5 Questions: Craig Longhurst of JDL Fast Track
"Running is such a social sport and we have tried to target athletes who are marketable and people want to hang out with."
By Pat Price, DailyRelay.com
Once again, the newest TFAA Board member, Craig Longhurst, has put together an incredible field and meet within a meet at the 2015 Hilton Garden Innvitational, with the 3rd Camel City Elite event this Saturday, January 31. This years event will boast a prize purse of $40,000! As a race director myself, I had to ask “how’d you do it?” If you are thinking of putting on a meet, this is a great place to start. This event has become a great road trip worthy day for track fans all over North Carolina! I’ll be looking forward to attending, after a stop by Foothills Brewing for lunch (and the Sexual Chocolate release), for the second year in a row.
Putting on a professional track meet with Craig Longhurst of JDL Fast Track
1. Talent – How did you go about getting fields set up?
The first part was to identify who our “headliners” would be. Last year, we had a lot of success generating interest by virtue of having Nick Symmonds here. I think that really legitimized us this year when we could go back and say that Symmonds was here last year. We made a list of some of our top prospects based on not only their ability and credentials, but marketability, local interest, etc. For instance, Will Leer always seemed like the type of guy that you’d want to enjoy a beer with after the meet. Shannon Rowbury had the local Duke connection. We reached out to agents and started spreading the word. We had some contacts from last year. Then, when all else failed. . . Twitter. We were stalling with the men’s 800 in late November and we started posting on Twitter to guys like Tyler Mulder, Brandon Johnson et. al. and they responded and showed interest.
2. Funding / Sponsorship – How did you go about paying for talent?
This one is really a short answer, but a long way to get there. We sought out corporate sponsors and crowd fund support. Mellow Mushroom reached out to us in August and said they wanted to sponsor one of the Mile races. At the time, we felt the women’s race would be better. Then, Salem Sports heard that Mellow was doing it, and they wanted in on the action. After that, we started calling on business relationships we had from our real estate development connections and basically asked for favors from our contacts. We got our electrician, one of our banks, our insurance agent, vendors we use for generator or HVAC maintenance, etc. The balance of what is not covered by these sponsors will get paid by the owner of JDL Fast Track, David Shannon. Our hope is that we can attract a large sponsor and make this thing even bigger. We’ve talked about matching whatever they put up to make this thing huge.
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