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Please share how you would describe your passion for running and travel.
While we’ve always enjoyed running and traveling as separate hobbies, it wasn’t until we joined Marathon Tours & Travel for their 2013 Antarctica Marathon—three years earlier than planned, thank you waitlist!—that the epiphany of combining both passions hit us. We’ve since traveled to places that just years ago we never would have imagined would be on our radar, e.g. South Africa x 3, Tokyo, Zimbabwe—each time because of a race and all as members of the Seven Continents Club. Mike also loves to write, and so our trips likewise have inspired him to pursue that interest on his blog Blisters, Cramps & Heaves.
Antarctica was more than a memorable vacation; it was a turning point in our lives. Seven years later, you could say we’re still living in the extended afterglow of that trip—Mike is now well on his way to running in all 50 US states (30 down, 20 to go), on all seven continents (five down, two to go), and in all six World Marathon Majors (only London to go!). But as priceless as the race-cation opportunities have been, they pale in comparison to the amazing, talented and colorful people we’ve met along the way. Our Antarctica mates, for instance, remain some of our closest friends to this day.
Our desire to amplify this passion led us to create RaceRaves, an online resource and global community of engaged athletes dedicated to helping runners find the best race experiences around the world. Together we went all in as co-founders; Mike took a sabbatical from his postdoctoral work (he has a PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford), and Katie transitioned from her career in corporate consumer marketing to join him. And while the 5+ years since we launched RaceRaves has been a roller coaster of challenges conquered and lessons learned (like the marathon, if it were easy everyone would do it!), building our enthusiastic community of “Raving Lunatics” and growing our humble idea into a legitimate business has been nothing short of awesome.
How does RaceRaves help runners worldwide?
In so many ways! For starters, RaceRaves helps runners of all levels easily find and research races worldwide. We do this with powerful and intuitive search tools plus thousands of finisher reviews for races in all 50 US states and 80+ countries. RaceRaves users can search for running events by city, state, country or continent, as well as read reviews to benefit from the collective wisdom of our global running community. And our best-in-class blog features editorial articles that further spotlight the best races around the world, e.g. Racing on all seven continents, Best Bets for Boston Qualifying Races and Getting to Know the Abbott World Marathon Majors,
Our tagline of “Run the World” aligns nicely with the mission of Marathon Tours & Travel, and our services complement each other—we help runners make smart, informed choices when it comes to their race schedule, while referring them to the travel pros at MT&T to help them realize their own dream of running the world.
What changes have you experienced during COVID-19 and how are you adapting?
It’s no secret COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the planet, and running events are no exception. In fact, the endurance industry may be among the hardest hit by the pandemic, since inviting large groups of heavily breathing individuals to assemble in close quarters is, at the moment, a non-starter.
So instead we’ve focused on the things we can control, like continuing to engage our audience through a race trivia series as well as our perennially popular March Lunacy tournament (our “March Madness for Races”). We also published So Your Race Has Been Canceled: Now What? a handy guide to help runners and race organizers alike navigate these challenging times. Plus, we’re staying connected and sharing information with our industry partners, while working to keep our race database updated as to cancellations and postponements
Final Words of Wisdom to Share...
Find, track and review all your races on RaceRaves! Seriously, though, we’re extremely fortunate—as long as we have our health, our friends and our family, everything else is a bonus. And in all honesty, much of our current happiness stems from the fact we let ourselves take a big risk to start RaceRaves. So we’ll end with fellow entrepreneur Jim Rohn’s own words of wisdom: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
We wish everyone well, and we can’t wait to travel and run with all our friends again soon!