If you have run a major marathon, then you know what I mean by "personal." Take Boston as an example. Running alongside the hundreds of charity runners, such as Team In Training, you feel like a rock star as spectators applaud your efforts. Along the entire 26.2 mile historic course, the words "you can do it" motivate you beyond words.
But then you ponder. And soon realize they are not cheering for you, but rather the sea of charity teams around you. After a brief moment of reality passes, the sound of spectators lifts your spirit once again. So maybe you are not as much of a rock star as you thought just a moment prior. But you are still a rock star. And you move forward, with a smile in each step.
In the case of Boston and other large races this personalization is in many ways, accidental. It is the presence of the charity teams, each sporting their uniforms, that creates this personal cheering group. But what if you have a smaller race. What if you don't have that sea of charity runners, sporting their team uniforms, like most events don't have. Can you still personalize it?
The answer is yes. And the easiest way is to personalize the participants number. Print their first name on the number in big letters so it's easy to read. That alone will encourage spectators to not just clap, but shout out your participant's name.
That will go a long way to build a lasting memory of just how great your event is. And it will do more than just motivate these participants to run next year. But to tell their friends of this great experience.
It's the little things in life and in races that go a lot further than often realized. And the cost? Minimal at best.