By Bill Plock
Louisville, CO–Veteran race director, endurance marketing professional and Boulder resident, Ryan Cross was recently hired by Life Time Events as the Marketing Manager for off-road cycling and trail running events. 303 had a discussion with Ryan to find out about his new role and what’s going on at Life Time for 2020.
What is Life Time up to for 2020? New Events? Emphasis? Anything new with major events like DK, LT100
Growth! We acquired Crusher in the Tushar this year and launched the sold-out Big Sugar gravel race in Bentonville, AR, right as I came on board. We’re also entering our second year of producing the biggest, baddest, gravel race in the world – Dirty Kanza. Then of course we have the entire Leadville Race Series here in Colorado. There’s lots to be excited about right now.
What are you overseeing in general?
I’ll be managing the marketing for the off-road cycling and trail running part of the portfolio – primarily Leadville Race Series, Dirty Kanza, Crusher, Big Sugar & Chequamegon.
Why did this role appeal to you and your “personal mission”?
I’m eternally passionate about endurance sports and active living. I fully believe in the positive impact that these events can have in enhancing quality of life and creating worthy life experiences. I only hope that my vision, creativity and authenticity are conveyed through our marketing efforts and that I can help to enrich people’s lives with these events.
What is your abbreviated background that made you an ideal candidate.
I spent about 4 years working for a small event marketing & management company in Boulder, which was my foot in the door in the endurance community. I spent the last couple years in a contracting/consulting role with multiple events and organizations – Colorado Classic, Tour of Utah, Boulder Climbing Community, and a few others. It feels great to land in a place where I can put all of that niche-y experience to use.
Are there specific initiatives going on at Life Time that excites you?
Absolutely. The one that jumps out immediately is our initiative to increase female participation at our events. Historically, these events are male-dominated and it’s time to open the doors to more female athletes. There are so many incredible women out there who haven’t felt like a gritty event like the Leadville 100 is the right fit for them. We’re using our clinics, camps, group rides, and our new Women Ride the World initiative to let them know that they can tackle Leadville, DK, etc. Whether it’s 25 miles or 200, there’s something for everyone here, and I’m excited to be telling that story and breaking down barriers.
How will you support the events themselves?
I’ve quickly found out that the Life Time team is a family. Nobody sits back quietly while others work into the night, and I’m no exception to that. Aside from being part of a badass marketing team, I’ll be at these events lending a hand wherever I can. You’ll find me on the start line before the sun comes up all summer long. I’m one of those weird people who likes working events. I live for it.
What are you most excited about with the role at Life Time?
With lotteries and sold out events across the board, this position is kind of a marketers dream. The forces behind our marketing aren’t anchored on selling entries and driving sales, but more about using our events as a platform to tell the stories of our participants and share the life-changing experiences that we create at our races. It’s a great position to be in, and I’m seriously excited to get creative and interact with our participants on the marketing side and on the start line.