Monday, April 2, 2012

For the love Freihofer's (the run and the cookies)

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of Freihofer’s. Whether it’s the cookies or the annual Run for Women, it’s a brand that’s very recognizable.

On March 20, The Record hosted an information session on a program that is relatively new to the run; a 10-week Training Challenge that follows the Couch to 5k platform to get women active, in shape, and prepared to run the 5k that’s coming up on June 2.

I imagine some people came for cookies.

The program, held in our Community Media Lab, consisted of a four-member panel: Two coaches, Kristen Hislop and Patrick Lynskey; injury prevention specialist Dr. Tim Maggs; a certified family and gastroenterolgy nurse practitioner Christine Cooley. Freihofer’s Run for Women Event Director George Regan hosted the program.

Also, they brought cookies. A lot of them.

It’s possible you’re thinking what I was thinking: Is it really a good idea to bring cookies to give away to the people who attend an event aimed at getting them to run?

And yes, yes it is. However, I also had veggies, water and olives available for people to snack on during the hour-long presentation.

It probably won’t shock you to know that more cookies were missing at the end of the night than healthy snacks.

To promote the event, we ran an ad in The Record, The Saratogian and the weekly community newspaper Greenbush Life. Additionally:
  • Pushed out link on The Record Twitter and Facebook pages; Record employees also pushed out info.
  • Info pushed out on Freihofer’s Run for Women Facebook and Twitter feeds;
  • Stand alone photo run in The Record with event info;
  • Article by Kathy Caggianelli ran on March 15;
  • Email sent out by George Regan, event director, to event email list;
  • Twitter reach by staff: Rebecca Eppelmann (@RebeccaTRecord) reach of 335; Lisa Lewis (@Record_editor) reach of 228; Katie Nowak (@knowak_record) reach of 121. (Information pulled from Tweet Reach)

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a last minute idea, or if I said I wasn’t panic stricken at the thought of no one showing up. The idea for the program came about two weeks before the program itself which, in retrospect, wasn’t an entirely bad thing.

To help ensure we’d at least get some people to attend, I setup an Eventbrite site ( so that people could register in advance - this helped us not only track how many people signed up, but also allowed us to set a limit on tickets “sold” (it was a free event); setting up the link through The Record’s bitly account also allowed us to track how many people visited the link (127 people total visited the link).

I set the number of tickets to 40, because while the room holds 50 I was allowing for the possibility that more people would show up than the number that signed up; we had 40 people register and in the end 27 showed up.

A few of the people who attended hadn’t registered, which ended up being fine because not everyone who registered actually showed up. I was thrilled with a turnout of 27 because it clearly meant that we had attendance - I’m horrible at math and even I figured that one out.

In the early days of the CML we hosted an event to which no one showed up, and although we learned a lot from that lesson, it’s still something that sticks with you.

I can’t say how many people signed up for the Training Challange because the event staff decided against having people sign up online at the program in the CML, however I can say that we effectively got the word out about what was effectively a last-minute program. At least a dozen people stayed after the presentation was over to talk to the panelists; as most people left they talked about how informative it was.

Event Director George Regan was very happy with how the presentation - which was recorded and can be viewed here - went and we’re hoping to team up each year going forward to let the community know about the Training Challenge and all of its benefits.

And, you know, to snack on cookies.

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