Episode 21

Lets Talk: 

Peachtree Road Race Follow Up with Jay Holder & Rich Kenah of Atlanta Track Club

by | Sep 1, 2020 | Episodes | 0 comments

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In this episode of The Run Wave Podcast, Kim talks with Jay Holder, Director of Marketing, and Rich Kenah, Executive Director of Atlanta Track Club.  We get into the decision making process behind the lottery for The 2020 Peachtree Road Race, amidst an ongoing pandemic.  Why refunds were offered initially, and not when the race turned virtual.  We also get into salaries, and how the ATC has had to make adjustments, and future adjustments to staff.

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Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Kim: [00:00:00] If you listened to the last episode of the show, you know, it was all about the Atlanta track club and the Peachtree road race. Well, on this episode, I have the executive director of ATC and also their director of marketing coming up now.

[00:00:24] Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of The Run Wave Podcast. Today I have R ich of Atlanta track club and also Jay of Atlanta Track Club. So welcome to the show gentlemen. Of course, if you can just, uh, reintroduce yourselves and just tell us what your positions are within the organization.

[00:00:45] Jay Holder: [00:00:45] Sure. All right, I’ll go first.

[00:00:48] My name is Jay Holder. I’m the director of marketing and communications for Atlanta track club.

[00:00:53] Rich Kenah: [00:00:53] And my name is Rich Kenah  and I am. The, the executive director here at Atlanta track club. And [00:01:00] also with that title comes the title of race director of the AJC Peachtree Road Race. Okay.

[00:01:06] Kim: [00:01:06] I want to thank Jay for reaching out to me.

[00:01:08] Um, I did tag you guys on my post because I wanted you to see the episode and, you know, just get an idea of the perspective of a runner, how a runner would feel about, you know, what went on with the Peachtree road race. So I know you listened to that episode and you had. Some responses since some of what I said.

[00:01:27] So I’ll let, uh, Jay, if you want to go first.

[00:01:33] Jay Holder: [00:01:33] Yeah. I mean, I have a fastest return in a second, but you know, I think that one of the things for us, it’s important to take any opportunity to respond, to feedback, whether positive or negative to the things that we do. I’m here at Atlanta track club, whether that be from a member or a participant or someone with a platform like yourself, like it’s really important for us to have those conversations and two to one share our perspective with people, but then also, um, learn is devoid of a learning [00:02:00] experience.

[00:02:00] So, um, we appreciate that. I had the opportunity to come on.

[00:02:04] Rich Kenah: [00:02:04] And, and if I could add to that, Kim, I believe it or not, I have not actually listened to your last podcast. Um, why

[00:02:12] Jay Holder: [00:02:12] you should have,

[00:02:14] Rich Kenah: [00:02:14] I know I should have my, and Jay gave me a summary and what your, my time sort of this last week has been spent trying to have one on one conversations like this.

[00:02:27] To give some, some insight into how we got to this point. And for us, one of the things that I’m proud of about this organization, uh, is that we take from the community very seriously. Uh, and, and when we made this announcement last week, we had. No call it just over 10 of our 20 some odd staffers, dedicated, focused to responding, [00:03:00] communicating with those that we heard from who had questions, comments, concerns.

[00:03:06] About how our decision impacted them. So appreciate the fact that you are now giving us the opportunity to talk directly to you.

[00:03:16] Kim: [00:03:16] Now, what, I have a couple of questions from myself and also from members of Atlanta track club, because some of your members have reached out to me. They heard the show and you know, they, they just wanted to know.

[00:03:28] What is going on? What went into your decision making process and what’s going on with your memberships going forward? So first, what, what was the process like for you all deciding to move ahead with the lottery for 2020,

[00:03:45] Rich Kenah: [00:03:45] I’ll jump in there if you’re okay with that, Jay. So we came out of. Uh, what was a big weekend for us here in Atlanta?

[00:03:55] We called it America’s marathon weekend. It was on a marathon. It [00:04:00] was the Olympic trials. Uh, and we were approaching our normal registration period, March 15th of March 31st. And that was right. Sort of as the pandemic was. And there were sort of lots of predictions, but no one knew much beyond that. There was going to be some sort of temporary pause in, in large numbers of people.

[00:04:27] Yeah. So we had to, we had to first decision we had to make do we continue with our registration period and, and obviously we made the decision. We don’t know enough at this point, to be able to, to say that this race isn’t happening on July 4th. So we are absolutely full throttle planning for our Peachtree on July 4th.

[00:04:48] So we invested ourselves in that process. Yeah. And then once we got through registration period, and we, we looked at what the models were [00:05:00] showing for the first few weeks, the models were showing. Actually up until when we made the announcement, the models were showing that there would be an ed point in the summer, specifically in that early July period when it got hot and people were outside that there, you could potentially have an event like each trip.

[00:05:19] So we waited as long as we could to see whether that was going to be a reality. We announced on May 1st that there was too much unknown. That our medical community. When we do a race for 60,000 people, you are hyper reliant on the metal. We recognize, we realized we would not going to be able to have it on July 4th.

[00:05:41] So at that point, we’ll right. As we were heading into the announcement, we consulted with infectious disease doctors, our normal medical branch, the city of Atlanta, and, and we collectively decided that we need to postpone. And we had a bunch of dates that we looked at and Thanksgiving, Debbie [00:06:00] was this almost as perfect storm for us.

[00:06:03] It was far enough beyond, uh, the, the peaks of what the virus look to too. We looked when the virus is going to peak one, two, It was far enough into the year that we got beyond all of the other events that had already been rescheduled in Atlanta. For example, you couldn’t do something on labor day, you couldn’t do something on Columbus day.

[00:06:27] So we leaned into the fact that Thanksgiving is the most popular day in the United States to run a race. Uh, and so we made that decision for group four, but

[00:06:38] Kim: [00:06:38] don’t you already have a race on Thanksgiving?

[00:06:41] Rich Kenah: [00:06:41] Yes, it’s a good point. In fact, we made the hard, the difficult decision to cancel that race and put the Peachtree on Thanksgiving

[00:06:50] Kim: [00:06:50] now, is that because the Peachtree is such a large race that you made that decision, because I know that you have Thanksgiving race as a part of a series.

[00:06:59] Rich Kenah: [00:06:59] Correct. [00:07:00] It’s part of the triple P series one, two. It is a another event that is laid in with tradition here. Um, but yeah, if you were to handicap, could you see where it went together? The peace tree has been around for only, almost twice as long. The peach tree is probably four times as large. Uh, and this organization, at least a good portion of this organization’s DNA, its reputation is built around the Peachtree.

[00:07:34] So we wanted to do all that we could to bring the Peachtree to life.

[00:07:39] Kim: [00:07:39] I believe the Peachtree road race at this not on July 4th.

[00:07:43] Jay Holder: [00:07:43] That’s a great question,

[00:07:45] Rich Kenah: [00:07:45] history that everybody knows, but when we made the decision on May 1st to go in that direction, we, in a short period of time, we, we changed, changed the color scheme.

[00:07:58] We changed the. [00:08:00] Uh, the theme, we changed everything so that it could potentially be a Thanksgiving day celebration in sort of around a very difficult year that everybody got through, uh, as best they could. Uh, and then I hours and hours and hours of what I would call a task force made up of our own internal staff, where we looked at the mitigation efforts that we look to to roll out so that we can have the event on Thanksgiving.

[00:08:33] We, we saw, uh, a spike that, that just continued with no sign that we would get to Thanksgiving in a way it could be shit more about it. Uh, and knowing that we were heading towards September one, August 31st, when we were relaunching registration, we were wanting to make sure we got ahead of it as much as we could make that announcement.

[00:08:59] Boy [00:09:00] purchase. What’s a really long explanation. I’m sorry, but those are the steps that we took

[00:09:03] Jay Holder: [00:09:03] now. Can I add two things

[00:09:04] Kim: [00:09:04] to that real quick?

[00:09:05] Jay Holder: [00:09:05] Sorry, go ahead. The first, I would say one of the Thanksgiving date and how we have another race that actually played, I think in our favor, because one of the things that we were really conscious of when we were deciding the new date was.

[00:09:18] This virus is going to disrupt the way of life in Atlanta. Instead of time, we wanted to, we wanted to pick a weekend. We had something happening on it because is disrupt traffic. They disrupt businesses. And so to say, okay, we’re going to move the Peachtree to another weekend. And then we’re going to do Thanksgiving on this weekend.

[00:09:35] It’s just another weekend where businesses would be impacted. Traffic would be in packets. We thought, okay, this will minimize the impact on the city. If we move into a different three different weekends. So I think that was part of the reason that we were okay with. Not okay with, but made the decision to cancel the Thanksgiving day half, because we wanted to, to, just, to just not bulk up and the number of weekends in the fall that we were starting track.

[00:09:57] Kim: [00:09:57] Did you get any input from any of your [00:10:00] members on, on what they would think of the Peachtree being held on Thanksgiving instead of July four?

[00:10:07] Rich Kenah: [00:10:07] We did. We didn’t not do a mass survey.

[00:10:10] Jay Holder: [00:10:10] But we have

[00:10:12] Rich Kenah: [00:10:12] ambassadors. We have run leads, a lot of different constituent groups that we interact with on a daily basis.

[00:10:21] What we have found through survey. If you just put out a large survey, you’re going to get a sort of this, this huge wide variation, and it’s going to look, it’s sort of like poker and sort of anything that you do. Uh, and we decided that we had. We were more informed if you will. Um, the elements that we were we’re facing in terms of the health and safety, in terms of what the infectious disease doctors were telling us in terms of what the city was telling us, to be able to make the decision with a smaller focus group, rather than surveying the 45,000 people who have registered at that point.

[00:10:59] Kim: [00:10:59] So I want to [00:11:00] loop back around to the lottery because I’ve found the patriarchy is for four years, I’m an, a new Yorker as well. Most of my listeners know, but I visit Atlanta frequently. So I’m on your email list. I was getting the emails and, um, I saw that a refund as an option if something was to occur.

[00:11:20] So if you thought that the race would happen on Thanksgiving, why was there a refund option? If you enter the lottery or register for the race.

[00:11:31] Rich Kenah: [00:11:31] So it’s a good question. So when we. Came out of that initial registration period. And we were moving towards May 1st and, and we were, and continues to operate in an industry where standard fare is, is to have people register, uh, under the understanding that this is a nonrefundable entry fee.

[00:11:54] We wanted to stay above sort of that floor. We wanted to over deliver on what that minimum [00:12:00] standard. So we thought was really important. And that in that period to give people an option. So we gave them the option for a refund, the option for deferment the option for virtual, uh, the option to donate their dollars to lunch.

[00:12:18] So yes, enough, just go round. We did offer refunds yeah. In an environment that was uncertain. Uh, and in a way that we didn’t necessarily have to. And I, and I, and I know that that sort of sound sounds sort of raw coming from, for me at that point, but I was proud of the fact that we tried to go above and beyond, and that the first period

[00:12:42] Kim: [00:12:42] now, if was there a clause in your.

[00:12:47] Fine print saying that if you didn’t take the refund, now you were not getting that refund later. If we flip this over, over virtual. Cause that was a lot of the complaints in your comments was that we weren’t told that if this race [00:13:00] doesn’t happen, it’s going virtual. We’re not being offered a refund at the later date.

[00:13:05] Rich Kenah: [00:13:05] Yeah. And I, and I think that is a, that is a fair and legitimate. Complaint and concern and feedback that we did not say to the community at large on May 1st. And if you don’t take this now you lost any other option because at point honest with you, we thought we had two options person and emergency. So I think that is an absolute unfair criticism for the second time around that we did not give people the option.

[00:13:35] Kim: [00:13:35] So, is that fair to your cause? I would. I’m not, I don’t know, but I would assume a good bulk of the people that register for the race are Atlanta track club members.

[00:13:44] Rich Kenah: [00:13:44] Okay.

[00:13:46] Kim: [00:13:46] So is that fair to your, to the members that they weren’t told upfront that they would not receive a refund? If this race went virtual,

[00:13:58] Rich Kenah: [00:13:58] is it fair to our members?

[00:14:02] [00:14:00] Kim: [00:14:02] Cause this is what I’m reading. This is what a lot of people are saying that they weren’t told if they were told maybe they would have taken that refund upfront.

[00:14:09] Rich Kenah: [00:14:09] Yeah. And I, and I, and I, as the executive director has a race director of I’ll own that and say, we’re feeling our way through this pandemic, like everyone else.

[00:14:18] Uh, and hindsight, uh, is. What people say is if I had the opportunity to go back and, and to lay out more clearly knowing where we are with coronavirus now. Yeah. I would absolutely take that option. I would add that if you are a member of the track club, uh, the track club and you get all of our, uh, all of our cards.

[00:14:44] Kim: [00:14:44] Well, I had to unsubscribe actually, because yeah, when. When this was going on and like the March, I think you guys were sending out a very excessive amount of emails and it seemed quite insensitive to me, you know, since I’m from New York and we were in the midst of the [00:15:00] pandemic. So yeah. I had to pull back from Atlanta track club, unfortunately.

[00:15:06] Jay Holder: [00:15:06] Okay.

[00:15:06] Rich Kenah: [00:15:06] And then that, that’s actually a good point if I could, if I could talk about that for a second and I’ll toss it to you, just in terms of how in those first few days, that first week of registration. What we were doing and what we learned. Yeah, no,

[00:15:21] Jay Holder: [00:15:21] that’s a good point. And I, and I kind of did in my email to you.

[00:15:23] So there’s, there’s two things there. The first, uh, are admittedly our marketing efforts are targeted to Atlanta because 90% of our field at the peace tree are in Atlanta and Atlanta was not New York and mid-March. Um, and I, you know, I will say I was not looking through the lens of a person who lives in New York city when sending out those first communications.

[00:15:45] And I think if I had been, it would have been much, much different case. Um, but about, I’d say four to five days into our typical registration blitz, which is a playbook we follow every year. You know, we’ve got four, 15 days to register people. We’re going to [00:16:00] remind them as often as possible because when that deadline hits, there’s no other options.

[00:16:03] So we’ve, you know, every year we have, I would say a fairly aggressive email and digital campaign to get

[00:16:07] Rich Kenah: [00:16:07] people to register

[00:16:09] Jay Holder: [00:16:09] four to five days into this year. As we kept reading the headlines and seeing what was happening, we. Rich to myself. And, uh, one of our Ben marketing managers got on a call and just said, we need to, we need to retool this whole thing.

[00:16:20] And we pulled back drastically. Now I imagine that was probably after you unsubscribed, but we really did. We, um, we’ve limited the frequency of our emails. I think we sent two more after those initial quarter, five days, um, understanding that that, that the tone seemed. Fairly tone, deaf to what was happening in the Atlanta community by that point and the rest of the country.

[00:16:41] So, uh, we did retool, but it’s, as we said earlier, this is, this has been a learning process for us the entire time. So, you know, I think we, we came out of the gate strong, realized that it was probably not the right approach in format.

[00:16:52] Kim: [00:16:52] Hmm. So for your members that, you know, I spoke with one of my friends who is a member, and she said that she has called you your [00:17:00] offices and voiced her concerns.

[00:17:01] Are you offering like any deferrals instead of a refund to 2021 PO possibly?

[00:17:09] Rich Kenah: [00:17:09] No. So what we, what we announced. Last week and, and what we are saying to them, our members and nonmembers alike, those who had already registered, who were still in of the person who automatically moved you over to the virtual race.

[00:17:23] So we said, Hey, listen, all of these mitigation ideas that we can recognize, and we realized that. Maybe we could put on a race, it wouldn’t have been the Peachtree. So we’re going to invest all of our time and effort and our focus into delivering the tool. So to your point, first time around, we offered refunds and deferrals this time we said, Hey, we’re going to go all in.

[00:17:49] With the best in class virtual experience

[00:17:54] Kim: [00:17:54] being based in New York, I’m used to New York road runners. Those are kind of your [00:18:00] competitors. So how do you feel that your policy is kind of matched up against theirs? Because they have offered refunds for all of their races or deferrals, um, or credit. For every single race that they offer.

[00:18:14] And I know it’s a different, you know, they’re a huge organization, it’s, it’s different, but how do you feel that you guys are matching up against your competitors in that aspect?

[00:18:24] Rich Kenah: [00:18:24] So I’ll, I’ll answer real briefly and then toss it over to Jay. There’s a few, a few thoughts. That number one, I think we see New York road runners as friends, colleagues, collaborators, not necessarily competitors cause we’re in different markets.

[00:18:37] Very much the same in terms of mission focused. Type organization. Uh, I am proud of that. The fact that we. Provide refunds for everyone in the beginning of her, of our call here, we talked. What about our things giving day race, uh, our trip and that referring to our triple PHR series. So we were able to [00:19:00] provide a full run refund for the people.

[00:19:02] Uh, who had already registered for the 10 miler and for Thanksgiving day. And we have provided a refund for virtually every other event that we do, um, a calendar, which has roughly 30 a year. And the last thing that I would add, and this does not, this is not an attempt. Uh, to, to distract from the concerns that you and others have is the price point of the track clubs, events are sufficiently and significantly lower than what the market rate is like.

[00:19:35] New York city. It’s expensive to be in New York city. Uh, to

[00:19:39] Kim: [00:19:39] really our racism memory races are $18, the larger races plus a little bit more, but the smaller

[00:19:46] Rich Kenah: [00:19:46] races are free. Oh sure. The ones for the track level.

[00:19:51] Kim: [00:19:51] Yeah.

[00:19:52] Rich Kenah: [00:19:52] Um, and again, we’re not, we’re not competitors. We’re New York Rogan. They’re very different in that way.

[00:19:57] I may have stepped on somebody like your thoughts [00:20:00] on this.

[00:20:01] Jay Holder: [00:20:01] No, I, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know the internal dealings of the New York Roadrunners. I know, you know, just like they’ve been in situations before where they’re approaching something for the first time. That’s

[00:20:10] Rich Kenah: [00:20:10] really

[00:20:11] Jay Holder: [00:20:11] what we’re in here. Uh, and I think the proximity of when our, when our next race was coming up, And how big of a, a, of a revenue driver and a piece of what we do Peachtree has played a big, big part in it.

[00:20:25] So, um, yeah, I can’t really speak to what the Roadrunners are doing and what they’ve done. And I know they provide fantastic customer service and have really managed it.

[00:20:35] Kim: [00:20:35] I got problems with them sometimes, too. They’re not perfect. They’ve handled this. Situation quite well. I must say

[00:20:44] Jay Holder: [00:20:44] I agree. I mean, from what all I’ve seen, I’m really impressed with what they’ve done and how they pivoted the marathon.

[00:20:48] I was there the year that I was, I was there working with my former job that year that the marathon was canceled. And I know that was a huge learning experience from them. And I know that that, you know, Six years [00:21:00] later has provided seven years later has provided a lot of, a lot of guidance in how they, and how they steer a steer through prices in the future.

[00:21:07] So I’m really impressed with what they’ve done

[00:21:10] Kim: [00:21:10] now, Jay, I want to know what was up with you and those responses on social media, because some of them were like very snippy and I mean, I don’t know, you know, I read a couple of them on the show and to me, they read a little off putting, so I don’t know how the members felt.

[00:21:28] With you responding to them in that way.

[00:21:31] Jay Holder: [00:21:31] So I’ll point out the one you read on the, on the show. And I don’t know of any others, cause that’s, that’s the only one I heard. Um, well, first we worked really hard, as I said at the beginning to, to respond to every comment that we got. Um, whether it be just responding to the thread on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, sending them a personal email, or I sent a lot of people in my phone number and talked to a lot of people in the crowd.

[00:21:52] Uh, and, and many of those conversations did not end with us. Agreeing or did not end with the person [00:22:00] getting the answer they wanted. And I knew that going into it, but I felt like it was important to have a conversation, a social media as I’m sure, you know, as well as I do is not the great, the best place to actually talk to a person.

[00:22:11] The one that you pointed out in particular? Um, I think that there’s some context that was, was missing there, so that that person had talked to someone on our, on our, uh, on our team or her husband I’d rather, um, and was not satisfied with how that conversation went. And I didn’t hear that conversation. Um, but she indicated.

[00:22:30] Earlier on in the comments that she was not satisfied with how that conversation went. And so when I responded, because I didn’t want to leave her comment hanging there, uh, one of the things I said was, you know, I would offer to call you, but it’s, you know, that has already, and, and it didn’t go the way you wanted it to go.

[00:22:46] And when I said I did not talk to her husband, I meant, I personally did not talk to her husband because she had indicated earlier that she spoke with a woman. Um, and, um, so I, but, but I think you bring up a good point. Tone does not come [00:23:00] across well on social media and in emails. And for me, I, you know, I don’t read them as snippy, but when I read a snippy, you might and vice versa.

[00:23:09] So that is why I try to have as many opportunities. A call people as I could, because I feel like you get to a better or understanding of a person that you see a person as a person, you understand their points. And again, you might not agree and you might not be able to give them that answer they want, but you can at least have a conversation with a person and understand where they’re coming from a lot better.

[00:23:27] So that was really the direction I tried to steer everything in. I spent, I spent most of that day, Wednesday on the phone with people and, you know, I would say. 90% of the conversations I had on the phone. Yeah. I ended with a mutual understanding. Not again, not, I didn’t end up best friends with a whole lot of people.

[00:23:44] There’s this one woman who I’ve promised a beer to when she runs by my house on Thanksgiving day, I’m doing her virtual race, but that’s why I tried to steer as many conversations to the phone or to offline email as possible, because I think that. It’s really easy to misread or to [00:24:00] misunderstand or to take out of context, things that happen in a social media forum.

[00:24:04] Kim: [00:24:04] Okay. Thank you for explaining that. Cause you know, we, Tom definitely comes across different ways as different people online. So I’m glad that you cleared that up. So I have a couple of questions from one of your members. They wanted me to ask you these questions. Um, are you refunding any membership fees or giving a reduction in fees for 2020

[00:24:25] Rich Kenah: [00:24:25] short answer?

[00:24:26] For right now is no. Uh, we are looking for at 2021 and, and saying, how can we make your member experience that much better? You have tried. So 2020th, sort of this lat last year for so many people, for so many different reasons, we try to deliver those same member benefits, uh, as best we can. So, you know, this weekend we have another virtual race that’s free.

[00:24:58] Uh, for our [00:25:00] members. We have a grand Prix series that we tried to keep intact. We try to deliver the member gift, but the reality is there’s a big hole on July 4th. We just have not found a way to fill back in yet. And we’ve chosen to try to make something special out of Thanksgiving and build back act or next year.

[00:25:22] So the short answer is no, but trying to figure out how we make that up to our members in a way that is meaningful for them.

[00:25:33] Kim: [00:25:33] Um, go ahead.

[00:25:35] Jay Holder: [00:25:35] I would say that Dana, one of our biggest tasks that we recognize is that, you know, we have to trust and, and loyalty and affinity is earned. And, you know, this, this decision is going to erode some of that trust and affinity and loyalty from people.

[00:25:52] So we have a big task ahead of us. It’s, it’s, it’s reminding people why they’re members, why they want to be members and what we can offer them. And so [00:26:00] that’s a conversation that I’d say is it’s happening daily is, as we understand that that’s, that’s, that’s kind of the task at hand for us. Right?

[00:26:07] Kim: [00:26:07] I’m also one of your members.

[00:26:10] They mentioned that most people would get. The ATC membership to get guaranteed entry into Peachtree. And, um, something about this, you get yeah, six free races and discounts from other races. And they’re not getting that this year. So how is, are you compensating for that?

[00:26:31] Rich Kenah: [00:26:31] Jay. Do you want to take that?

[00:26:32] Jay Holder: [00:26:32] Yeah, so yeah, I mean, we have not being able to put on the free events that we put on.

[00:26:36] So our membership comes with just $35 for an individual. It does get you the guaranteed entry into Peachtree, which as you point out now is, is not so much of a, a benefit this year in this 2020 craziness. Um, our free events have not been able to be held because we can’t get the permits or can’t gather safely in the areas that we, that we generally hold them.

[00:26:56] We have transitioned them all to virtual, which. I know for a lot [00:27:00] of people, it’s not the same. I’ve never been a fan of virtual reading myself. Um, but it, but in a year where there are no road races, I’ll take it. So we’ve transitioned them all to virtual. We’ll try to really add some new challenges into it.

[00:27:12] Um, again, it’s kind of making do with what we have. So we’re doing a, a virtual cross country race next next week, or next month rather, uh, we’re doing a, uh, prepping for Peachtree 10 K in October. And again, it’s all free. Um, you know, we track your results online. We’re doing some cool social media interactions.

[00:27:28] So we’re doing that. We’ll continue to the discounts. So I’ll continue to remain. So we have discounts with a number of our, a number of our partners and sponsors, waffle house being a big one, Mizuno. It was our, our, our footwear and apparel partner and then discounts with all the running stores. So all those benefits remain intact.

[00:27:43] Um, there’s also discounts from the Georgia aquarium, uh, the Atlanta journal constitution, which is the title partner reach tree. All those remained intact. The big one, as you point out that it’s not, there is the guaranteed entry for Peachtree. Um, so as was pointed out, we are looking for ways to deliver on that and in 2020.

[00:28:00] [00:28:00] Rich Kenah: [00:28:00] Okay. Jim, if you’re okay.

[00:28:01] Jay Holder: [00:28:01] I’d like to add to that. Is

[00:28:03] Rich Kenah: [00:28:03] that for, for, for your listeners and our members who are listeners to hear, uh, our, our membership has grown significantly. Over the last 10 years. Uh, we, we have more than 33,000 well ANC members. Um, but yeah, in any given year, only about half of those people participate in the Peachtree.

[00:28:27] So yes, a large number of people register for that guaranteed entry to Peachtree. But one of the things that the club is proud of is that over, or these last seven, eight years, we started to allow our other programming, um, so that it is standalone, so that there is, is value. Add to your membership beyond that Peachtree we’ve made some big progress, but in a year when there is coronavirus that we feel that evermore.

[00:28:55] Because we’re not delivered. We’re not able to deliver those. Like.

[00:28:59] Jay Holder: [00:28:59] I’ll [00:29:00] add one more thing to that. And I’m sorry, this answers longer than you wanted it to debate. But when this happened and we realized that we’re not going to be able to hold it, the in-person races that are the bread and butter of our organization, we got together and said, what can we do to remind people that we provide value?

[00:29:14] And we, you know, we were still here for them as a running community. So we launched that a free content platform called the distance back in April. Uh, and every week we have three to five live exercise classes that everybody can take part in. We put a number of free training articles on their nutrition advice, things that just keep people active and moving.

[00:29:33] And yeah, same quite frankly, during a time when we’re all quarantine. So we’ve tried to find the things that add value to people’s membership and, um, add a value to, to their daily running routine. Um, you know, for, for, for some people without the, without the races, it’s just not the same, but we’re, we’re doing the best we can in times that we haven’t operated

[00:29:53] Kim: [00:29:53] before.

[00:29:54] So how has the pandemic affected Atlanta track club? Cause you listen to that still, Jay, I read [00:30:00] off your salaries on the show because you mentioned you were a nonprofit, so I wanted to know where the money was going. So have you cut staff? What’s changed Atlanta track club.

[00:30:09] Rich Kenah: [00:30:09] Sure. So I’ll answer that. It falls under my role.

[00:30:14] Well, here as the race director and the executive director. So in the spring, Uh, we reduced the weight started out the year with roughly 30 staff, full time staff. And we unfortunately had to, as results of the, the pandemic we laid off free staff, uh, and as. The coronavirus pandemic has continued and we’ve had to continue to, to postpone or cancel or reduce offerings, uh, paid offerings.

[00:30:47] Uh, we, I have tried to manage, uh, reserves as best we can. So we have completed a significant amount of our reserves, uh, to get us through this year. But when we reduced our [00:31:00] workforce back in the spring, I made the commitment to our remaining staff. We would make it through this year without having to lay anyone else off.

[00:31:11] So we are going to see that through, but, uh, we are going and to experience. So, and my approach as a leader of the organization is, uh, sort of a. Sounds cliche when an offer one on one for all type of grudge with everyone in the organization is going to experience each one month furlough. Uh, and as the leader of the organization, I need to take.

[00:31:37] Biggest hit on that in terms of what my salary, a percentage reduction as compared to everybody else.

[00:31:44] Kim: [00:31:44] So that’s good to hear. I think your members would be happy that, you know, they’re not losing out on their fees and you know, everyone’s taken a hit this year. We all know that. And I don’t want to make this show to you all.

[00:31:56] I just wanted to give the perspective from a [00:32:00] runner because, you know, we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. So I’m happy that you guys. What we’re able to come on and let us know what’s going on and what you all went through and trying to put this race on this year. So before we go, I want to ask you one more question that always grinds my gears.

[00:32:18] Why, why do we pick up the metal at the expo for Peachtree road race? I’d never understood that

[00:32:27] Jay Holder: [00:32:27] I can take that because I heard you talk about it on the show. And I thought, Oh, I got to make notes on that. So I know that you’re, you’re not a native Atlanta, neither. Um, the thing that I learned, the first thing I learned on day one on the job at Atlanta track club is don’t mess with the shirt.

[00:32:42] The shirt is the thing, and I know you don’t like

[00:32:44] Kim: [00:32:44] the shirt. No, I don’t like the shirt.

[00:32:47] Jay Holder: [00:32:47] There are, there’s a line of Atlantans that would disagree with you here. Like, I mean, it is just, it is, it is a tradition, like you’ve never seen,

[00:32:53] Kim: [00:32:53] but I liked the designing and the process. I don’t like your shirts. I’m sorry.

[00:32:58] They are terrible.

[00:33:00] [00:33:00] Jay Holder: [00:33:00] Yeah. And that’s always been divisive. Like we’ve been in the same materials since I’ve been here, but I know it’s been a textured in the past. It’s been. Plain old cotton in the past. And I, you know, when you’ve got 60,000 people, I think that being able to find a solution that everybody loves is nearly impossible.

[00:33:17] But I would say generally the feedback on the material of the shirt is favorable, but of course there are people like yourself who don’t like it, and that’s something now.

[00:33:26] Kim: [00:33:26] No,

[00:33:26] Jay Holder: [00:33:26] JJ, can

[00:33:27] Rich Kenah: [00:33:27] I add an office operational element of, to, to the pizza, the church and the metal conversation. So this past year was a 50th running of the Peachtree.

[00:33:36] As I’m sure you well know. Uh, and we toyed with the idea. So this was in 2019 of, uh, delivering a special 50th commemorative metal to everyone when they came across the finish line, um, finish line, uh, at the Peachtree, uh, is what I, what I would consider sort of a wonder world to [00:34:00] move 60,000 people.

[00:34:02] Through that finish line through the shoot, through the t-shirt area, through the water area in a way that does not create the bottleneck is just this incredible engineering feat. Alright. I got enough pushback from long time volunteers who have been on this organization. Long before I was and staff we’ve been here long before Jane.

[00:34:24] I were that if you need to be really careful, because you might think that this, this metal handing it out of the finish line on the right before, right after the shirts is great, but we can’t try try that in real time with 60,000 people, because we might back up the race two miles up the road. So that’s why we chose to stick with that tradition.

[00:34:44] Build it around the t-shirt. Uh, and, and continue the focus on that t-shirt design and then serve the feeling of sort of, I love the tee [00:35:00] shirt or I hate the tee shirt finish line.

[00:35:06] Kim: [00:35:06] I’m on behave, the tee shirt, the tee shirt, not the design, the tee shirt. I think you guys need to get women’s fit. T-shirts.

[00:35:17] And I like my metal at the finish line because last year I forgot to bring the metal. So I had to borrow someone else’s metal to take a picture with my metal at the fit. And the year before that I forgot the metal entirely at the expo. Yeah.

[00:35:29] Rich Kenah: [00:35:29] And I assume those are those are your, your, your metals proudly displayed over.

[00:35:33] Yeah.

[00:35:33] Kim: [00:35:33] These are my medals. I had to take the, a lot of them out. Cause you know, falls off the wall.

[00:35:40] Jay Holder: [00:35:40] Yeah, I see the New York city marathon went back.

[00:35:43] Kim: [00:35:43] I have all my marathon medals here.

[00:35:45] Jay Holder: [00:35:45] Yeah. Yeah. If

[00:35:46] Rich Kenah: [00:35:46] you don’t, I know you’re supposed to be asking us questions, but we’d love to see what, what the others in the industry are doing.

[00:35:52] What’s your favorite metal? I

[00:35:54] Kim: [00:35:54] really love last year’s New York city metal. It was like a Apple.

[00:36:00] [00:35:59] Rich Kenah: [00:35:59] Wow. Yeah, that is nice.

[00:36:01] Kim: [00:36:01] Yeah. And the one before that was really good as well. It was a, it was just had the, you know, lady Liberty. So like if you put an Atlanta landmark on it, that would be nice.

[00:36:11] Jay Holder: [00:36:11] Simple and clean.

[00:36:12] That’s your, yeah,

[00:36:13] Kim: [00:36:13] yeah, yeah. And I have a really ugly one, but it’s really creative from gasoline. Yeah. It’s, it’s ugly, but it’s, it’s nice.

[00:36:26] Jay Holder: [00:36:26] Every other race, every other big race we do, we do give metals and we have a graphic designer. Who’s brilliant at coming up with metal ideas. For peace tree who just texted me actually, right when I said his name, the, uh, the peace tree for most people, the metal has always been the shirt.

[00:36:40] And so we’ve, we’ve, we, I would say invest more time and effort into making sure that this shows what people want and always open for feedback on the shirt though, because it is such a big part of the tradition.

[00:36:50] Kim: [00:36:50] So I want to thank you gentlemen, for being on the round wave podcast. I appreciate you reaching out to me and, you know, just kind of clearing the air.

[00:36:59] Cause I [00:37:00] know I went off on a little rant on you all. Deservedly, but I’m glad you came on to, you know, just give your side of things of habit went down and maybe I’ll be back for the future next year.

[00:37:12] Jay Holder: [00:37:12] I hope so. It was clear that you were passionate about running and were passionate about running. So I’m glad we had this conversation.

[00:37:17] Thanks for, thanks for giving us the time,

[00:37:20] Rich Kenah: [00:37:20] Kim. And thanks again for the time. If, if you decide to take a chance on us next year and so that we can rebuild some confidence. You’ve got my word that I will be setting at the finish line for a metal with you before you get to your teeth.

[00:37:34] Kim: [00:37:34] I appreciate that.

[00:37:36] Okay, fellas, thank you so much for being on

[00:37:38] Jay Holder: [00:37:38] Thanksgiving.

[00:37:41] Kim: [00:37:41] I would like to thank J holder and rich  of the Atlanta track club for being on The Run Wave Podcast and for clearing the air and answering my questions that I had about this race. I know a lot of you, especially Atlanta track club members had. Some questions that you wanted them to answer.

[00:37:59] And [00:38:00] I think they did a pretty good job at answering it. Um, you might still not be happy with what they had to say, but, you know, it’s your decision to either stay and support the on a track club or move on and support other road races and race directors in the Atlanta area. So thank you so much for tuning into this episode of tThe Run Wave Podcast, and I will catch you next time later.

[00:38:27] Thank you so much for tuning into the show to subscribe to The Run Wave on your favorite podcast app and leave us a review of the show on Apple podcasts. It would have really helped me out. If you are a runner at that has a story to tell, and you would like to be on the show. You can email. hello@therunwave.com or send us a DM on Instagram to the run wave.

[00:38:52] See you next time. [00:39:00]

The Run Wave Podcast will feature candid chats, with runners about real topics that affect the run community.

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