How to Organize Your Own Race for Runners
They encourage us to run, they give us water when we are thirsty, and they tell us that we did a good job when we are finished – those energetic race directors with the clipboards and walkie-talkies. Have you ever wanted to become one of them, even for a race of 50 participants? Below you will find some suggestions on how to become a successful race director. Take good notes though, it takes a lot of effort, and your reward may not be anything more than a big garbage can full of paper cups at each rest stop, which is strangely enough the best reward that you could think for.
What to do before the race
- Choose a name - Come up with an appropriate name for your event. One that is related to some local highlight or historical aspect of the area is always a good one to use.
- Select a course - Choose one or more courses for your event in order to offer different distances for participants of all levels. Measure each course accurately. Make sure to avoid the dangerous spots along the course and include warning signs for the unavoidable ones. Marking each mile or kilometer will leave the participants with an impression of a well organized race, and be appreciated during the event.
- Plan a budget - Plan the budget of your race. Your expenses should include: administrative costs, advertising (flyers, posters, race results booklets), banners for the start and finish, megaphone, digital clock for the finish line, bib numbers for participants, safety pins, food and beverages for the refreshment area and finish area, paper cups, paint for marking the course, trash cans, awards for the participants, and thank you gifts for volunteers.
- Obtain authorizations - You may have to obtain an authorization from police and other traffic authorities (variable from nation to nation).
- Manage volunteering - You will need volunteers for all aspects of the race: registration process, aid stations, traffic patrolling along the course, and awards distribution. Volunteers should wear the same T-Shirt or uniform to easily identify them. They should also be in contact via walkie-talkies.
- Prepare a flyer - Making flyers is one of the important tasks. It is a key for a successful race. Make sure that all of this information is written on the flyer: name of the event, date of the event, location of start and finish, directions on how to get there, starting time, course distance and a description as accurate as possible (a course map with elevation is the best), entry fee and registration deadline, awards (for each participant and for age group winners), race contact information (address, telephone, fax, e-mail, website of the organizing committee), and sponsors.
- Insure medical coverage - Notify local hospital about the upcoming event. Have ambulances on site for emergencies.
- Obtain insurance coverage - Make sure to obtain insurance coverage for you event, and take into consideration the worse case scenarios.
- Send press releases - Send a press release to the local papers and running related periodicals.
- Buy awards - Have awards and prizes ready as soon as possible. In order to please more people you might consider limiting the cost for the premier awards, and allow for participation awards of lesser cost to be available for a certain number of arrivals.
- Buy race numbers - Purchase the race numbers early, and it is always better to order more than the number of runners expected. Make sure to have plenty of safety pins for participants to pin the number on themselves.
- Find sponsors - Local groups and businesses are good to contact for sponsorship. Delegate the task to more than one person.
What to do the day of the race
- Be there early - Runners tend to be at the starting point hours before the start, so it is essential that the organization be there even earlier and have the registration table ready to welcome them. The main organizer should wear something that stands out in color or design to be easily recognized.
- Check that everything is working and in place - Check that all the electrical appliances, lights, computers, and digital clock are working, and that the banners, signs, refreshment stops, garbage cans and volunteers are in place.
- Run the race yourself - Have a volunteer participate in the race to edit the organization and submit feedback for the next edition.
What to do after the race
- Remember to clean - All areas of the race should be cleaned after the event.
- Send press releases - Send press releases with photographs to the local papers and running related periodicals.
- Send results - Send results to participants along with a thank you note.
- Send thank you notes - Send thank you notes to volunteers, sponsors, authorities and anyone who helped set up your running event.
- Prepare for next year - Take good note of the problems encountered and document positive and negative feedback for next year's edition. Contact Us with suggestions that you did not find in this list and would like to share with other race organizers.
Articles for race organizers
- The Problems with Male Pacemaking - A male pacemaker in a female race is an alien intrusion; he is not an integral part of the event. The male runner cannot be part of the female race because he is not eligible to win it. The sole purpose of the male pacemaker is to aid the leading woman. The purpose of that aid is to enable her to run faster than she would have done without his assistance. Therefore the male pacemaker distorts the results of the women's race, giving a false impression of what the leading female runner can achieve in open competition on her own.
- Age Divisions for Kids - We can all agree on the value of kids running simply for the fun of it, and for the development of healthy bodies and sharp minds. During road races, adult runners and spectators often speak words of encouragement - and sometimes, amazement - as fleet-footed youngsters zip past. Despite all of these motivators, it's no secret that many kids find their greatest joy in competing. For them, there is nothing more satisfying than collecting some well-deserved medal or trophy at the end of a gutsy race.
Running links for race organizers
- - We serve track and cross country meets and road races, mostly in Minnesota, but also do the NCAA Division III Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships (since 1997) and occasionally an NCAA Cross Country Championship as well (DI, DII, and DIII). The software we use is Apple RaceberryJaM, which is used by discerning meet and race directors (as well as other computer service companies) around the world.
- - This site contains the calendar and the results of the most importants races in Brazil.
- - Graphic FX custom design and screen printing has over 10 years of experience designing and printing race T-shirts. Some of the benefits the company offers are an excellent computerized and traditional graphic and logo design capabilities, an automated printing process for high speed and consistently high quality T-shirt production, a fast turnaround of both artwork and finished goods (3-5 days possible with no rush charges).
- - Hermes Sports & Events is Cleveland's premier event management company. Here at Hermes, we strive to provide Cleveland and its surrounding communities with quality athletic events that stimulates competition, fun, and healthy living. We are dedicated to the communities we serve that why our motto is the "Home Team Advantage." Our website provides viewers with a chance to get to know Hermes and see what we are about. Calendar of events, directions, on-line registration, and races results are just a few things that has to offer.
- - Our website includes information on all of our upcoming race events, race results, volunteer opportunities and services Kinane Events provides.
- - Marathons, road races, triathlons, duathlons, and other events in Chile (even in Easter Island).
- - A selection of Canada's best runs! From 5k's to full marathons, we offer safe, accurate courses for runners of all skill and competitive levels. Our feature event is the best marathon course in Canada, the "Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon" (see the website for more details).
- - Road race timing and finish line results.
- - Thye goal of Sport Volunteers is to promote, organize and inform volunteers about national and international sport events.