Promote your Marathon Event at Zero Cost (Bonus Tip in the End)

Akash KumarEvent Management, Event Marketing, Races & Marathons

Promote Your Event

There is a lot that goes into creating a successful marathon. Promotion is one of them.

One of the critical concerns for marathon organizers is the cost involved in promoting a marathon. Above and beyond, if they would achieve a good enough return on investment in the end.

We understand your concerns!

Here we are with a comprehensive guide on how to promote your marathon event with zero cost.

The promotional strategy and activities of your marathon event can be conveniently divided into three legs:

 Pre-Marathon
 During Marathon
 Post-Marathon

Each will require a different approach and preparation. Let us begin with the first phase:

Pre-Marathon Promotion – Your goal during this stage should be to create awareness and achieve maximum conversion. Here are the things you can do to realize your purpose without boring a hole in your pocket:

1) Shout out on social media: There is no ideal place than social media to begin your promotional event. Here is how you can leverage these:

a) Facebook – Create a page and invite your friends to like it. If you already have a page then start shooting updates of your marathon event. Encourage and motivate the crowd. Make people curious and ask them to tag their friends who might be interested in the event. Ask for shares, likes, and comments. Invite questions. Discuss the perks and early bird offers. Also, remember to post on other Facebook groups made of marathon enthusiasts.

b) Twitter – Start pushing tweets of your upcoming event on the twitter. Request retweets from your existing followers. Connect and engage with the celebrities who do run marathons. Invite them to participate in your event and talk about it. Do not forget to add the popular hashtags (#) related to marathons and running to get wider reach. Some of the commonly used # tags under marathons are #halfmarathon #marathontraining #runnerscommunity #morningrun #10km #trailrunning.

c) Instagram – The latest sensation in the social media is Instagram. Instagram is all about visuals and hashtags. Post pictures of your past events. And, pictures of how are you preparing for this upcoming event. You can also run viral campaigns asking people to post the favourite pictures of their marathon run. Do create a unique hashtag for your run. Apart from branding, it helps people in doing an easy search of your event. The best example of it is #pinkathon.

2) PR campaigns and Guest blogging

Start approaching journalists of the leading dailies and submit the story of your event to them. Importantly, make sure that your narrative is comprehensive yet concise before you begin to pitch. Your content must discuss the mission, purpose, and event details.

And, because half the world is on the internet more often than not; you simply can’t give blogging a miss. Spot all the popular blogs on the marathon, running, fitness, and similar categories. Approach them and request them to publish a blog about your upcoming marathon.

Most of these blogs already have a subscription list of people interested in such events. Once your content is live, they will be notified. With that, in no time your target audience will already know about your upcoming marathon event.

3) Influencers and social ambassadors

Twitter and Facebook is brimming with pages and people who advocate for marathons and are ardent marathon runners. Send them a request to shout out on social media about your marathon event.

4) List your event

There are many popular event listing websites that can come to your aid. Most of them are free and very well optimized for search engines. Listing your marathon events on these portals gives you a double advantage. One, you are building upon your internet presence free of cost. Two, you improve your chances of getting organic awareness as these portals are rather Google friendly. That means you are able to reach out to people who are already searching for you on the web.

5) Email outreach

One of the most influential points of contact in today’s world is through emails. Send emails to the participants of your past events informing them about your upcoming marathon. You can offer them discounts or BOGO offers. However, it is essential to be strategic, minimal with your emails. Do not bombard your subscribers and past attendees with promotional offers and newsletters.

During-marathon Promotion – Congratulations! You created a great stir and achieved excellent conversion out of it. However, the promotion of your marathon is not over yet. You must continue creating buzz about your event even on the D-Day.
Here are the things that you must do to make sure your event reaches the finishing line with flying colors:

Share regular updates on social media – Share updates and pictures of the venue, collaterals (T-shirts), attendees, chief guests, etc. Discuss the total number of attendees. Interesting facts about the attendees like the oldest participant, first-time attendees, veteran runners, etc.

1) Do Facebook live – Facebook live is turning out as a fantastic tool to connect with the audiences. Continue to be live through the event while adding some excellent commentary in the background. At the least, make sure to stay live during the starting of the run and the prize distribution.

2) Add to Instagram stories – You can add exciting video clips of the run in the Instagram stories. Remember to add the hashtags.

3) Media coverage – Invite people from the media, famous bloggers and vloggers to watch the event and cover it.

Post-Marathon Promotion – Bravo! For, you managed to pull out the marathon event magnificently. Your attendees of this marathon run are the first targets of your future events. Hence, end the event at warm note so that you leave a lasting impression.

1) Send Thank you emails – Send personalized emails to each of your attendees thanking them for making it to your event. Also, tell them that you are looking forward to their attendance for all the future marathons and similar events.

2) Request participants to like your social media profiles – Remember to ask the participants to like your social media pages. You can tell them that they can find the live videos and pictures of the event on the page and also stay updated on any future events and activities.

3) Share behind-the-scenes image – Once the event is over, feel free to share the behind-the-scenes pictures on your social media profiles. Pictures of your team working on the venue and the tracks. People working on designs, and the technical things, etc. It is a great way to strengthen your connection with your followers.

4) Say a public thank you to all the sponsors, volunteers, and organizers
Last but not the least, do thank all the sponsors, volunteers, and organizers of the marathon event. This sends a good message about you to your audience, and you are able to create a better repo with them as well as all the other stakeholders.

Going forward, here is the bonus tip:

It is great to be on social media, but it is significant that you do have your own web space on the internet. With that, I mean your website. It could be a one-page website like a landing page or a full-fledged website with multiple pages. Your site should be responsive and SEO friendly with target keywords duly embedded in the title tags. Your website is like your business card. A Facebook page or twitter handle can never be a replacement for it.

We would love to hear from you if you have any more exciting ideas on how to promote a marathon event. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment box below!

About the Author

Akash Kumar


Experienced Digital Marketing Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the internet industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), B2C & B2B Marketing, Product Marketing, and Leadership.