With all the numbers counted, the 2017 Chigger Chase finished well above its revenue numbers from 2016. The annual family-friendly race geared toward area youth pulled in more than $5,800 in profits than the previous year.
“Chigger Chase, our best year ever,” Gabe Richardson, Ardmore Parks and Recreation Board treasurer, said while delivering the numbers to the board.
The total revenues from the race exceeded the previous high of $36,817.98 set in 2014 by about $300, but profits for the event fell short of the 2014 numbers by about $754 due to an increase in expenses, about $1,000 more than in 2014.
While short of the 2014 numbers, the Chigger Chase still was able to outpace the 2016 results in both revenues and profits despite the increase in expenses and the cold, windy weather that greeted runners in November.
“That was a goal we had after we started to put the numbers together, to exceed all previous years,” Jake Charnock, Parks and Recreation Board President, said. “We got real close. Our sponsorships were really a tell-tale sign. Our sponsorship increased about $6,300 and our entries were up about $2,000.”
Charnock attributed the increase in expenses to a higher quality of shirt — a long sleeve, dry fit shirt — given to participants, while attributing the success of 2017 to wider exposure of the event through media and outreach to area schools.
“We really tried to hit that hard this year to get the word out,” Charnock said. “Getting the word out early, sometimes we bump up into that time frame where it is too early or too late. We also made a big push through the schools, we had seen some decline in that area in the past.”
Charnock also noted the addition of a new 5-mile trail run as an alternative to the 5K for some of the event’s 2017 success.
It was the Chigger Chase’s 22nd year in Ardmore. Organizers reported in November more than 800 people participated in the races, setting an attendance record.
The Chigger Chase included runners of all ages and paces. The event offers a quarter mile race for children 6 and under, a half mile and 1 mile race for children ages 7-12, a 1 mile walk and then the 5k Chigger Challenge. This year, the event also featured a 5-mile trail run for the first time.
The registration dates for the 2018 Chigger Chase have not yet been released.