I know I just wrote a blog post yesterday, but so many people have asked about the Milk Mile that I decided to get the deets on record before I forgot them. Haha.
Background: Back during XC season, we began talking about fundraising. One of my little darlings mentioned watching a Beer Mile on YouTube. That led to talk of other "alternates" to the typical 5K. (Sidenote: I was AGAINST the typical 5K because of the frequency of those types of races in this area. Not to mention the logistics and costs are high, making it sometimes difficult to profit.) One girl mentioned a Milk Mile. Needless to say, what began as a joke came to fruition.
Pre-race: Coach C (head boys' coach) and I began collecting business sponsorship for the race. We wrote letters requesting funding, and in return the business would be featured on the back of the race shirt in respective category of donation- bronze, silver, gold. These sponsorships are really what made us profit.
How We Saved Money: 6 Friday nights in Jan/Feb, the team bagged groceries (for tips) at the local Piggly Wiggly. Redneck, right? Well, our little redneck fundraiser gained us anywhere from $200-400 PER NIGHT. We also built an awesome relationship with the store manager, who then gave us the milk for the event at cost. (He also donated a small gift card that I used to purchase other refreshments/snacks after the race.) My boyfriend recently started doing graphic design for Pepsi. He designed our shirts, have banners made, and got non-milk drinks donated for afterwards. We did not have bibs. (However, I likely could've gotten Brooks to make me some through the ID program, but I didn't ask- seemed wasteful.) I made note cards for each runner, and had them "check in" before their heat. I did have leftover shoe bags from last year's coach pack that I used for AG awards, along with Run Happy bracelets. I only did Top Male/Female in 10 year brackets. I had gift cards to the local running store for the Overall Female and Male. Therefore, ZERO dollars were spent on awards or refreshments. I also had local businesses donate door prizes. It really helps to keep people happy and a reason to come back next year. :)
Promotion: I think I was the best form of promotion. Seriously. I volunteered at the expo for the local marathon/half the day before the event. I had my fliers there for people to look at. After my shift, I actually patrolled the expo, passing them out to runners that were browsing. (When you coach at an under-privileged school, you have to really be a shameless greedy pig.) I had fliers at the 2 local running stores, and the event was on active.com and FB. Active actually chose my race as one of the Top 10 Inaugural Events for 2013, and published us in an online article! After the Double Bridge Run (the one I bombed), I stood IN the beer line pushing my fliers on people. Last weekend, I volunteered at the Joe Cain 5K and the director let me get on the microphone before the awards to promote my event. I then had friends helping me with the fliers there. Phew, AND I got us on the radio through a friend that has a weekly show.
The Event: We did the event on a Friday night on our track. I chose Friday because of the BAZILLION races in our area that occur on Saturdays. Plus, it is easier to get high schoolers out on a Friday night than early Saturday morning. AND... the boyfriend bribed our running group to come by offering beer and grill food at my house afterwards to anyone that ran it. The team either had to work or run the event. Most chose to work it, unfortunately. I think they were scared. Haha.
Like I said, I divided the runners into heats, mostly based on age. However, the 30-39 group was huge; so I moved a few of the slower runners up to the older group. We ran the heats slowest to fastest; I thought it would be good to let the high schoolers used to handing out milk before the guys came blazing through there in 70 seconds. The high schoolers lined up in lane 2 and in the grass outside lane 1. White milk first, chocolate last. We lined up BEFORE the start line, more like the 350m mark. I stood at the start/finish to call the splits.
I did some research on other milk miles, but really only found one legitimate race. The race used 12 oz of milk, but told little about when the milk needed to be taken except that it had to be BEFORE each lap. I decided to let everyone drink their first glass completely before starting the watch. That may or may not have been cheating... They then toed the line like a typical mile race and got to work. When they entered the "milk zone", they had to completely finish the 8oz cup of milk with their high schooler watching them. After the milk was gone, they could continue.
The Race: Not a SINGLE person threw up. I think the cool weather helped with this. I also noticed that around the 100m mark of each lap, the runners would slow and kind of let the milk digest before picking up pace again. A couple of runners even walked for a few seconds trying to keep it down. Everyone was successful! In true beer mile fashion, runners would've taken a lap penalty for puking. And we had huge buckets of water and vomit-X on hand to take control of it. Our times ranged from 10 minutes to the winner- 5:24???!!!!! Yes, it's legit, and yes, we got it on video. (I'm waiting on my Sam to email me the video. It is on FB on my wall, if I'm your friend there.) We had 3 guys that ran Sub 6, hahaha.
Summary: We will definitely do this race again next year. I've already thought of a few things that I'd like to change/add. I would do more advertising at the local gyms. It's a perfect challenge for some of those gym rats... I will also charge admission to watch. We had a LOT more spectators than I thought. I'm also thinking of increasing the milk to 12 oz. It seemed kind of mean to read that, but from the looks of this race, I think people could tolerate it. I will also possibly add a lactose-free category for those MILLIONS of people that said, "Sorry, I can't do dairy." (Even though I think that was their nice way of saying I was nuts.)
In the end, I was really blessed for two big things regarding this event. Local businesses really stepped up and supported us financially. We wouldn't have made enough to even cover ourselves, if it weren't for them. My local running family really helped by coming out to run or donating as a silent runner. They also helped promote the event through their own FB pages or emails. Many also donated MORE than the entry fee, just out of the kindness of their hearts.
I can proudly say we have raised enough money to support our whole season. That has NEVER happened to me as a coach! Last year by the time we got to State, I was borrowing money just to get there! We were even able to get brand new Brooks uniforms for the kids, and a huge surprise package came for them last week- NEW SPIKES. The kind man that's over Brooks ID donated my team a box of spikes that had been used on displayed, etc from last year. They are all brand new and beautiful! The awesome part is that we haven't given them to the kids yet. We're saving them until the week before our first meet. After the kids have worked hard a few weeks, they will get the big surprise. :)
THANK YOU TO ALL THAT SUPPORTED MY BEARS!
I hope all forever Run Happy!
Ps. I also posted YESTERDAY; so you may want to scroll down and read that train wreck.