If you have gone to all the effort to set up your race then you ideally want plenty of paddlers entering prior to it or turning up to enter on the day. This is a great area to get creative and often one or more of your club paddlers will have skills to action or support you doing one or more of these options below for you. The following are some ideas to promote your race:
There are many local magazines in your including, church, parish, town and county ones. They will often be struggling to get interesting local events especially which cross age groups. The local evening news/Echo may also be interested especially after the event but you may be able to get them to come along to your event and do a report and photographs themselves, worth a try. Tip: over a period of weeks/months keep the last copy of any local magazines you get which will have their contact details and send them an email, with a poster advertising your event (see example AD1A) like the following:
HAMBLE CANOE RACE 8 NOVEMBER 2014
I would be grateful if the attached flyer for my race could be published in your magazine. I will be happy to do a report on the race, after the event, for inclusion also if you like. The race has attracted local and wider afield paddlers, including junior world champions/Great Britain paddlers and scouts including those from the Hamble Sea Scouts.
Tel: (Tel numbers)”
Make it short but interesting. By offering to do a report after the event for them you are giving the magazine another local interest story. Make sure if they do print your advert piece you do send them promptly the follow up report on your race with two or three great photographs.
Local Clubs/Previous paddlers of the event
Ensure you build up a paddler database of previous paddlers to your event so you can invite them back. Also build up the email contact details of all local/nearest clubs even if they are slalom/Long Distance etc biased you never know who might be tempted to come along.
Local scouts/guides/youth clubs/schools etc
Try to get in touch with local youth groups and clubs. Many of these types of groups canoe/kayak. If you want to you could offer to run a Scout/Guide championship within your event if they are interested. Many scout/guide groups have a District/County boats/activities officer try to get in touch with them and encourage participation. School PE teachers may be another source of paddlers if their school includes canoeing. If you want to you could offer some WWR coaching to them which may result in paddlers at your event.
Try to ensure your race is on the WWR website calendar early with enough detail that paddlers can make a decision to paddle your event e.g. their capability where it is in the Country etc. and that you promote it nearer the race date with more information. Try to get in on other canoe websites e.g. Home nation sites, local club websites be creative the more publicity (good of course) the wider your audience is.
Join up with other local events
You may be able to run your event alongside another event which at minimum can share workloads and you may be able to reduce much of your work. It also means you have more spectators and possibly paddlers. Events that would sit easily next to yours might be a slalom event or with another WWR nearby so you could run one event each day helping with paddlers travelling costs. Also local village events or similar may value an added event saving you effort if they have organised all the parking/planning/permissions/food etc. If nothing else joining up with bigger events will publicise canoeing and WWR. If you want to you could offer some WWR coaching to paddlers/novices beforehand e.g. in the morning with race starting at midday or later which mayresult in more paddlers racing your event.
Get one of your whizz kids to do you a great advertising poster with details of your event, date and contact details on and get this put up in local shops/parish Council notice boards/Sports Halls, Gyms, schools, local clubs etc. Also get it on the WWR website.
Get these up at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance of your race. See Examples AD2A AND B.
Harefield Wavehopper event (and slalom) had a DVD trailer made by a 12 year old paddler which was a great advertisement for the events. If you have a whizz kid do your own event trailer, if you cover the key rapids/obstacles/sights in your race it could also be used to brief paddlers on the race. What it would do in the latter case is allow paddlers to judge their competency to do your race better in advance.
Hand out short tickets giving key information about your event and contact details at other events. Email them to friends and clubs to print out and give out. Paddlers often forget event if they were interested in your race some months earlier keep reminding them the ticket has the advantage that at an event they can store ticket then when they empty their bag at home they will hopefully contact you for more details or look your race up on the WWR website. See example AD4A.
If you have some contacts (or can make them) try to get local radio/TV coverage of your event. There are probably dozens of other ideas but these are a few to get you going. If you do have success with ideas not on these guidelines let the WWR community know on the WWR website so we can all increase our race participation and coverage.