Category Archives: Blog

Chocolate Milk: An Effective Recovery Drink for Athletes

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There is a bit of math required when it comes to choosing the right recovery drink after a tough workout. First, there’s the “power hour” — the 30 to 45 minutes after a workout that an athlete has to maximize both the timing and benefits for an effective recovery regimen.

Then there’s the ratio of carbs to protein to aim for when it comes to selecting sports recovery drinks. Athletes should aim for a 3:1 carb to protein ratio — a scientifically proven way to refuel exhausted muscles. Pre-mixed chocolate milk post workout provides this key ratio, giving it the protein advantage over water and some other commercial sports recovery drinks.

There are many additional benefits of consuming lowfat chocolate milk after strenuous workouts such as:

  • High-quality protein to stimulate muscle repair and growth
  • A 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein scientifically proven to replenish muscle glycogen (muscle fuel) quickly
  • Replenishes tired muscles
  • Provides fluids and electrolytes — like calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium — to rehydrate and help replenish critical nutrients lost in sweat
  • Contains five bone-building nutrients: calcium, vitamin D, protein, phosphorus and potassium



Muscle soreness is a fact of life for an athlete. A great muscle recovery tip when you train hard is to drink lowfat chocolate milk post-sweat. Studies have found that those who drank regular or flavored milk after a rigorous workout experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage than those who drank typical sports drinks or water.1,2

After a tough workout, chocolate milk helps muscles recover quickly to their peak potential and helps replenish fluids and critical nutrients lost in sweat. Chocolate milk as part of proper post-workout nutrition can help to repair and rebuild damaged muscles. More than 20 studies support the benefits of recovering with the high-quality protein and nutrients in lowfat chocolate milk after a tough workout.

In one recent study, post-exercise muscle biopsies in eight moderately trained male runners showed improved muscle building after drinking 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports recovery drink with the same amount of calories. This enhancement is a sign that muscles were better able to repair and rebuild.1



Some studies suggest drinking lowfat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout could help athletes boost power and even improve training times in their next bout of exercise later that same day, compared to when they drink a carbohydrate sports drink.

An Indiana University study found endurance-trained cyclists who drank lowfat chocolate milk after an intense period of cycling were able to work out longer and with more power during a second exercise period compared to when they drank a commercial carbohydrate replacement drink. They also exercised just as long as when they consumed a traditional fluid replacement drink.2



Drinking lowfat chocolate milk after a workout is a great way for athletes to get proper post-workout nutrition and to begin the sports recovery process. Tough exercise regimens require athletes to pay close attention to diet, and there are many benefits of chocolate milk consumption after a workout. As part of a proper post-workout nutrition plan, it is imperative to replenish depleted muscles. Chocolate milk contains nine essential nutrients, including some not typically found in many sports recovery drinks, including:

  • Electrolytes including calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium.
  • Fluids to rehydrate.
  • Protein to repair and rebuild muscles.
  • B Vitamins for energy.
  • Calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, protein and potassium to build and maintain strong bones and reduce the risk for stress factors.
  • Vitamin A to support a healthy immune system and normal vision.


1  Lunn WR, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Anderson JM, Pasiakos SM, Ferrando AA, Wolfe RR, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk consumption following endurance exercise affects skeletal muscle protein fractional synthetic rate and intracellular signaling. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2010;42:S48.

2 Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Stager JM. Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2006;16:78-91.

Sourcing Vendors Survey Results

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Hundreds of Race Directors took part in the Sourcing Vendors survey to help identify the importance and
key issues when it comes to:

  • Sourcing vendors
  • Getting the best prices for the goods and services your event needs
  • Tracking orders

Producing Quality Events Within Budget Part I: Sourcing Vendors Survey Results

Join us for a RaceHQ Members exclusive Live Webinar on Thursday, December 3rd @11AM PST / 2PM EST where we will discuss all the survey results and dig deeper into these critical issues.

I’ll be joined by  Jamie Monroe, Director of Easy Day Sports and former Director for Competitor Group, Inc. where he served as GM of the NFL Run Series, Muddy Buddy, and the Tri Rock Triathlon Series.Register Now

Remember, this webinar is exclusively for RaceHQ Members. If you’re not yet a member, first create your free membership here. There’s absolutely no obligation and it takes seconds. Then, register for the webinar here.

Even if you can’t join us live, register and we’ll send you a link to the recorded webinar.

Hope you can join us!

President and Co-Founder of RaceHQ



New RaceHQ helps Race Directors produce quality events within budget

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Watch The Message To Race Directors:

Two weeks ago, we announced in our press release the new RaceHQ, our game-changing online marketplace where you will find amazing deals with top-rated vendors, on everything needed to produce quality events within budget.

The New RaceHQ:

  • Connects Race Directors with vetted and preferred vendors – Race Directors will now save time and have peace of mind by eliminating the time-consuming and frustrating process of sourcing and evaluating top-rated vendors.
  • Provides exceptional value on everything needed to produce an event – Race Directors will now be able to leverage the collective buying power of thousands of races for high-quality products and services at amazingly low prices.
  • Streamlines the process of submitting, managing, and tracking orders – Race Directors will now be able to know exactly when to submit orders and be able to track their process with multiple vendors all in one centralized location.

RaceHQ Membership is totally free for event managers and includes access to RaceHQ’s powerful event planning tool, exclusive invites to expert webinar series, virtual roundtables, downloadable templates, and more. Get started with a free RaceHQ Membership today or login here.

Get Started



Building a Successful Event Sponsorship Program for Mid-Sized Events

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We define mid-sized events as events with up to 5,000 participants and how you approach sponsorship can differ from that of a larger event. You still need disciplined sales practices about how you manage your time and your pipeline, but there are unique success factors that will help you land in-kind, cash, and media sponsors.

Unless your in-kind sponsor is also paying cash, limit their exposure to to product placement onsite at your event (e.g. XYZ energy drink at the finish line). This will also boost the value of your cash sponsorship packages, not only because you are giving in-kind sponsors incentive to upgrade their involvement the following year (with cash!) but you are also ensuring you do not end up with a dilutive sponsor ‘alphabet soup’ with 50+ logos on all your event marketing materials.

When it comes to cash sponsors, pursue regional and national companies with a strong brand and a local presence (such as a Volkswagen dealership). This will lend credibility and raise the profile of your event which will also helping you land other cash sponsors.

Media sponsors, however, really should be your first stop when building out your sponsorship program for a mid-sized event. Go after media partners in every category (TV, radio, print, etc.) by offering sponsorship benefits – much like you would to any other potential sponsor – in exchange for promotional inventory (e.g. 15-sec radio spots) you can use to promote your event while folding this in to your sponsorship packages as an added sponsor benefit to your cash sponsors.

Building a Successful Event Sponsorship Program for Small Events

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Whether you manage a small event (up to 500 participants) or a larger event many of the principals of building a successful event sponsorship program remain the same. You still need to build your sales materials and have a sales process in place. However, how you approach sponsorship can differ dramatically because your event does not have the same reach for a sponsor as a larger event.

When approaching in-kind sponsors go after local companies for budget relieving product (i.e. bananas, bagels, etc.), but also one that will serve to enhance the participant’s event experience and increase the profile of your event. For example, if you are able to secure your local Whole Foods Market then not only will you get food for your participants but a national brand attached to your event at the same time.

Cash sponsors for smaller events are harder to secure, but not if you take the right approach. Go after local companies that are heavily tied into the community that are accustomed to making cash “donations” to sports teams and leagues. Also be sure to tie in with a local charitable cause as this will make writing a check for the sponsor much more palatable if they know your event supports a worthy cause.

Lastly, be sure to pursue local media sponsors by pitching them great stories about your participants that could garner editorial coverage for your event. Tie in with a local charity and talk about how your event is helping to change lives. We are, after all, in the business of raising the self-esteem and self-confidence of millions of people and everyone loves a great story!

Building a Successful Event Sponsorship Program for Large Events

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Building a successful event sponsorship program for large events of 10,000 or more participants differs dramatically from small- to mid-sized events. Not only does it require a higher level of sophistication on behalf of you and your team, but the sponsor is also generally much more sophisticated and truly understands that sponsorship is simply another form of advertising. As such, the sponsor’s expectations will largely revolve around return on their investment as compared to other forms of advertising their product or service.

For in-kind sponsorships pursue sponsors that not only offer budget relief but that also have the ability to write a check. Often times in the negotiating process you can offer to accept more product than cash if the in-kind product also helps your bottom line. For example, a shoe and apparel company (e.g. Brooks) might be able to supply some or all of your participant tech-T’s in addition to their cash sponsorship.

Within cash sponsorships larger events have a wider range of endemic and non-endemic companies they may pursue. Generally speaking, because of their higher level of sophistication the sponsor will also likely spend more dollars to activate the sponsorship than a sponsor of a smaller event. As such, it will be important for you and your team not only to activate the sponsorship on your end effectively but to perform a 3rd-party sponsorship valuation to show a high return on investment for they know they are getting higher return than a traditional advertising medium.

When it comes to media sponsorships not only will you want to feed your media partners stories for editorial purposes and negotiate promotional inventory to fold into your sponsorship packages, but you will want to embark on joint-selling opportunities. Joint-selling with a media partner will open the door to potential sponsors you may not otherwise be in touch with on a regular basis, whereas your television partner may speak with these companies on an on-going basis. For example, up-selling Volkswagen into an advertising package that also includes sponsorship benefits to your event could be a win-win-win for all involved!

Version 2.0 is just around the corner

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As a fellow race director, I know how it important it is to manage the millions of details without letting anything slip through the cracks. That’s why I wanted to personally invite you to check out RaceHQ, a first-of-its-kind online project management tool for event managers.

With Version 2.0 just around the corner, we are excited to introduce our new pricing plans. And it’s not just about the software. New content is being added to daily, weekly, and monthly to help take your race to the next level!



NEW Member Benefits include:

Project Management Tool
Comprehensive set of features include workflow templates, calendar integration, task management, and the ability to collaborate with your race crew using any device.

Online Webinars by Industry Experts
Exclusive access to monthly online webinars by industry experts on various topics that will help you take your race to the next level.

Virtual Round Tables with Peers
‘Seating’ at our interactive round-tables forums with other event managers – just like you – discussing heated topics and best-practices within their events.

Downloadable Templates
Access to downloadable templates, including our popular Milestone Template, Sponsorship Benefits Matrix Template, and Event Budget Template.

Not only this, but we also think you’ll really like our NEW Pricing Plans:

No credit card, no commitment
Up to 5 members, Unlimited races

10 members, Unlimited races

25 members, Unlimited races

50 members, Unlimited races

I have been in the trenches of event management for a long time. Formerly, I was Vice President of Operations for Competitor Group, Inc. creators of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. Before that, I co-owned and operated the Denver Marathon and served as Commissioner of the Pro Cycling Tour. I founded RaceHQ to solve many of the common organizational problems race directors, including myself, encounter while planning events.

We look forward to supporting you and your team in producing quality events with the many benefits of being a RaceHQ Member

-Anton Villatoro
President & Co-Founder

How To Build a Successful Sponsorship Program

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In my previous webinar on ‘Permitting & Financing Your Event’, I discussed how to build a 12-month Cash Flow Summary for your event. Within that discussion, I demonstrated the importance of sponsorship revenue on your bottom line. If we assume that registration fees essentially cover the expenses to pull off the event, then you can quickly see how sponsorship revenue has everything to do with the profitability of your event. In short, if you want your event to be profitable (or you want something left over to go towards your charitable cause) you can’t ignore sponsorship.

I have a love/hate relationship with selling sponsorship. My track record proves that I’m actually quite good at it, although I don’t know anyone (ok, I know a few) that actually like doing it and I’m no exception. Selling sponsorship is like selling anything and requires a sales process like anything else. Give a good sales person the right tools and they can sell anything from underwear to software, and yes, even sponsorship. But where do you even begin?! Here are three steps to get you started:

Step 1: Take Inventory

Your first step is to create a ‘Sponsorship Benefits Matrix’. Before you can start selling, you need to know what you are selling and how much you have to sell at each sponsorship level. This can be done on a spreadsheet with ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’, ‘Bronze’ along the top columns and then all the possible sponsor benefits listed down the rows with check-marks determining which sponsors get what benefits. Once this exercise is complete you can start determining a value for each package based on benefits received and number of participants (or impressions) for your event. Keep in mind, potential sponsors will want a higher ROI than they could receive by buying traditional media.

Step 2: Build Your Sales Materials

Now that you know what each sponsor gets, it’s time to create your sales materials. First thing you’ll want to do is build your ‘Event Overview’ deck. This is the who, what, when, and where of your event. This will not only serve to get you that first meeting with a potential sponsor, but you’ll also likely use it to “sell” your event vision to the City, Contractors, Volunteers, and anyone you need to tell more about your event. You’ll also want to give a summary of all possible benefits available to a sponsor as you don’t yet know their marketing and business objectives nor their budget. Besides the ‘Event Overview’ deck, you’ll next want to create your ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’, and ‘Bronze’ Sponsorship Opportunity decks. Within these decks, you’ll drop in the various benefits from your Sponsorship Matrix only with more detail. After that first meeting with a potential sponsor, this is the deck you’ll customize and will serve as your “proposal”.

Step 3: Approach Media Partners

Before you start stuffing your sales pipeline with potential sponsors, it’s critical you build media value into your sponsorship program so your first stop should be pitching media partners (i.e. TV, radio, print, web, etc). Give them the same sponsorship benefits you would give a paying sponsor – value for value – in exchange for free media. So, let’s say one of your packages is valued at $5,000 and your local newspaper is willing to give you $5,000 worth of print ads then that’s a good deal. Now, you can go back to your Sponsorship Benefits Matrix and your sales materials and build that media value into your sponsorship program. Aside from their affiliation with a community-based event and exposure you will be giving them, your media partners might also want the opportunity to sell select benefits to your event as ‘Value Add’ to their advertisers. If one of their advertisers can also get the opportunity for onsite exposure at your event, then it’s a win-win-win and you might even secure additional sponsors you wouldn’t otherwise.

Now you’re ready to approach potential sponsors. Like all sales, it’s a numbers game. The more companies in your pipeline, the more deals you’re going to close. Be diligent about your sales process and how many companies you contact and follow-up with on a daily basis. Remember, sponsorship is just another medium for a company to advertise their product or service. Don’t lose site of what the sponsor is thinking. How will sponsoring your event help them meet their marketing and business objectives? Good luck and don’t get discouraged. You’ll get far more no’s than yes’s.

Be sure to tune in to my next webinar on sponsorship. We’ll do a deep dive into building a successful sponsorship program that will be sure to bring great results. Until then, let us know how we can help. If you’re a RaceHQ member and would like free access to this Sponsor Benefit Inventory Matrix, email us today.

– Anton Villatoro, President & Co-Founder, RaceHQ

The Rise of the Experiential Consumer

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As any race director who’s been in the business for awhile will tell you, what participants expect from events and races has changed quite a bit in the past few years. The good news is that there are more people who are participating—the number of U.S. race finishers has increased by 80% since the year 2000*–but keeping them happy is getting harder. In other words, participation is on the rise but so are the demands of participants.

colorThese participant expectations all revolve around gaining a quality and unique experience—we are dealing with experiential consumers.  Experience is the new luxury and people are Instagramming pictures and strapping Go Pro cameras to their heads to capture and share their experiences.  ACTIVE Network and RaceHQ decided to partner up because we recognize the impact this trend will have on event directors.  Both of our companies provide technology to make the lives of event directors easier—we handle the details, automating and organizing them—because you have more pressure than ever to create those filter-worthy, camera-ready experiences.

So how do you build a quality experience for your participants, whether they’re newbies or veterans?  Here are three event elements that will make the experiential consumer happy:

1. Be Social
There has been a huge increase in team and group participation, largely due to the popularity of

“fun” events (non-competitive, Mob™-style events), which encourage teams. But now this phenomenon has permeated more traditional and competitive events and it’s more important than ever for your event to promote a collective experience. People want to try something new with their friends and post about it on Facebook, using the event as an extension of their social life. Offering team, group, charity, and relay options when registering will help you increase your numbers and reach people who wouldn’t normally participate in races.

3. Go Mobile
Approximately  58% of smartphone users don’t go one hour without checking their phones!** If people are staring at this gadget for hours upon hours a day, then your event needs to be on that screen in some form or another. Here are a few ideas how:

  • Optimize your results page to be mobile enabled. Participants want results asap, and odds are they’ll have their phones or tablets with them as soon as they finish the race. Deliver results to the palms of their hands versus making them track down results printouts on boards at the finish line.
  • Offer training apps like the Couch-to-5K or 5K-to-10K app to keep participants engaged and excited about your event.
  • Use QR codes on marketing materials. With just a quick scan of that black-and-white box using their smartphone, people can access your registration page, results, and more.
  • Encourage mobile sharing on social media channels, which brings us to #3…

3. Encourage Facebragging

Facebragging, more formally known as “wanting social proof,” is something we’re all prone to. It’s no longer enough to have completed something—it needs to be shared on social media for the experience to reach its full potential. For events, this means you need to think about more than just the finish line hero pose. Encourage participants to capture and share every step of the event lifecycle, from registering to training to the course to the post-race celebration.  Hold social media contents for best photo or video, make event day as visually vivid as possible, sell creative merchandise, etc.  Engaging participants online and getting them to Facebrag will ultimately increase your event’s exposure and help it go viral.

However you decide to do it, the most important thing is to make your event an experience to remember because that is what participants are expecting.


ACTIVE Network’s event management technology makes it easier for event directors to create experiences participants will love to Facebrag about. Learn more




Shannon Fiack is the Senior Writer for ACTIVE Network, Endurance and also manages and writes for ACTIVE’s Event Director Blog, a free resource for industry news, best practices, and new ideas.



*Running USA, State of the Sport – U.S. Race Trends

**Mobile Mindset Study by Harris Interactive, June 2012

Creating Something Out of Nothing

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There’s nothing I love more than a walk through the finish line long after the race is over. Physically and mentally exhausted from the fifteen-hour day that started at 3AM, I can still hear the voice of the announcer in my head as I watch cars begin to flow where thousands of people crossed the finish line earlier in the day. There’s still a few pieces of debris floating in the wind, but other than that, life is back to normal.

Earlier in my career, I often doubted the significance of the work I did as an event professional. While I was in graduate school in Boston, I was surrounded by people doing something ‘significant’ with their lives. They were doctors, lawyers, financial analysts, you name it – and I here I was, just trying to start a little event management company. I wondered how I could make a positive impact as well.

It wasn’t until I befriended Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray that I began to learn the importance of the work that we do. He taught me that race directors are all “in the business of raising the self-confidence and self-esteem of millions of people”. All one must do is stand at the finish line of any race to witness the greatness of the human spirit.

People don’t just roll out of bed one morning and think, Today I’m going to run a marathon, or, Today I’m going to do a century ride. There seems to be a higher calling that motivates someone to do something that crazy – a mother or sister stricken with breast cancer, a fallen family member in Iraq, or even just a commitment to oneself to make a transformation to a healthier lifestyle. Whatever the motivation, hundreds of thousands of participants run, bike, swim, and leap over obstacles for a greater purpose each year.

As I stand there after a race is cleaned up, I think to myself, Wow, we did it! We pulled it off! It is mind-blowing to see all the planning, all the decisions, and all the people that came together at the same place for the same reason to create this thing we call an event. The past twelve months of hard work has finally paid off. It’s in this very moment that I realize my passion for the work we do: I absolutely love the process of creating something from nothing that truly changes people’s lives forever.

Even though our races start and finish, the impact we make lives on forever. Earlier in my career, a friend of mine emailed me a link to a YouTube video of someone that had run my marathon in Denver, Colorado. I had worked tirelessly on this event for over a year and was questioning whether it had all been worth it. I was going through the dreadful post-event emails when I came across this one: “Isn’t this your race Anton?” it asked. It included a link to the following video:


Take a few minutes to watch the video. How does it inspire you? Pause to think of the impact you make as a race director, then let us know how our team at RaceHQ can support your efforts to create spectacular events that change people’s lives forever.

-Anton Villatoro, President & Co-Founder, RaceHQ