number.

The crispy cream challenge. Do you, have you guys heard of that before?

Um, Coach, if you haven't heard of it, it's a, it's a, it is a 10 K challenge. So it's a 5k run to a crispy cream. You eat a dozen donuts and you have to run

Bertrand Newson: Carb up, baby! Carb up !

Yes. Yeah,

Brian Mister: Gosh.


Bertrand Newson: mm-hmm

Brian Mister: it's pretty much, it's a, it's a race of throwing up If, Can you get back to the finish line without throwing up?

So because of the randomness of that, that one was pretty big here in North Carolina. And then you have like the Turkey trots and things like that, but there's really not a, a Keystone race for North Carolina or for Charlotte.

And when you look at the metropolitan and the numbers that we have here and the really just the overall running community, it's, it's massive, but there's not a, a, a stronghold for a race here.

So goes back to why we, we just really wanted to, to make something happen.

Bertrand Newson: the Charlotte marathon time of year

Brian Mister: Yeah. so we are labor day weekend. So that first Sunday, so we actually have Sunday race, which I'm not sure if it's like this in California, but we're in the Bible belt here.

So for a long time, Sunday races, we're kind of uh, frowned upon. And it's, it's definitely changed. And, and we work with the churches here. of the, sorry to kind of go on a tangent here, coach, but the, of the things we learned, like with Peachtree who's now they've had, this is their 52nd year, I think, or 53rd year. they're always 4th of July. It's not a day of the week. It's always 4th of July. So sometimes they do it on a Sunday and what we found out they do when it's on a Sunday, is they actually work with the churches to not have water stations, but they have holy water stations. So they actually have like priest out on the course, like blessing people with water.

And I

was like, this

Bertrand Newson: I love that really cool.

Brian Mister: you know, good on the church? Yeah.

Yeah. Good on the church for like a marketing opportunity and good on the race, for really like working with the community.

And so we wanted to do something similar. So. One of the things we did in the first year was we one, we reached out to all the churches in, in downtown and said like, Hey, this is what's happening. Let us know how we can help.

And we're thankful that labor day is after the cut of when they switched back to like fall service times. So we didn't really interrupt too much with an early race time, but we also found that quite a few of the churches that were in downtown or uptown Charlotte wanted to put a racing team together and we're like,

Bertrand Newson: super cool.

Brian Mister: then they would hold services on their front lawn afterwards. So you could come sweaty and like people would just run the race and then go back to the front lawn And I was like this. You guys, thank you. This is the best.

Kevin Chang: I mean, talk to me a little bit about you know, how do you get 5,000 runners to your first race?

Brian Mister: I think a lot of it is looking at our race as a, as a business and not just a one day event.

So we're a, we're an evergreen business and we always want. Kind of promote Charlotte being this, this active city and, and almost to what I was saying to a, church. Yeah, sure. You're a church on Sunday, but what are you Monday through Saturday and how can you be better for the community during that time?

So we, we kind of took that approach as well. Not necessarily like the church side of it, more so like, and especially talking to sponsors, I'm not gonna go get a, a five or six figure sponsor by saying, Hey, one day, I'm gonna put your logo on this finish line and it's gonna be a big finish line. No, like you've gotta do so much more for them. And how can you be a better source for the community to go to?

So I think that was a big part of it. Honestly, another part of it, I I'd been in the Charlotte running community for, at that point, like eight years. So I'd started the first brewery run club over here. So I don't know if brewery run clubs are a big thing in, in San Jose or in California, but.

um, they've, they've become a, like a sub-industry here in in North Carolina. Like that's where you go to go running. And, and, and if you're sober, awesome. Come on out. Like we got lemonade, like that's awesome. You can, you can totally join us too. Like, it was never, it was one of those things where it's like a, a social club that has a beer or has a drink, but happens to run as well.

Like the running was just the the side part of it. And that's, I think what went so well and why, when I was at the brewery, I was at NoDa. Who's now sponsor of ours. Like we just kind of kept that, that relationship going now for like 10, 11 years. It became the largest day of the week, sometimes second largest day of the week behind like a Saturday from a sales standpoint where it was just this community showing up for this run club that started with three people.

Then the next week it had 13, the next week it had 30, the next week, it had a hundred. And then two months in, we were getting 250, 300 people coming out to this run club.

And this was back in 2012, 2013. So I, I got to know a lot of the community very early on, and then they got to know me and it was so fun.

And, and then eventually got to know my wife. And I think we were just fortunate that we were friends with a lot of the community in a very what's the right word, like just homegrown way. We, we all knew each other and ran with each other and had beers together and saw each other all the time.

So it was never this like outsider coming in, like not to, not to say bad things at all, but like a rock and roll just coming in and like buying their way in and saying, we're gonna create this big thing. It was very much like one of your own saying I'm gonna do this thing. Which was cool. I think the other thing too, like back to the community side of it was yeah, doing random things that are, that a race doesn't do, like why would a race, one of the things we did early.

So we like to play with ATC. So our, our name is around the crown and we'd always play with what other acronyms could we come up with? So one of them was a timely coffee and we put up a coffee card at five of the local coffee shops and said, Hey, look, we're putting 20 bucks on this thing. If you ever don't have your wallet or you need a coffee or whatever it might be, we have a preloaded gift card there for you.

If you need it, take it. If you wanna add to it, add to it, we will not go back and check. They are not reporting to us. This is, this is just a. fail safe, like whatever, whatever you need, we gotcha. And, we'd go back and check on it. And every time we'd go back and check, it would be like doubled.

From the last time we checked, people were taking it, but then more people were adding to it. So it's like someone would buy a coffee and then buy the next two. So the local coffee shop saw win. The running community saw win. Like it was just, we saw a marketing win. Like people were loving, it tagging us. So I think that was, that was some of the fun we had and just we put it on social. Yeah. Just like on Instagram.

You, you kind of had to be in the know we, we told the baristas about it and, you know, if they, someone was coming in sweaty, cuz I think at first it was a little awkward to ask for that like, Hey I'm can I use the card behind the counter? And like what does that look like? Yeah, but it was, it was cool So, Our social following is now decent. So people were finding out about it pretty well. But doing things like that and then really finding

partners like that, that there wasn't really a financial partnership. There was a, understood partnership of bettering the community and, moving Charlotte forward one step at a time.

And sometimes that means physically moving us forward and running. And sometimes that might mean something else of how do you make Charlotte better tomorrow than it was yesterday?

Kevin Chang: Talk to us a little bit about sponsors. Um, you know, I mean, I think this is, this is really something interesting that I love to dive into a little bit more. It was more than just a race. You were building this community, this running community, um, you know, people that were active out in Charlotte. How, how did you approach sponsors? How did you know even what to ask for?

Brian Mister: Yeah. I mean, it was a similar ask to what you just had for me going to them, which is, I think what made it, legit of like, Hey, I'm gonna be completely transparent with you here. Here's what we're working on. It's a dream. I can't tell you that we're gonna have 5,000 people. It's a goal. And here's our branding.

Here's our, you know and my wife made this, I'll say stupid idea. Look really, really good. Her design work is impressive. So our website, our social car wrap, like tent, all that stuff is heard, making my silly ideas look really good.

So a lot of them, so I'll start by saying one of the things that we wanted to work on was we wanted our love for Charlotte.

We wanted to shine through in every way possible. So be that our beneficiaries be that the companies were using for different pieces, be that water bottles or whatever. So same thing with our sponsors. So all of our sponsors are Charlotte based, except this year two. I think one of them being Brooks, because we don't have a shoe manufacturer in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Um, And then two is a a coffee company. That's a, it's called runners high they're out of South Carolina. They just have an amazing product and they speak to the running industry really well. And they do like. um, all kinds of good stuff like in their coffee, but so that was a focus. So then what was cool is we put out again a social media post showing people where our sponsors were at, and it was a map of Charlotte, pretty much saying like, Hey, here's 45, like our outer loop in, in Charlotte.

And all of your sponsors are in there. These are the people that are supporting the community.

If you feel so inclined to support them, you can go to their headquarters. You can go to their front door and say, thank you. So we, we really focused on, on Charlotte companies be that like the local running store, like Charlotte running company or some of the larger companies.

Uh, so I mean, now our, our big one is truest who is a, a bank here in town that's headquartered in, in Charlotte. And, and same thing with them. Like it's all been organic conversations. The, the gentleman who heads up the sports marketing is a big runner here in town who happened to run a race in 2019.

We had coffee over a year or two. We started talking more and more. And then, yeah, they're, they're there. The we're sponsored by like a Subaru, deal, a local Subaru dealership here. and I'd been getting my service done there for like 10 years on our like old Outback. That's now, unfortunately not a part of the family anymore, but, we, we went to them and said like, Hey, we need a pace car.

Like, we're gonna be shut down this highway. You'll be the only car on the road. Would you ever wanna be like the pace car for this thing? Like how cool would that be? And they were like, we love what you're doing. This sounds really cool. Like, what if we gave you a car and we wrapped it for you and you drove it around, like wrapped with like William Subaru stuff on it.

And we're like, yep. That sounds amazing. Like you guys are ridiculous and those, those kind of conversations just kept happening. And I think a lot of it was just being an open book and being completely transparent and, and telling people what our track record was, where we're looking to go, what we're looking to do for the city.

The why of saying, Hey, why did we choose a 10 K why did we choose labor day weekend? Why did we choose to do it? You know, all these different things. And there was a why behind everything. And I think that was when. Businesses started to recognize like, alright, this, this thing's probably got some legs here.

And I think what, honestly, what then stood out more was how many businesses, all of them like stayed on board during the pandemic to really still support us and knew that we weren't gonna get 5,000 runners again.

There was no way we were gonna do that, cuz we can't even meet in person. And they trusted us to do, you know, something good with their, their money and their logo and their brand and everything else.

Kevin Chang:

and We really wanna get into there's some interesting aspects of your race that not a lot of other races talk about Um, one is the sustainability effort and we definitely want to talk a little bit more about what you're doing to help make sure that your, your race is low impact on the environment. And yeah, we we'd love to just dive into that.

Brian Mister: My first kind of real job in the running industry was like had mentioned earlier, the, the us national whitewater center here in Charlotte, which if you haven't, if you haven't checked out before, it's the coolest thing ever.

I think it's like 1500 acres now, 2000 acres, something like that with like 55 miles of trails. And I think it's like the country's largest manmade white water center.

So I used to work out there and would put on trail races or climbing events or kayaking races and um, in, the trail world. I, I think it's very common and natural to do more sustainable actions because it feels a lot weirder to throw a plastic bottle into the forest versus onto a sidewalk. Cause on a sidewalk, unfortunately, like we see it all the time. So like what's one more.

And there were a lot more things that we were doing there that when I went to go start a, a a race and, and started working with like the Charlotte marathon and different pieces of it, we were almost like the, the weird guy.

We were the, the crunchy granola guy trying to, why are, you know, why are you trying to force this stuff?

And one of the things that we wanted to do when we Started, this was, was really all these initiatives that we'd wanted to do again, moving from the Charlotte marathon, Love my time there.

However, you know, I, I didn't own it and I wanted to own my own thing. And, and if someone was gonna say no to me, I wanted to be me. And, and I wanted to try 'em and put 'em out there. And, and again, not nothing negative to the Charlotte marathon whatsoever. They were doing some awesome stuff. I just had some silly ideas that I wanted to see and let someone else you know, check it out.

When we were starting it I wanted this idea of this uh, reusable cup. So instead of using paper cups, we wanted to use this reusable cup that you could keep with you or recycle or wash, and then we'll use it the next race. And at that time, I think it's really when um, is it hydro pack uh, came out with some of those like trail cups that you can use.

So we bought 5,000 of them and you would Collected at the first water stop. It'd be filled with water from our volunteers out on the highway. You'd drink. it. And then there was no trash can, so You would keep it with you.

And then the kind of second part to that, that was awesome too, is we worked with our local municipality, Charlotte water to provide all the water for us. So we tested the water, you then filter it test again. And so we were able to hook up to local fire hydrants to get all the water out there.

So we didn't have to bring out water jugs and all of that plastic as well. And then it was so much easier to fill up those pictures and go, go, go . Um, So that was super fun.

And then one of our early sponsors with doll and they had Bananas and strawberries and some cool stuff. And we're like, all that's awesome. But like, what do we do with that waste?

And then, you know, all these things just kind of seemed to click together. There was a local composting company that we knew of. So then we had composting out there and we had people like shooting baskets with like strawberry heads to kind of have a game with it as you were, as you were going through the water stop. So they were like shooting em into compost bins and like, it was cool.

And it's like, again, like super crunchy. And I, and I, and I get that, but it was nice to be able to start that from year one, like we're already the, the nerdy crunchy granola hippies or whatever you wanna call us from the trail world.

But we're now known as that. We're not trying to change minds in year 10 or something like that, Like going back to the Charlotte marathon or any race like that. Like, It'd be hard to initiate that when you've already got this following of being a traditional race, if you will.

So to start that off in like a year one and say, Hey, we're gonna be a little more sustainable and a little bit different, but I think it's, I think it's for positive.

And I think we'll be able to show that. So as first that cup then There's a, a shirt company here in town called recover brands or just recover. And, they do sustainable shirts using like eight plastic bottles to make each shirt. And they're located right here in Charlotte, so it's super awesome and super easy.

And we can just walk down the street and go talk to 'em about it all. So they did all of our race shirts, all of our volunteer shirts. And we just had a couple little like sustainable pieces like that of, of just thinking about each thing before you do it. So like now for like this year, I trying to see if I have one around here, I don't, our our bibs are half the size.

So like a normal, BI I mean, well, if you're doing like, New York city marathon, the bib is like eight and a half by 11. But the normal race bib is like, something like this. And we now just cut it in half. So it's half the size and the numbers still just as big, the sponsors are still on there. The timing chip still fits on the back, but we're using so half the amount of money too.

I mean, that's a big part of it, half the amount of paper

and we're, we're, doing something a little bit better just by thinking about it a step more. And now we found. through DuPont, who does a lot of the Tyvek bibs, they have recycling options. And when we have leftover bibs, cuz you've, you've tried to prepare and plan appropriately, but you always have leftover, you can now recycle these, that we've found a way through that.

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.

You talked about around the crown is not just a race, but it is also about building up that running community. And we know that you've run a a couple of events leading up to this race. Um, One just a couple of weeks ago um, a pride race, I think, or a pride event.

And so, you know, talk to us a little bit about inclusion, about including, you know, diversity within the community. We know that that's a big part of what around the crown is, is all about and what you stand for as well.

Brian Mister: Yeah, a hundred percent. think that almost is exactly what I was saying just in a different way, a little bit, but it's the same statement when I was talking about sustainability. The, the more people you have thinking about this, especially from different backgrounds and different diversity, like the more ideas you're gonna have.

So why not? Why not bring the entire community out there. If it's people that just look like me or just look like you, or just look like you coach, like we're not gonna have all of the ideas we need to have everyone involved from different cultural backgrounds, different paces.

Even like, I'm not thinking about some things that someone might be running that's super fast elite person, and they might want these other things.

So I think that's, that's where the idea came from. Partly, and I'll explain the other part in a second, but gosh, it, reminds me a little bit of Brooke's whole like run happy, you know, that's their whole whole thing. And, and I love that that's their motto. Like I love that. It's just that simple, just go, just run, happy, just be happy.

And, and for me, at least I'm sure for you guys as well I'm, I am happiest when I'm running. Like, I, I just, there's just some pure joy in that. Especially like if my family family's involved and like my kids are with me and everything else, like it's just, that's that's life to me. So why not show other people about this amazing hobby?

And, and if more people are happy in my community, we're all gonna be thinking better and we're all gonna then do better and Charlotte's better for that. And, and again, it kind of comes back to that love of, of Charlotte a little bit. But one of the other, other ways this, this whole thing got started of, of just trying to be as inclusive as possible is we were talking earlier about that.

Race that we did for seven days in a row during 2020 called the truest time trials. So for that race, we went to our expo venue. It's this place called camp north end. It's a 1920s Ford factory. And it is like Charlotte. Charlotte is unfortunately kind of somewhat known for tearing buildings down and, and building new rather than keeping old historic buildings.

So this is one of the only buildings that really hasn't been like torn down and it's, it's gorgeous. It's, it's so fun. Like it's the floor is the, the butt ends of like two by fours. So it's all these. So it's like from a noise canceling standpoint because of the Ford factory that was in there, then it was like a missile factory and like all these other things and it's in.

a part of town that used to be like frowned upon almost like it, it was not a part of town that you went to. And then this, this company took it over and started rebuilding everything. They have food vendors in there now they have, there's like a, it it's diverse in itself. And just like the businesses that are in that, in that, like there's a motorcycle shop next to a coffee shop next to a salon.

And it's like, whoa, this doesn't make sense. And then you go there and it's like, this is amazing. Like everyone's just happy being here and wanting to see and do different things. So we, we really wanted to go there for our expo because it had soul. And like, we felt like we had, we had soul when we had character rather than going in like a windowless basement of a convention center or something in downtown.

So that's where we hosted everything at. And so our, our time trials went

from there too. And the, the concept just to give you a little more was we went from Sunday to Saturday. We were operating from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. You'd have to sign up for a half hour time slot. And we had a marked course out in Charlotte.

They were not closed streets. But there was like the little, like race arrows on the ground. And I think it was up to like 60% of it was on like like closed streets as in like, it was a Greenway, we went through a cemetery, we went through something that Charlotte created called shared streets where it was like, kind of blocked off only for like local traffic.

So there weren't supposed to be just like there weren't through roads. And we, we had planned our 10 K course around this and it went from camp north end. So it went into these neighborhoods that didn't typically see running races in it. So. In Charlotte, it's become it's. It's been identified that there is this, this wedge in Charlotte where all businesses are that a lot of people started calling it like the great white wedge.

It is, it is where good things have happened as we thought over the last years. And then you have the Crescent, which is the rest of Charlotte, where like the bad neighborhoods are and like where the more the industries are. And it's, it's typically more historically black neighborhoods and brown neighborhoods and not where white people lived as much.

So this race was not in the wedge. It was out here in the Crescent and it was awesome. And what was cool about it is when we got done with it, people were like, I've never seen this Greenway before. I've never run through the cemetery before. And it, And and I know cemeteries,

like not a, I don't know, like a positive thought or word, but it was, it was gorgeous.

It was right on the outside of uptown. The views of it, of the skyline were beautiful from there. And and you, you just think differently when you're running through a cemetery. So it was fun. And the cemetery actually like really wanted to be involved too. Cause they were pumped to kind of be looked at as a public space. And so by like the sixth or seventh day, we did this I assume you guys have heard of like plugging before where you like pick up trash as you run.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. yeah. So people were, we had runners out, picking up trash in these neighborhoods as they're coming and in the neighborhood people were coming out from their houses, following the route, arrows back to camp north end being like, all right guys, like, what the hell are you doing here?

We got people out in our streets picking up our trash.

We're not even out there picking up our trash. Why are you guys doing this? Like what's going on?

And we're like, yeah, we, we threw a running race the best way we knew how, like we wanted to show off Charlotte. We love running these neighborhoods. You know, like this is awesome. Like pretty much along the lines of like our, we want our kids to see this.

We want our kids to see these other opportunities that running is a, is a hobby and a sport that they can kind of look into and like, how can you involve our neighborhoods more like running races, don't come over here. And it just got us thinking. This idea of kind of what it's turned into, like to put it just in a couple words is like, we want our start line to look like our community.

And typically in the past, it has not looked like that it's typically elite white males on the front of a start line. And that's kind of what you see, unless it's a, you know, legit big race, like a Chicago or New York, and you've got east African runners in there that are crushing. But typically your, your community running race is white elite males out front.

And what if our what if our start line looked more like our community and, and how could we kind of work towards that? So this idea of these training tours is what we started calling them, came to life of. Alright, we're gonna go tour different neighborhoods in our city that we don't typically run in.

We're gonna connect with that community, learn what's going on there. And, and not just, again, same idea with our race, not just be a one day thing. How can we continue to work with this community? And then recently it's kind of changed more into. not just a geographic sense, but more of a, like what, what communities aren't talked to as much in the running world.

So, so for instance, a couple weeks ago we had a pride run and I think that L G B T communities are definitely growing and it's it's heading in a good direction. I still think though, unfortunately it's marginalized and it's, it's not commonplace to, to have a pride run or anything like that, which is unfortunate.

So how can, how can we bridge some gaps here and, and bring them into the fold of this is the Charlotte running community. This is what the Charlotte running community looks like and feels like. And it's it's gosh, it's been fun guys. I'll be honest, I, I selfishly. I'm man, I'm enjoying it and it is, it is so fun to work.

Just different groups in Charlotte and, and it goes back. So we have a, one of the other interesting things about our company is we started with like a mission statement and a purpose and things like that. And early on our mission state was like, we wanna move Charlotte forward, regardless of what do we say?

Like pace, cultural differences, gender. I feel like there's one other one in there, but yeah. Pieces like that, and it just kind of speaks true to our mission as well of, of really wanting, running to be as inclusive as we've always said it is. And it's I think things have come to light since Ahmaud Arbery and other injustices in 2020.

And beyond that, it's not as inclusive as we thought. So how can we again, continue to try to bridge these gaps and we're not gonna fix it tomorrow. And us talking about this today is not gonna fix it, but can we start at least having the conversation and understanding that it's not as awkward as we may think it is.

And once we start having it, good conversation is gonna come out of it.

Bertrand Newson: No, it's fantastic. And to, further the broad desire to include all have your community represented on your starting line. it's gonna go back to what we talked about earlier in the conversation regarding another event Peachtree the largest 10 K in the world, and you're looking to grow year over year um, where you have children, parents, grandparents, they're going back year over.

How are you helping those individuals grow their love of running engaging them a training aspect, are you offering any know, training as part of the race rollout leading up to three months out, six months out, et cetera, Cetera.

Brian Mister: Yeah, certainly. And, and I think this goes into the inclusiveness as well.

I I'd like how each conversation is kind of just flowing along here. Um, next week. Our features first timers club. So features is one of our sponsors. They're a local, so company here, but they're a global brand. We're just fortunate. They're they're headquartered here in Charlotte. And so our first timers club and just to kind of tie the tie, the, the Ts here a little bit, the, the just kind of pull into that inclusiveness is, so I think in the past, if we looked at training, it would be sending out a training program, Hey, here's our PDF print it out, put on your fridge.

And now we're going to different run clubs around the city that are in different geographic areas that are predominantly black or predominantly white or predominantly Asian or whatever it might be to say like, Hey, we are gonna get the entire community training for this. And making sure that we're including everyone in the training section of it as well.

So back to that first timers club, though, from a inclusion standpoint, it's, it's that side of it too. We, we included paces in it. So you gotta have all paces welcome out there. And, and what does that look like? And, and honestly, we're not doing the best job that we could right now. And we're trying to work on that with the city, because we have a pace maximum right now they're forcing us to open the highway by a certain point.

So you have to be able to run a 1345 pace and, and we are working hard to change that because we want walkers involved as well. But the way that we're, we're trying to, you know, work towards that is we have our training programs out there that meet in person at different run clubs throughout the city.

Kevin Chang: how is registration going? Are you guys on, on, track?

we know the pandemic happened. and so um, a lot of, again, a lot of big races suffered, um, you know, all across the country, um, suffered in terms of registration, we've heard from some races is starting to come back. maybe not as strong as it was before the pandemic.

How, how are registrations going for around the crown?

Brian Mister: Yeah, Yeah. Good question. And again, I appreciate you asking, like some of these, these deeper questions, I, I very much enjoy it. And love being kind of transparent. Cause I want to tune back into the next race director that you interviewed to kind of hear how they're doing and, and what's going on with theirs.

So what we've seen, so we just acquired our second race this year. There's another one called the not a 5k that we, we put on and it was, it was good for a couple reasons to have that one in between these two races. It, it, let us see what registration is looking like for that one. It's it's much smaller, probably about 800, 900 people at.

that one. and what we saw with that one, and I think what we're seeing with this one, we're just not far enough along to fully see it yet is that the bell curve of registration is pushed much closer to race day now. So, so now where it used to be, your halfway point might be, let's say 90 days out when you've gotten half of your registration.

I think now we, we're probably gonna be closer to like 50 or 60 days out when we're seeing the halfway point of our registration. And it's, that's hard because, you know, we're, we're nervous that are they gonna come, but I think, and I've seen this with our family as well. Like I, think the pandemic struck us in that, like, we don't plan things because we're not sure if they're gonna be canceled or not.

So many

things got canceled during the pandemic, be that a flight or be that like a, a, a, I don't know, a dinner reservation or whatever. It might be. Things were just getting canceled so much that I feel like that has somewhat stuck with us. And I've seen that with some of our smaller events, like the pride run.

I've seen that with like the, notta 5k. And I, I think that that's what we're seeing with around the crown as well, because our numbers are, are spot on of what they were in 19, which it's, this is our fourth year of the race, but we really have no data to compare to cause 2019 was our first year. So that was kind of like interesting.

And that was different 20, 20 pandemic. We went to this like alternative format, 21, we had it, but we weren't really able to announce it until like four months before it, so our, our registration period was shorter, so we don't have much to compare to. Um, But it's going well, we're around 3000 or so registered now we're expecting about six which would be our largest year which isn't saying much, cause we've really only had like, you know, one other year of, of of legitimate.

But so it's, it's, it's good. I just think it's, I think it's shifted and again, I'll be interested to kind of keep tuning into you guys to see. what the race directors are saying. And if you've heard anything, I'd love to hear from your side too. If any other race directors or events that you guys host or have been to are similar as well?

Bertrand Newson: Yeah, the trend has been down in 2022, it has been going back to pre pandemic area pre pandemic times and speaking to local race directors and even our friends with the rock and roll race series. They've shared in fact, get that to shutter some of their big city events. So so the work that you're doing, Brian there in the greater Charlotte area is great.

Again, you're looking to be up a thousand potentially over 2019, your nodal year, which is great. We're talking right now to an audience. Is there a virtual option or is it only. In person, is there a way to people to can

Brian Mister: There's there is a virtual option. I mean, I think that was something 2020 did for all of us is like, it's not hard to throw on a virtual race.

How can you make it good? How can you make it feel like you're there, but from a logistics standpoint, you know, mailing out a bib and a shirt and having some fun with it, it's, that's easy to throw in there just then let's make sure we, we do put some thought behind it

Kevin Chang: Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, part of the big difference between you and and maybe some of the rock and rolls is your involvement with the community. And so most of your, your runners, a lot of the, registrants they're gonna come, because you're out there because they're hearing about you organically because you know, the running clubs are continuing to exist in those communities.

And, and you know, we've also heard the, the flip side. That a lot of more people picked up running during the pandemic. A lot more people have been out there, you know, picking up the sport and they just have not yet experienced races, um, to the full extent. So, so that big piece of the pie that's still out there. and I think, you know, um, having these events, having them so closely involved with community, you know, raises all boats. Whereas sometimes those races that are big kind

of coming in, they're gonna be relying heavily on marketing advertisement. They're gonna be heavily building those communities, in usually those locations. Um, and I think, you know, that they're realizing that they're a little bit behind on that as well. And so they're, they are starting to invest a little bit more in community runs, community events, other things. And so you know, I think it's, it's fun to see the evolution of the sport.

And it, it's fun to see, you know, how do we come back and, and where are we coming back from the last couple of years. So that's awesome.

And so hopefully, hopefully our audience is, is loving the information around this podcast around the event itself that they'll find their way out to your event. Um, you know, we just really have enjoyed this entire conversation, what you're doing for the running industry, and we'll definitely continue the, the connection and continue everything after this podcast.

Brian Mister: Yeah. Thank you guys so much, Kevin and coach. I, really appreciate, it's a fun conversation. Always fun to I think as we were saying early on. Like just, just nerd out about our, our fun little niche industry and I, I very much enjoy talking to like-minded people. So so thank you very much,

Bertrand Newson: Keep up the great work, Brian, you're making a difference.

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.Com. Please subscribe to us on apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcast and leave us a review until next time. Keep on moving.