Singaporeans love to travel, but there are a group of people who travel for a very specific reason — to run. Running here is fine and all, but with the horrible humidity (not to mention the breath-taking haze we have right now), passionate runners may often dream of the possibility of running overseas.
There aren’t many agencies, or websites, around to cater to these runners. After all, they have some specific needs that have to be taken care of. Accomodation and transport is especially crucial, as no one wants to have to stumble onto a public bus for an hour-long drive after running a full marathon. A Singapore-based startup, 42race, is trying to target this niche market of travellers.
The concept is simple — they help offer a full travel package, much like what you would expect from traditional players like Chan Brothers and CTC Travel, which will include an itinerary based around a running event. The only event currently listed is the Great Hakka Marathon, based in Fujian Province, China, but includes a full race timetable, transport to and fro from the event, as well as a sightseeing plan for after the run is over. The price doesn’t include flight tickets, though it offers decent prices for any length trip you want, from 3D2N to 5D4N.
The Great Hakka Marathon is a great starting point — as discussed in speaking to JetBay, China is a difficult country for tourists to navigate. And when all you want to do is run, the last thing on your mind would be to plan an actual holiday. The biggest draw of this idea is the transparency and the ease of buying a travel package just for runners, with the website directly purchasing the race passes for you, whether you’re running the full marathon or just doing a Family 5K.
But so early on, it’s hard to see exactly where the digital aspect provides an advantage. Sure, having a website helps get the word out, but by just offering a standard package, it seems that traditional brick-and-mortar players could easily cater for this niche market without problems. Puns not intended, 42Race will have to move fast to secure their expertise in the area before other players get the same idea.
What will really boost 42Race into the lead is their promise to connect you to a professional trainer. The purchasable package doesn’t come with a professional trainer fee, so it may be a feature yet to come, but truly tapping into the heart of Singapore’s deeply passionate running community could give them the support their business needs to really one-up the layman travel planner. Add in a runners community, and other travel packages really don’t have a chance.
If you want to go niche, go all the way, right?