Did you ever notice that the really cool race shirt you receive at any VHTRC event doesn't have any advertizing on it? It may have the name of the race and it might have VHTRC, but it doesn't advertize, endorse, or even mention any sort of sponsor.
Did you ever notice that when you cross the finish line at any one of our races, the banner you run under says only VHTRC? It doesn't say Montrail, North Face, Patagonia, or anything else. Just VHTRC.
Did you ever notice that the VHTRC puts on more free events than fee events?
Did you ever notice that for the most part what the VHTRC is all about boils down to nothing more than a bunch of folks getting together and going for a trail run? That's it. Let's meet somewhere and just run.
Zany. Madcap. Quirky. Irreverent. Screwball. The VHTRC had the amazing good fortune to be founded by a group of guys who were all of the above and more. Just by chance this bunch of yahoos contained a few guys who were just anal enough to see to it that the rest of the goon squad stayed in line, and so whereas we certainly know how to throw a party, we know how to put on a race too.
The VHTRC is famous for superb course marking and over the top aid stations. But we're also famous for supporting trail running in our community, informal runs that have become sacred traditions, and an arms wide open welcome to anyone who wants to join in the fun. We're famous for being a great group of fun loving folks who love running trails, and just happen to put on some of the highest quality races in the country.
We owe a lot to the club's founding fathers for defining what has now become, for lack of a better term, the VHTRC brand. Our brand may mean slightly different things to different people, but it is who we are and how we do things, and unlike brands created by marketing wizards to sell products, we are our brand by simply doing what it is we do. And all this doesn't happen just by chance, either.
We actually have a formal policy about corporate sponsorship. This policy enables us to actually be just a group of friends who want to get together for a run and do what we want. What this policy boils down to is that we're not going to be beholden to anyone or anything. If you're some corporate enterprise and you want to give us stuff we might take it, but were not going to advertize for you or let you have any control over what we do. And besides. Since no one makes a dime off of any of our races we really don't need your stuff anyway, because we already have some of the lowest entry fees around, and that low entry thing is part of our brand too.
We also have a policy concerning support for trail runs that aren't owned by the VHTRC. It is mandated in our bylaws. What it says is that if you want to put on a little trail run and you need money, make your case to us and we'll probably help you out. This is how many of the fat ass runs we all enjoy can have great post run cookouts and offset some of their other costs.
We don't want to be the biggest club or the one that puts on the most races. We don't want to promote some corporate agenda. We just want to continue to be a bunch of friends who like to get together and have fun trail running, and we do that in a way that I think sets us apart and helps define our unique brand. When runners in the trail running world hear Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, they know what that means. The VHTRC brand is who we are and what we do. The policies and traditions of our club ensure that our brand continues to define all the things that make our club what it is today.
If you have any thoughts about our brand, or anything else for that matter, please just shoot me an email.