The Half Marathon Sign-up Contest

Sometimes people just need a nudge from a friend to get with the program. This is particularly true with exercise.

Runners at the Start

Last week, Suzanne Thompson, our Nashville-based half marathon team leader, sent out an email to some employees. Lisa Stilwell, our Senior Editor for Gift Books, was one of the recipients. Yesterday, Suzanne received this response from Lisa:

Suzanne! I’m so excited—I walked/jogged a total of eight miles over the weekend! :) And I feel so good! I’m only a tiny bit sore. I thought I was in much worse shape, so it’s encouraging to begin training on a stronger note than I thought I’d have to. I may try and jog the whole thing—we’ll see. I also bought a few new running clothes, and plan to get new shoes tonight.



I’m so thankful you asked if I was going to do the 1/2 marathon. if you had not e-mailed me, I don’t think I would have taken the step to sign-up. So, THANKS!

This got me to thinking, What if we could turn each participant into a recruiter? That led me to the idea of a contest—“The Half Marathon Sign-up Contest.”

Here’s how it works: We will ask each participant for the name of the person who encouraged them to sign-up. That person will be the designated “sponsor.” The sponsor with the most participants in each city (Nashville and Dallas) will win a $200 gift certificate to the running store of their choice.

Suzanne, Lara, and I will be excluded from competing. (Suzanne and Lara are our two team leaders.) Sponsors will be given credit for anyone who has already signed up.

So, all you have to do is encourage a co-worker to sign-up. If the contest doesn’t motivate you, here are three additional reasons you should nudge your friends:

  1. It will benefit the other person. The mental, emotional, and physical benefits of running are well documented. By encouraging others to walk or run, you are giving them an invaluable gift. They may not appreciate it initially, but they will eventually thank you. You may literally be adding years to their life. You certainly will be improving the quality of their life.
  2. It will benefit you. It will motivate you to keep training when you are tempted to quit. Even though you know the benefits of running, some days you will want to stay in bed. But then, when you realize someone you recruited will ask you how your training is going, you will get up and put your shoes on. (It happened to me this morning!)
  3. It will benefit the whole team. We are already seeing some buzz in the company. This will only increase as more people enroll. And, the bigger the team, the more fun all of us will have. There is nothing like showing up on race day with your family members and co-workers to complete something you have worked on for weeks or months.

We are planning to have a pasta dinner with the whole team the night before each race. We will announce the winner there. Will it be you?

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  • http://www.halfmarathonplan.com Bill

    Mike – Following your company’s sign-up effort for this contest is like watching an actual race in-progress. I look forward to checking in here just to see what progress has been made and the ideas you use to motivate!

    Thanks for a good read!

  • http://blog.runnerslounge.com amy

    Congrats on reaching 88 just a week after your challenge. What a great idea to recruit more using the people who are most excited!

  • Christine Jones

    Mike,
    I am really getting excited for the race! Last year was such a great experience and a powerful confidence booster! I have convinced my husband to join us this year, and my parents will be coming in from Las Vegas to do the half with us! Might we count them as part of the Nelson team? I would love to exceed our participation target!

  • Adam Crocker

    I have enjoyed reading your blog for the last several months. Being a father of seven as well as an NCO in the US Army stationed at Fort Benning, GA, your post over Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family was encouraging and heartwarming. My question is do yyou have to be a Nelson Publishing member to sign up fo the contest? Or can I sign up under one of your “distance” teams?
    Thanks for being so open. It is enlightning and encouraging.