Tortola Torture 2016

After providing event coverage for the inaugural Tortola Torture ultramarathon in 2015, Broadsword was tasked with building on the initial success and taking the 2016 event to the next level in terms of event management, obtaining sponsorship, promotion of the event and live event coverage with the ultimate aim of growing the race to become the premier destination race in the Caribbean.

The first task was to custom design a web site worthy of the Tortola Torture name to provide constant information and updates as the race planning progressed.  It is vitally important for any event to have “owned media” and not rely on the whims, vagaries, and limitations of the channels controlled by third parties. We spent a lot of time creating the site and constantly updating it, adding pages and ensuring sponsor visibility. received 3,119 unique visitors Dec 1, 2015 to April 23, 2016 generating 11,783 unique page views. The home page saw 39.06% of those views, followed by the course page at 12.71%, and the registration page with 6.26% – all sponsor branded.

As part of this rebranding we created a fitting logo to portray the difficulty level of the race.  We used this logo to brand the website, finishers’ medals, event t-shirts and all promotional materials.


We distributed press releases and contributed editorial articles to publications the BVI Welcome Guide and Bird’s Eye View, the inflight magazine of Cape Air, ramped up email marketing efforts, and created the output for the facebook, twitter and Instagram.

After extensive research into compatible businesses and products, we secured event sponsorship from renowned companies: KPMG, Mourant-Ozannes, FuelBelt, Cape Air, Highland Spring Water, Red Bull, ZootSports, Jeep, TherapyWorks and the BVI Tourist Board.  We created awards for different stages of the race to garner maximum brand exposure.

With funding from the BVI Tourist Board we were able to bring professional runner and journalist Eric Senseman of the SCOTT Running Team to participate in the event.  Eric went on to win the 2016 Tortola Torture and set a new course record in the process.  He is a frequent contributor to and other ultra running publications.   Two other notable ultra-athletes and social media mavens in the ‘ultra’ world, Christian Griffiths contributor to and Sean “Run Bum” Blanton, were also invited to the race and to share their experiences with their audiences.  Overall, our combined efforts on facebook, twitter and Instagram far exceeded our expected targets.

SCOTT Running article “Senseman Wins Over Torture” “This Week in Running: April 18, 2016” “Sand, Surf, and Suffer, A Tortola Torture Race Report”

In “Torture Week” that kicked off on Friday (April 15), our facebook activity (which included a week of dripfeeding the photos to our page post-event), the average reach per post was 3,707 people with 7,268 “talking” or creating a story. Total “reach” – the number of unique people who saw any content about that post including both fans and non fans – was 218,742. From December 1, 2015 to April 23, 2016 the facebook page received 278,222 impressions from 166,989 unique users.

Part of our social media marketing strategy for Tortola Torture was to start reaching a broader Caribbean and US market: 97,200 impressions came from Puerto Rico, 19,700 from the US, 12,400 from the UK. We bolstered our organic posts with targeted facebook boosts (paid) with one post reaching 11,600 people. For the same period, our twitter activity generated 41,026 impressions, 150.2 per tweet, 244.2 impressions per user.

We also activated an Instagram account:

Sunrise at the start of the Tortola Torture

On race day itself, we provided live coverage of the event with a 4-person team out on the course and at the office, including two photographers to catch all the action.  With professional runners at the front of the pack, the race was fast-paced and a real challenge to keep up with the leader and then track back to the cover the rest of the runners.  Live tweets commenced at the start of the race at 5am and continued until the award ceremony, some nine hours later. featured live blogging of the event.   All sponsor logos were prominently displayed in a column on the left of the feed which went live on Friday evening at the Briefing & Pasta Party.


2016 Live Replay:


Official Tortola Torture tech tees and finishers medals