Our race spotlight this week focuses on 5K Foam Fest Canada, they first entered the obstacle racing and mud run market in 2014. Their first event was held in London, Ontario at Boler Mountain. While many remember 5K Foam Fest from the US going under the Canadian series has been going strong for years and has continued to grow. We spoke with Jesse Fulton of 365 Sports Canada, the company which runs 5K Foam Fest Canada, to find out more about the event and successes.
Tell me a little about that first 5K Foam Fest Canada…
We licensed the 5K Foam Fest from the US company Roundhouse Racing in Spring 2014, so we were a bit late in the game, beginning to sell tickets two months prior to our first event. Everything came together despite the late timing and the issues that were taking place in the United States with Foam Fest.
How has the event grown since the first event?
The event has grown on a massive scale. We started with six events in Ontario and Quebec in 2014; incurring a significant loss our first season. In 2015, we doubled the number of events to 12 stops across Canada. We had a very successful season and were able to raise a significant amount of money for charity which is really important to us.
What have you learned from each event?
We learn new things at every stop. Our goal is and always will be: participant and customer experience. Our event model is built on changing everything we didn’t like at other events and adding in the things we wanted and loved as participants. Each stop we learn one more thing we can do to make the event better for our clients. We have the whole “Jerry Macguire” standard of thinking and that is: “make less and do more” for the athletes. This is translated from what the participants receive right down to the cost and access of the events. More for less, family friendly and smiles all around 🙂
How many events do you plan to hold in 2016?
This season we have booked 14 stops across Canada. We’re so excited about the upcoming season!
What are some of the obstacles that you get most excited for participants to try out?
The 2.5 million cubic feet of foam is the hub of it all. In addition to that, we have 3 of the world's largest inflatable water slides and some other new fun obstacles in the works for 2016. We are always working on adding new items every year to keep it fresh and make the events better and better each season.
Are you known for a certain obstacle?
We have some custom built and engineered obstacles to align with the fun aspect and foam component. Some of these include the D-Drop Mega Slide, Body Washer, Chamber of Foam and our 3-50’ slip and slides. We have some new ones being built now, so stay tuned!
What do you think makes your event stand out from the others in the industry?
Quality and cost. If you look at any other event and the infrastructure that comes along with it, we are by far the most intricate. This isn’t your typical “add water” event. We have water needs, blowers, power needs, foam engineers, massive obstacles and an insane setup. The formula to put on this event is more intricate and labor intensive than most fun runs and obstacle runs out there. We travel with a 24 person full-time ops crew, three transports, five support vehicles, etc. It’s an incredible setup, and we have an excellent crew who make it all happen. The overhead for these events dwarfs most others but in the end, we have found a formula that makes it work and keeps us operating.
How have you seen the industry evolve since you began holding events?
It seems to be going in the right direction. Having events like this that promote fun, exercise and getting out there with your friends and families are great. We have been really happy with the client feedback and are glad everyone is having a stellar time. Some events are solely trying to sell tickets, we’re not in that business. We’re in the business of selling fun and smiles. We hope to see any industry with this focus, continue to grow. It’s a great introduction to fitness and because it's all accessible everyone can participate so that is a plus in any industry.
Tell us about want you have coming up in the next couple of months.
We are in the process of launching the Urban Slide Canada, which is an exciting addition to our roster and falls in line with our “big kid” mentality 🙂 Also, we are really pumped to be operating the OCRWC this fall. We started 365 Sports by creating events for high-performance athletes in action sports. Taking that expertise and shifting it to the OCR World Championships gives us the ability to have a ton of fun with the Foam Fest and Urban Slide, but also still “push the envelope” in high-performance sport.
Finally, add anything else you think is important about your event series and your story behind it.
We’re just happy our event is being well received and getting so much positive press. We will keep making it better and better and find new ways to promote getting outside, engaging with your friends and family while having the best time ever!!! It was a tough journey after the US company who ran Foam Fest went out of business. everyone thought that we were the same company which I would like to state was not the case. We also lost significantly from that situation. Our team worked very hard to battle through all the bad PR created as a result of it. We are really happy the industry recognized we weren’t a part of that and embraced our events accordingly helping us get to where we are now. So thanks everyone.