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KAEO The Details:
Name: Rivalry Races
Launched: First race, December 2013
Founders: Matt Linick
Concept: Races that combine the popularity of college football with running in a team-style format.
Facebook: RivalryRaces on Facebook
Running’s popularity continued to increase throughout 2013. Thanks in part to the sport’s low barrier or entry and an increased focus on healthy living, races can be found in towns and cities across the country every weekend (and sometimes even during the week!). Unlike sports such as basketball and football where equipment and field/court time may be at a premium, a good pair of running shoes is all a runner needs to get started.
Companies looking to harness running’s increased popularity also face a low barrier of entry – a few city permits, some timing mats, a free race t-shirt – and you’re ready to go. Unfortunately for avid runners, this uptick in races hasn’t meant more well-organized or unique events. Runners are now paying $25-$50 for a 5K on the same running route they usually run except this time there are cones to protect runners from the cars and a finishing mat to run through. They are basically paying for the right to be timed. For many runners, local races are becoming as monotonous as strip malls.
Matt Linick and Rivalry Races are taking the monotony out of 5Ks. Rivalry Races combines the passion for college football with road races. The 10K/5K competitions give college football rivalries a new twist and include a scoring system so individuals can compete on behalf of their school affiliation. In addition to the 10K or 5K course, runners will complete several tasks along the course including the QB Toss and LB Flag Grab. Points are accumulated and tallied to determine a winning school for the race.
The first Rivalry Race, dubbed “The Nation’s Race” was held on December 14, 2013 before the Army vs. Navy game in Philadelphia, PA. Eight races are slated for the 2014 college football seasons including stops in Dallas (Red River Rivalry, Texas vs. Oklahoma) and East Lansing (Paul Bunyan Trophy, Michigan vs. Michigan State).
Army defeated Navy in the inaugural Rivalry Race, 366-319.
Running Away is Rivalry Races parent company. They have been organizing races and running-based tourism groups for four years including the Memorial Day Races and the Fall Foliage Half Marathon in The Berkshires, MA and Rhinebeck, NY respectively.
Linick has primarily focused on grassroots marketing to promote the races since each race is in a different city and caters to a specific audience. Finding his niche in the college space, Linick has been careful about how he brands Rivalry Races so as not to infringe on rights of the universities involved in the races. Linick admits that some universities are more receptive to Rivalry Races than others. Most welcome the race and often grant Linick use of school logos, but others are less inclined to share their university assets or likenesses.
For more information on Rivalry Races, visit www.RivalryRaces.com.