Being challenged is central to being alive. The acceptance of challenges, the wrestling with the difficulties they present, and the ultimate progress that is made through hard work and perseverance, is the cornerstone of what brings us fulfillment.
What we love about races, whether a 1k fun run or a triple IronMan, is their spectacular simplicity. They have a start and an end, they have a set date in time and, with a few notable exceptions – here’s looking at you Barkley Marathon – you largely know what difficulties you will face on the course before you begin. Crossing the finish line of a race is the purest sense of achievement accessible to everyone. You choose the challenge, you put in the work, you achieve it.
Races really matter. They are the blueprint for how we approach the challenges in the rest of our lives and it is no surprise that we who race were shown last year to be 32% happier than the wider population. We all know this. We know the elation of continuing on when everything in your body says quit. We know the satisfaction of that medal around your neck when everyone else thought you were mental, and we know the change that racing brings to us and our loved ones; long after the bike has cooled, the wetsuit dried and the trainers have worn out.
But there’s a problem. More people are not doing races. At a time when the health, happiness and real human connection these races bring is more important than ever, participation rates are flat.
As is the beginning of any good story in Britain, Alex (my co-founder) and I were discussing this sad truth in the pub. When everyone wants to be healthier and happier and signing up for a 5k is 24x more effective in making people long-term fitter than joining a gym, and when the third most engaged with social media type last year was race photos (after weddings and babies), then how are races not growing?
The answer is that, whilst 88% of athletes who have a positive first race experience will race again, only 13% of athletes who have a negative first race experience will ever race again. We started Let’s Do This to try to ensure more people went to races that are perfect for them; to build the TripAdvisor for races. In doing this, we want to inspire more people to have epic, life-changing experiences. We want to make the world a happier, healthier place.
We are hugely proud to today announce the launch of The Challenge Awards, powered by Let’s Do This and presented by Runner’s World. This is the next chapter in our mission. We are bringing together some of the biggest brands and greatest athletes in the world who share our passion for encouraging more people to have epic experiences. Together, we will celebrate the best races across the UK, as well as those local heroes who inspire us to challenge ourselves. This will culminate in the Oscars of the endurance industry; The Challenge Awards at Queens Club on 18th October 2019. We will be continuing to announce further partners and athletes attending over the coming weeks.
So how can you be involved?
Share your experience by writing a review for an event you’ve enjoyed this season. The top 10 events across each of our award categories on August 19th will be nominated for the voting round of The Challenge Awards. This vote by the community will determine the first, second and third place winners.
Furthermore, we are offering people who leave a review on Let’s Do This the chance of a lifetime to snag an invitation to the awards. Simply click on this link and review any race that you have taken part in this season. Anyone who leaves a review will be entered into a prize draw and 10 names will be randomly selected on 19 August. The more reviews you write, the greater your chances to win so start sharing your race experiences now.
The greatest way we can all inspire more people to have life-changing experiences is to let other people know what you thought of the races you’ve done, so they can make the best possible choice.