InSANDity 2018 is done and in the books.
We had a lot of good things happen (event went smooth, barely any injuries, people having a good time) and some less than ideal things happen (the music for one thing…). So, let’s dig into it and talk about what we are going to improve next year.
First of all, we sent out a survey as we do every year to get feedback from the participants of the current years event. We thank EVERYONE who took the time and sat down and filled it out. It was only 5 questions but the last 2 asked for things to be put in the persons own words and not just multiple choice answers. Thus, it took time and effort to fill out these surveys (or “InSANDity Improvement Quizzes” as we like to call them). So for all your effort we want to say, thank you very much.
Here’s what we learned…
Let’s start with the positives. Even though they don’t help us to improve, they do help us to understand what to amplify or build on top of for next year. We asked the following questions of:
Survey Question #1 – “How Organized Was The InSANDity Obstacle Course?”
We really should have said, “How Organized Was The Staff That Was Running The Obstacle Course?”…This tells us how people perceive our ability to run an event. The more smooth it is, the better the experience will be for everyone. Nobody likes to show up to an event and see this:
“Sorry sir, I don’t see your registration here. Let me check with my manager. While you’re waiting, here’s a banana.”
For these responses it broke down into this:
15% Answered: Extremely Organized (The TOP choice)
80% Answered: Very Organized (Second from the top)
5% Answered: Somewhat Organized (Third from the top)
0% Answered: Not So Organized (Fourth from the top)
0% Answered: Not At All Organized (Dead last option)
Hey, we’ll take it! We like those numbers! What this says to us is that you felt overall the event was run smoothly, you were able to get what you want, when you wanted and with very few cause for concerns. That was our goal – mission accomplished. We felt we could have done better on this one as we always do so even though we got high marks there is still room for improvement.
GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR: Continue with what we did this year BUT make sure that we let our staff and most importantly our volunteers know that the event will last from x time to x time, to be there early (like at 6:30am instead of 7:45am) and to give them their neon yellow InSANDity shirts and hats to be easily identified.
Survey Question #2 – “How would you rate the course?”
These broke down as such:
25% Answered: Excellent – It had the perfect balance of Course Length, Obstacle Difficulty, aHelluva Good Time and it was just perfect for what I wanted out of it.
50% Answered: Very Good – It had a pretty good balance of Course Length, Obstacle Difficulty, was a pretty good time and it was great for what I wanted out of it.
25% Answered Average – It had only an average balance of Course Length, Obstacle Difficulty and it was just OK for what I wanted.
0% Answered: Below Average – I was seriously let down on the Course Length, Obstacle Difficulty or it just wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be…
0% Answered: It SUCKED! – Basically this was one of the worst events I’ve gone to. No hard feelings but it was awful.
Good news is nobody said it sucked…that would’ve been awful. Also nobody said it was below average and it appeared that the majority were very happy answering that the course was Excellent or Very Good.
But what about people who answered that the course was only “Average”?
Honestly, nobody and I mean NOBODY wants to hear that you’re just average.
…ummm, yeah, that wasn’t awful…
But being called “average” does (and SHOULD) light a fire under you. You want to know WHY someone picked average so that you can improve whatever it is that you’re doing. In this case, it’s building a future El Paso annual tradition of having an obstacle course that EVERYONE wants to go to.
The issue that kept coming up were the tires –
“Too many tire obstacles!”
“The tire mountain wasn’t stacked safely enough and we wanted more variety!”
“You used a lot of tires!”
OK, admittedly we used a lot of tires. The reason was…because we have a lot of tires. Just kidding, but not really. There is a way to fix this issue and it comes down to using the tires BUT in a different way for next year. Here are some ideas:
Maybe we climb them in a straight line or use them as a swing…
Maybe we arrange them in a slope and tie them together which will make it safer (but more difficult)…
Maybe we’ll set them vertically and make them their own obstacle OR put them in between the mushroom steps for people with Keebler Elf length legs…
In truth, we don’t know exactly what we’re going to do YET, but that’s the excitement for next year! The good news is we know what people DON’T want, and that is something we can improve on immediately.
Besides the tire issue other comments were more water, more mud and more course distance to a 5k. On these issues I’ll just say we might add a couple of small mud pits but as for length, we already have a 5k course – it’s at 8am and we call it a DOUBLE LOOP. ONe time around the course is approximately 1.58 miles so 2 times around the course is pretty much a 5k.
If you think this course was short, then man/woman up and run the DOUBLE LOOP. I can GUARANTEE you that you WILL NOT say the double loop was too short (just ask the group of 8am double loopers that were ALL exhausted at the end).
Also, the other big issue was the music…again.
This was an embarrassment to us as we had the EXACT SAME ISSUE last year. The music was good if you were older than 18. Look, I really was never a fan of F-bombs in music anyhow but we had way Way WAY too many and that can’t happen again. We personally pledge to you that next years music will be 2 things:
1] Hype music to get you motivated
2] No cussing or negative wording in the lyrics
It’s not as hard as it sounds. We just need to do better at managing the music output and approve what’s being put out before the day of the event and not rely on, “Yeah, there might be a couple of bad words but very few”. Let me be clear though – the DJ is great but his focus is not on family events and for that we’ll take the blame for not being adamant about the lyrics. We’ve already spoken and he’s ready to keep it clean for next year so that’s one issue we got covered already!
Survey Question #3 – “How likely is it that you would recommend registering for the InSANDity obstacle course to a friend or family member?”
The options for this question went on a 0-10 scale where 10 was where you would be a champion of InSANDity and shout it from the rooftops to a 0 where you would basically call our course the worst thing on the planet. Here’s how people answered:
50% Answered: 10 – I’m Telling Everyone!
12.5% Answered: 9 (that’s still pretty high)
12.5% Answered: 8 (OK, that’s still good)
7.5% Answered: 7 (not bad)
12.5% Answered: 6 (OK, this is borderline)
0% Answered: 5 (I’ll tell maybe one person)
5% Answered: 4 (yikes!)
0% Answered: 3
0% Answered: 2
0% Answered: 1
0% Answered: 0 (I’m not telling anyone!!!)
Alrighty then…this was overall not too bad. The comments from the 4’s crowd revolved around the music and the tires issue so we’ll clean that area up next year. I think OVERALL that people liked it. This is great except for the fact that the thing that haunts us is the people who aren’t happy and how we can bring our scores up next year. OK, we know what we have to do so we will do it!
Survey Question #4 – “What did you NOT like about InSANDity?”
This is by far my favorite question. It gives you a chance to honestly and discreetly tell us what you thought sucked about the course. We like to hear positive things but that won’t make us better. We want to hear the big nasty stuff about where the event as a whole is lacking. This is where we got everything from above. Listen, next year we’ll clean up the music, use the tires differently, try to have more mud and maybe add another super difficult obstacle like “Heavy Metal”.
Besides that, the ONLY people that can complain about the course not being long enough are the double loopers. If you run the course TWICE and then say the course is too short…we will definitely listen – but not until you run it 2x!
Survey Question #5 – “Since you could have done ANYTHING ELSE last Saturday (participate in another activity or event, get work done, hang around the house, sleep in, etc.,) we were wondering what was the SINGLE BIGGEST reason you signed up to run the InSANDity obstacle course?”
OK, I admit it…I threw this one in because I was just curious – why did you do it? Why not just sit at home and watch something on Netflix? Why come out and punish yourself? The answers surprised and motivated us because of answers like this:
“I love an adventure and a challenge! Im an outdoors person, always up for new experiences. I hate that kids nowadays don’t do anything except be on the phone so I also took my 10 yr old cousin to show her how much fun putting the phone down and going outside can be.”
“The whole family could do it together at the same time! We do Spartan Races but the kids have to run separately so this was a great whole family event! I just wish it could last longer!”
“I absolutely love obstacle course races, and since I live in Cruces it is really nice to have a place so close. I would do it several times a year if you offered it (and cleaned up the music).”
These were all great and honest responses and something that we would not have thought of as the reason for attending the event. We saw the InSANDity obstacle course as a fun time to run with your friends and have a beer after. However, the more responses we read through the more it became clear that InSANDity is a different animal for different people and that’s a good thing.
As we move forward, we want to make sure that we enhance those parts of the event that people associate with (the family part is going to be a HUGE thing next year). Before I wrap up this post I want to share our favorite response. We don’t know who it’s from but it made us feel pretty awesome:
“I enjoy this type of runs and I was not disappointed by the number and difficulty of obstacles, the obstacles were on par with other more expensive races. I had to convince my 11 year to run but once he went through the course, he told me how much he enjoyed it and wants to do it again, pretty much tomorrow ;)”
Final thoughts on things to improve for next year…
On top of everything we just discussed there were some things that I wanted to point out that were mentioned in our “InSANDity Improvement Quiz”. We feel these are important to mention here so we don’t forget to do them AND we can use it as a directional point of where to go for #InSANDity 2019. Those things are:
Have the DJ announce the starting point for each wave of runners – Sure, we could have a person on the ground do it, but it’s just not as cool and frankly a little lackluster. This will be a small adjustment that should feel as a BIG improvement.
Having InSANDity offered TWICE a year instead of being an ANNUAL event. This was mentioned in the survey as well as people on the ground after the event. People wanted the event to be multiple times throughout the year and they wanted it started like tomorrow. Well, we can’t make things happen that quick, but we can think about offering the event in April AND September (that means Noel Blanco can make $200 a year for finishing first on the double loop run if his wife lets him). We know there is a certain excitement for having an annual event but if people want it 2x, why not?
Reaching out to organizations through individuals. Our marketer went to the big organizations like DISH Network, Tenet Health, TXDOT, Life Church, etc., and didn’t make any traction. The idea then is to reach out to the InSANDity O.G.’s (people who’ve attended in the past) and ask if THEY belong to an organization that would like to receive additional benefits from signing up as a group. We aren’t sure if it will be successful but it can’t be any worse than previous results of trying to do the top down approach. Next year we’ll start at the ground floor with individuals and work our way up!
Offer a packet pick up at The SANDBOX. Look, we tried to work with some local businesses for packet pick ups and it seemed like we were bothering them. Maybe we didn’t explain what we were trying to do effectively. We thought bringing in an extra 20-50 people to pick up packets and then maybe those people would purchase the establishments food/drinks might be a good thing. It appeared we were wrong and each local place didn’t want the hassle. Because of this we can just have packet pick up at the SandBox when volleyball leagues are going on. Since the InSANDity run is located AT THE SANDBOX on 3631 Gerard, it only makes sense to do it there. Sometimes we over think things and that leads to more problems than its worth.
That’s it for this years AAR (After Action Review)!
If you want to add your 2 cents then by all means, answer the survey by clicking the BIG ORANGE button below. It only takes 60 seconds or less and you’ll help by making the InSANDity that much better. Thanks again to everyone who came out. It was a great event and we’re over the moon that you liked it!
-Gordo and The Sandbox Sunset Sports Team.