Running shops Running clubs running coaches Sport clinics Race services Photographers T-shirt shops Trophy shops Signs and banners top_menu

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR OWN RACE

This article will give tips and explain the basics of how to organize and direct your race, not only to assure its success, but also future races. Runners will remember a poorly run race where the course was not marked properly or there were no awards. The first time they attend maybe your only opportunity to encourage future attendance. Before you start planning your race it is important to understand the two  basic types of runners and why they show up on race day.

Why do runners show up on race day?

  • 1-Competition and the possibility of winning an award.
  • 2-Socialize with old running friends and meet new ones.
  • 3-The possibility of winning a great door prize.
  • 4-Support a charity or good cause, especially if it is related to them.
  • 5-See results of their personal training and get an improved race time.
  • 6-Special events or festivals associated with the race.
  • 7-Feel  good  that the morning was not wasted by staying in bed.
  • 8-Raise fitness level which should help make training runs easier.
  • 9-Change of pace from daily running routine.
  • 10-Feeling for seasoned runners that they are still in shape.
  • 11-There are “diehards” who look forward to a weekly race.
  • 12-There are “newbies” who are checking out the whole experience.


As we can see there are many reasons why a race can be a great fundraiser, provided it is properly organized from start to finish.

What are the two basic types of runners who enter a race?

A-The “diehard” runner who runs a race almost every weekend. This type doesn’t mind supporting the race cause, but is mainly there to try and win an award or door prize and meet up with fellow race friends.

B-The “support” runner who does not normally run a lot of races and is expected to be there because they are directly affiliated with the race cause.

Every race will contain a certain percentage of both types. For example, your race may contain 40% “support” runners and 60% “diehard” runners which is why taking into account such basics as awards, door prizes, and dynamic environment are important not only to draw these “diehard” runners but to satisfy them so they will spread the word to all their friends to assure that future race events will be even better.

Again, remember the “support” runners are a given and will always be there for their cause but the “diehard” runners or runners which are not directly affiliated with the race cause who usually make up the majority of the race runners must be sought through advertising methods, such as a flyer or internet sources which list items they are seeking. There can sometimes be numerous races on the same weekend where the “diehard” competitive runners must decide which one to run, which is why it is so important to consider all the details when planning your race. If you, as the race director are NOT a “diehard” runner, you may not have the insight to know what a disappointment it is to try so hard in the race, knowing you have done so well where you passed that opponent that normally beats you, only to find out that there are no age group awards or only awards for the top three runners. One reason some “diehard” runners are there is to try and win and award. It is their main motivation for participating in the race. When race directors who have no or sparse awards are confronted, the main reason given is usually “we are a new race where funds are limited”. The fact that funds are limited should not have anything to do with the handing out of awards. For example: awards are not required to be trophies or medals. There are less expensive alternatives such as: paper certificates (that could even be printed from your personal computer), painted rocks, ceramic tiles or plates with 1st, 2nd, 3rd painted on them and ribbons which are low cost and only take some labor to produce. A runner who is seeking an award is seeking competition, challenge and the opportunity to win a well run organized race.

The decision to use money and/or gift certificates or cards produces mixed responses with “diehards”. Some “diehards” actually prefer this, while others would prefer some type of award which can be displayed or saved. The safe bet is, if you use cash and/or gift certificates or cards, take a few minutes to print a few award certificates indicating the position they placed in the race.

In any case, the whole point of this discussion is to convey to race directors the importance of age group “awards”, because without them there will surely be some disappointed runners that will not participate in next years’ race!!! So the worst thing you can do is to either have no awards or just have awards for the top three finishers and no age group awards. The standard is to have  1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards in each age group. Age groups are normally in 5 or 10 year increments, for example 20 to 24 and 25 to 29, or 20 to 29. The award structure should always be listed on the race flyer or entry form because this information is used by many runners in making a choice on which race to run on any given weekend.


STEP 1-Define your reason for having the race


A race can be used to raise funds for any charitable cause and also creates an opportunity to promote local businesses through sponsorships. If you have a passion for a particular cause then consider becoming a race director to raise funds. If the race will raise money for the community, people will often donate their time and business services and also consider contacting the local running club for help and expertise.

So the first step in organizing the race is to clearly define why you are having it, such as raising money to buy much needed instruments for a high school band, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, child abuse, or storm ridden homeless families. This reason or cause along with how the funds raised from the race will be used should always be clearly stated in all ads or flyers.

STEP 2-Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork

You will need help in organizing the race, so choose a group of people who you know are motivated and can trust. These individuals may be directly affiliated with the chosen cause or  friends and relatives. Again it cannot be overstated that a successful race will have a  group or team where everyone is highly motivated and dependable. The size of the group or team can vary however it should have the Race Director, Assistant Race Director, Secretary, Treasurer, Running Advisor, Logo Designer, and  Marketing Coordinator. When setting up the team it is always nice to have a few seasoned runners or at least one designated as the Running Advisor.  In summing up, whether your race is large or small you will need to get a group together to start planning.

STEP 3-DEFINE THE KEY ITEMS AND ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITIES

Now that you have assembled a team of energetic individuals all having the same goal, it is important to define the Key items normally associated with any race. There is no specific order or time frame associated with the Key items listed below.  Think of it as just a “catch all” type list of things that will need to be addressed in order to make your race a success. It is your responsibility as Race director to develop a “plan of action” on how you want to address each of these Key items. Some such as the name, date, and time of the race will be developed through group discussions while others such as the advertising, finding of tee shirts, and creating a budget will be assigned to individual members or groups of members.  Your plan should include a time line of events and periodic whole group meetings and individual follow-ups. It is important to bring the whole group together so everyone will feel they are staying on track and on the way to organizing a great race. Remember motivation of your team members is your responsibility and without it, you will most likely become overburdened and reduce your chances of organizing a good race.

Key race organization items:

  • A.    Race distance: 5k, 10k, or both
  • B.    Type of race: public road, trail, certified
  • C.    Date and time for the race
  • D.    Desired race size or expected participants
  • E.    Name of the race
  • F.    Race location
  • G.    Race registration policies and fees
  • H.    How to advertise the race
  • I.    How to manage and time the race
  • J.    Type of drinks and snacks
  • K.    How to find volunteers
  • L.    How to locate sponsors
  • M.    Race categories and type of awards
  • N.    Goody bags and tee-shirts
  • O.    Create a BUDGET
  • P.    Determine needed licenses/permissions/insurances
  • Q.    Race day schedule
  • R.    Race day safety
  • S.    Create a timeline to insure everything gets done
  • T.    Design a race logo, flyer or entry form


A-Race distance: The 10k or 6.2 mile race was essentially all there was years ago, however over time the 5k which is 3.1 miles has become the race of choice. Some races have only one race associated with it, for example just a 5k, however most are a combination of several races. There are too many race day combinations to list, however some of the most popular ones are listed below.

Just pick one and go with it!!

  • 5k run
  • 5k run, 1 mile fun run
  • 5k run, 5k walk, 1 mile fun run
  • 10k run
  • 10k run, 1 mile fun run
  • 10k run, 5k run, 1 mile fun run
  • 5 mile run
  • 8k run
  • 10 mile run
  • Half marathon
  • Half marathon, 10k, 5k
  • Marathon
  • Marathon, half marathon, 5k


B-Type of race: Choosing the type of race is important because it can have a direct effect on items such as race attendance and the amount of needed law enforcement personnel. For example, a paved road race inside the city may draw more participates, however would require more law enforcement to block off roads. A trail or dirt path race in a large city park or country location would require little to no law enforcement which can sometimes be expensive. Another consideration is whether your race should be on a course where the distance has been certified. This is usually not a major concern for most runners however even though your course is not certified it should somehow be measured for accuracy because runners measure their performance by their race time. A 5k or 3.1 mile race that is just 0.1 (3.2 miles) too long or short could make someone’s time 45 seconds to 1 minute off. Race course certifiers normally charge a nominal $75 fee to show up and certify the course you have chosen and slightly more if you prefer them to choose the course. Other considerations when choosing the type of course are excessive hills and turns where it must be decided if a challenging course or a flat straight up and back type course or course which starts in one area and finishes in another area 3.1 miles away, will be chosen.

Just pick one and go with it!!

  • Paved public streets
  • Gravel or dirt trails
  • Certified race course distance
  • Non certified race course distance
  • Hilly, windy challenging course
  • Flat less challenging course
  • Up and back course or different finish area


C- Date and time for the race: Most race directors begin planning for their race 6 months to a year before race day. Choosing a date for your race can be difficult because items such as holiday weekends  and competition with other race events should be considered. There are no crystal balls where it is basically a gamble when trying to pick a date with no other scheduled races. The best that can be done is to review last year’s races and to make your race have something special to get an edge on the others and to assure good participation. If you are worried about the competition then another way to get around it is to consider scheduling your race on a Friday or Saturday evening, or Sunday afternoon instead of the traditional Saturday morning at 8 or 9 am.

D-Desired race size:  A great turn out for an inaugural race would be 100 to 150 participants. If the race is well planned it will eventually become a staple for most runners to look forward to participating each year where the size of the race will most likely continue to increase. Plan for around 100 runners the first time around, however consider a backup plan (cash fund for extra food which can be purchased during the run) because conditions could be just right with no other races to compete with and the weather is good where there could be a lot of race day registrations. This indeed would be a great thing to happen!

E-Name of the race: The name of the race is really not that important but should be one of the first things decided so that marketing can begin such as listings on internet sites, newspapers, magazines, and race flyers. It is always good to include the cause in the name. For example, The 1st Annual Bay River 5k Run for Heart Disease.

F-Race location: Race location and Type of race go hand-in-hand but are not the same. The Type of race defines the surface they will be running on and whether the course is hilly, flat, or certified. The location of the race is the actual venue or property where the course is located. It is important to find a location which has sufficient parking and space for everyone to register before the race and assemble to eat and receive awards after the race. This means that somewhere on the race course there needs to be a main area which is used for these purposes. Most race courses finish in the vicinity where they started, however there are some which start in one place and finish in another. If this is to be the case then there a couple options, the food and post race activities will be at the remote finish area or buses can be present at the finish area to bring the runners back to the starting area. This however may be an added cost unless the bus services are donated.

G-Race registration policies and fees: The policy or rules for accepting applications and payments should be decided as soon as possible so that marketing can begin such as listings on internet sites, newspapers, magazines, and race flyers. These rules should be made clear and may include some of the examples listed below.

  • Pre-registration: January 14 – April 14 FEE: $20 5K RUN, $10 1 MILE FUN RUN
  • Mail entry form with a check or register and pay at specified on line websites
  • Day of Race registration: April 30 FEE $25 5K RUN, $15 1 MILE FUN RUN
  • First 100 registered runners are guaranteed a tee-shirt
  • Day of Race registration is from 7:00am to 7:45AM


The appointed Treasurer should be set up to receive and keep track of all payments. It is also important to spend some time discussing entry fee costs. The “diehard” runner who typically runs a race every weekend tends to look for the races having lower entry fees which is why trying to keep them as low as possible is important if you want a good race day turn out. Entry fees typically range from $15 to $25 when pre registering and $20 to $30 on race day, so setting a fee of $40 would not be recommended. If $40 is needed to make a profit then it may be that you are over budget or have not solicited enough sponsorships. These are typical 5k and 10k costs where larger half marathon and marathon races are generally considerably more.

H-How to advertise the race: There are many venues for marketing your race such as the ones listed below. Be sure to take advantage of them because it is hard to expect a good turnout for the race if only a limited number of people are aware of it.

  • Post your race to websites such as just4running.com, runnersworld.com, active.com
  • Post your race on local running club race calendars
  • The event announcements on local radio stations
  • The event section in local newspapers
  • The sports announcements on local television stations
  • Leaving your race flyers with the local running club so they will displayed at local races
  • Leaving your race flyers with local running stores
  • Posting your race flyers at local grocery store bulletin boards
  • Creating your own race website and/or Facebook page.
  • Attend local races and place your flyers on runners cars
  • Request all sponsors heavily promote the race


Timing however is critical, for example posting the race on internet running websites can be done immediately or months before race day, however having it mentioned on a television or radio station should be done no sooner than a week before the race.

I-How to manage and time the race: This articles gives tips and information on how to organize your own race however if this is not for you then another option to consider would be to hire a race management company or race director who for a fee will plan and facilitate the entire race. There is no doubt that organizing a race from start to finish can be time consuming, however the combination of a good team and advice from your local running club should ease the burden.

The chosen method of timing your race should be well understand and implemented so that runners times and results are accurate. There are various ways this is accomplished such as the ones listed below.

•    INDEX CARDS-Instruct volunteers to hand each runner an index card with their race place number as they cross the finish line. Each runner will then fill out their time and age on the card and place it in the appropriate age category box slot.

•    RACE BIBS-Hire a race timing company or local running club to time your race by punching a clicker that prints the time on a roll of paper each time a runner crosses the finish line along with pulling the race tab off the bottom of each runners bib as they cross the finish line and placing them in proper order so they can be hand entered into a computer program at the end of the race. 

•    CHIP TIMING-Hire a race timing company that does chip timing. A small chip secured to each runners shoe registers the time each runner crosses the finish line. Sometimes this is combined with race bibs in order to sort through any chip errors.

J-Type of drinks and snacks: It is important to have food and drinks ready for the runners after they cross the finish line. After running you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible. Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding stored glucose within the first 30 minutes after exercise. Eating as soon as possible after the race can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. You'll want to provide them carbs and proteins. A good rule of thumb for post-run food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs. Examples of good post race food are fruits, bagels, Clif and Power bars, and yogurt. Drinks should include water, sports drinks, and chocolate milk if possible. Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins making it a great recovery drink.

K-How to find volunteers: You will need plenty of volunteers for your race to be a success. Finding volunteers can sometimes be difficult where sources may include the ones listed below.
•    If the race is supporting a specific organization then solicit volunteers from them
•    If the race is being organized by an organization or business then solicit volunteers from them
•    Solicit volunteers from local running clubs
•    Having you and your team solicit friends and relatives to volunteer
•    Solicit volunteers from businesses sponsoring the race
•    Solicit a volunteer or two from an upcoming race after allowing them to place their race flyer in your goodie bag given to all registered runners

The numbers of volunteers needed for a small to medium race will vary and volunteers can pull double or triple duties such as the ones working the registration table before the race can also assist in handing out door prizes and clean up after the race. The key here is for management whether it be the race director or assistant race director, to assign specific jobs and continually travel around to make sure they are being properly done or to see if they need any additional assistance. Also be sure to make sure everyone has your cell phone number so you be contacted in case of an emergency.

•    3 to 4 taking runner registrations before the race
•    3 to 4 to direct traffic as runners arrive for the race
•    3 to 4 to setup water stops, signs, and volunteers along course route
•    2 to 3 to setup and maintain the pre and after race food and drinks
•    1 placed at each mile marker
•    1 at any unmarked or confusing race course turns or intersections
•    3 to 4 at each water station
•    3 to 4 directing and pulling race bibs tabs at the finish line
•    2 assisting with the timing when not using a timing company or running club
•    2 to tabulate the results when not using a timing company or running club
•    2 for calling door prizes and handing out awards
•    3 to 4 for after race clean up

If the race is on city streets then most likely your volunteers will be working around local law enforcement personal that will be blocking streets and directing traffic.

L-How to locate sponsors:   There are many costs associated with a road race such as tee-shirts, law enforcement, signs, timing, drinks, and food. The money to pay for these items must come from somewhere.  The amount collected from the entry fees is typically just enough to pay for these items which is why gathering sponsors is important. They will donate money or needed products which will help reduce overall costs and give you the profit you are aiming for.  Sponsors are looking for ways to advertise their service or product so don’t be afraid to approach a wide variety of them.

•    Talk with local businesses to find out if they would like to setup a tent at the race, place a product in the goodie bag or be on the back of the race tee-shirt. In exchange for this they would be asked to donate money or needed goods.

•    Target health related businesses such as sporting good stores, specialty running stores, physicians, sports clinics, running coaches, personal trainers, and massage therapists.

•    Visit large chain stores such as Wal-mart and large supermarkets that are known to already have a budget for community events.

•    It is best to visit these stores in person however sending them emails is good alternative because you never know who wants to advertise.

M-Race categories and type of awards: THIS TOPIC WAS THROIUGHLY EXPLORED AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS ARTICLE WHERE IT WAS STATED THAT IN ORDER TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL RACE WITH RUNNERS WANTING TO RETURN THE NEXT YEAR THERE SHOULD BE A PROPER AWARD STRUCTURE!! 

There is simply no good reason for not having awards. A lot of runners show up to run a race in hopes of receiving a small token of recognition if they perform well.  A proper award structure involves having male and female age divisions and categories such as the ones listed below.

Overall First Female
Overall Second Female
Overall Third Female

Overall First Male
Overall Second Male
Overall Third Male

Overall Female Masters (40+)
Overall Male Masters (40+)

Overall Female Grand Masters (60+)
Overall Male Grand Masters (60+)

Female and Male Age Group Categories:

1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 0-10
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 10-19
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 20-24
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 25-29
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 30-34
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 35-39
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 40-44
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 45-49
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 50-54
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 55-59
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 60-64
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 65-69
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 70+

The above age categories are 3 deep in 5 year increments where at the very least if your race is planning to be small there should be 2 deep in 10 year increments. For example this would mean an award should be handed out for 1st and 2nd place in 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+ categories.

In previous years, awards consisted mainly of trophies, however in recent years a shift has been made to medals or medallions. These items are not as costly and like trophies are sometimes donated by sponsors or purchased with sponsor provided funds. When asked, the main reasons for NOT purchasing awards is “We are a new race and do not have the money” or “We are new at this and did not realize we needed to hand out awards”. Well as stated earlier in this article, if money is an issue then less expensive or no cost alternatives such as paper certificates or rocks, shells, or ceramic tiles painted with a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd can be used.

Sometimes the top three runners will receive a large cash award and no one else gets anything. This is also not recommended because the top three runners are used to getting awards leaving all other runners with nothing where at the very least some sort of awards should be handed out for various age categories.

N-Goody bags and tee-shirts: Light cloth sponsor covered goody bags have become very popular. They can contain various items which are listed below.

•    Sponsor related sample product packets.
•    Sponsor related advertising flyers.
•    Sponsor related promotional products such as pens or small frisbees.
•    Health or energy bars.
•    Tee-shirts or ball caps.
•    Upcoming race flyers.
•    Magazine and other product offers, discounts, or coupons.

Goody bags are usually donated by the sponsor printed on the side of them and are filled with various sponsor donated items and are not usually an actual race expense. They however must be obtained by seeking a vendor who is willing to pay for them.

Tee shirts are normally considered to be one of the largest race expenses, costing as much as $5 a piece. This means that if a statement is made on the entry form that the first 100 runners are guaranteed a tee-shirt then your cost would be $500. This is why it is best to try and receive cash donations from as many sponsors as possible in exchange for placing their business name or logo on the back of the shirt. You may even be lucky enough to get a single vendor to pay them because they will want to be the only sponsor on the back of the shirt! Tee-shirts have always been expected when registering for a race so be sure to have them on hand during race day or pre race packet pickup times.

Alternatives for tee-shirts are ball caps, light duty back packs, or gloves.

O-Create a BUDGET: Try to estimate your expenses from the start. Do some preliminary research as to the cost of items such as tee-shirts, law enforcement, signs, timing, drinks, and food. This budget is going to help you determine items such as what to set the cost of the entry fee in order to make a good profit. It is very important to keep good records of all expenses and incoming donations and entry fees in order to be able to determine if the race was really profitable. This should be done from start to finish so you can tell where your budget is at any given time. For example it will allow you to determine where you are at three weeks before the start of the race, and if you find out you are in the red or will actually be losing money or just be breaking even then there will still be enough time to seek new donations and sponsorships. Remember to keeps tabs on what is going out and coming in because as a rule, you certainly do not want to lose money! This means selecting a competent treasurer who has experience in keeping close tabs on a budget. KNOW YOUR BUDGET!
P-Determine needed licenses/permissions/insurances: The actual location of your race dictates whether or not you will need to obtain permission or licenses from local authorities to conduct your race event. Before proceeding with selecting a date and marketing this needs to be addressed. For example if the chosen location is in a main downtown area, then informing the city (usually the right city office can be located by contacting city hall or the chamber of commerce) of your selected race date along with the local law enforcement would be recommended. If both entities agree then you are all set and ready to proceed. Failure to do this can delay promotions and greatly affect your profits. If  your race is located on personal property such as a farm you are good to go as long as you have permission from the owner. State and National parks will also require permission to conduct a race within their facilities.

Remember you will be using someone else’s property so do your homework up front and obtain the necessary permissions, licenses, or permits before proceeding.

Also be aware that some government agencies and property owners where the race will be conducted will require you purchase a 1-day liability insurance policy for your event. These type of policies are usually in the amount of 1 to 2 million dollars per incident. Many insurance companies do not sell special event insurance, however the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) and the USATF (USA Track and Field) are known for selling them. Even if not required, it may not be a bad idea to check into this and purchase some type of policy.

Q-Race day schedule: Before race day arrives it is a good idea to thoroughly plan and organize the entire day from first arrival at the site to disposing of the trash collected before leaving the site. There will be too many things happening all at one time throughout the day to simply wing it from memory where a well planned written schedule is recommended. This schedule should contain the items listed below.

•    Exact timeline of all events.
•    Checklist of Volunteers and contact numbers.
•    Checklist of Volunteer job assignments.
•    Checklist of Race management names and contact numbers.
•    Checklist of Vender/Sponsor names and contact numbers.
•    Checklist of attending health professionals, fire departments, and ambulance services.
•    Law enforcement names and contact numbers.
•    Checklist of all needed items: tents, tables, signs, food, entry forms, etc…

Included in the race day events should be an announcer to explain the race course after everyone has approached the START LINE when then starts the race with a horn, gun, or loud yell.

It is also important to note that sometimes it may be beneficial to arrive the day or night before the race and perform everything that can be done to help reduce some tension or race day workloads. Items which can be done are listed below.

•    Placement of signs and painted road markers along the race route.
•    Checking the race route for any issues such as fallen trees and roadways suddenly under construction.
•    Verification of bathroom facilities. This is very important because if no public facilities are available and port-a-toilets were ordered then making sure they are there before race day is a MUST!!

R-Race day safety: Safety of the runners is the MOST important issue with any race!! When talking about safety ALWAYS plan for the worst case scenario, such as a runner passing out do the heat or experiencing a stroke or heart attack along the course. If everyone that started the race crosses the finish line with no problems then you have certainly had a successful event. General safety measures may include but are not limited to the ones listed below.

•    Make sure law enforcement is available to block off roads and direct traffic.
•    Make sure there are sufficient water stations and volunteers to hand out water.
•    Make sure there are enough strategically placed volunteers to keep runners on course.
•    Make sure there are health professionals present such as an ambulance or EMT fire personnel.
•    Make sure to give all course placed volunteer’s proper emergency numbers.
•    Conduct a general safety meeting with all race volunteers before the start of the race.
•    Travel the course before race to verify there are no vicious loose dogs.
•    If the race is at night then make sure the entire course is well lit.
•    If the race is a trail run then make sure there are no flooded areas after a storm.

S-Create a timeline to insure everything gets done: It is not only important to have a timeline for race day but also during the entire planning phase.  This timeline may need to be continually updated however is essential in staying organized or on track to insure there are no major race day issues. This timeline should contain everything that needs to be done along with all management, vendor, sponsor, and volunteer assignments, names, and contact numbers.

T-Design a race logo, flyer or entry form: The design director is in charge of creating the logo for the race based on the agreed theme. This logo should be directly related to the actual cause or organization being supported. The director will also design the actual race entry form and any associated posters, lawn signs, and tee-shirts.
The terms flyer, entry form, and application are all used interchangeably or essentially all refer to the same thing, being the paper document that each runner must sign in order to be entered in the race. Sometimes a flyer is like a poster which only contains information such as race name, date, time, place, and award structure. Flyers, entry, or application forms can be produced as Word documents, PDF files, or JPEG picture files and can usually be printed off various websites where they are then mailed in for runner registration.
A registration or race entry form must not only look good but also have the details about the race and contain a “wavier of liability”. A better understanding of what this waiver should include can be gained by reviewing numerous entry forms which can be accessed on internet websites such as just4running.com, runnersworld.com, active.com or your local running club website.

Sample waiver excerpt: To the best of my knowledge, I am in good physical condition and fully able to participate in this course. I am fully aware of the risks and hazards connected with the participation in this event, including physical injury or even death, and herby elect to voluntarily participate in said event, knowing that the associated physical activity may be hazardous to me and my property. I VOLUNTARILY ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY RISKS OR LOSS, PROPERTY DAMAGE, OR PERSONAL INJURY, INCLUDING DEATH, that may be sustained by me, or loss or damage to property owned by me, as a result of participation in this course.

 
STEP 4-Race day

Use of the outline below as a general guideline or sequence of events that needs to occur before, during, and after the race.

A-Before race
A.    Volunteer arrival and placement
B.    Entry signs and parking
C.    Bathroom verification
D.    Runner registration
E.    Law Enforcement arrival
F.    Verify race course markings and check for stray dogs
G.    Water stop preparation
H.    Race timing set-up
I.    After race food setup
J.    Race Photographer arrival
K.    Safety meeting with volunteers
L.    Emergency medical personal arrival
M.    Placement of volunteers throughout race course
N.    Placement of volunteers at each water stop
O.    Law enforcement in place along race course

B-During Race
A.    Starting line announcements
B.    Finish line timing in process
C.    Race course volunteers in action
D.    Water stop  volunteers in action
E.    Law enforcement in action
F.    Race photographer in action
G.    Final food preparation
H.    Emergency medical personal on-site

C-After Race
A.    Door prizes
B.    Entertainment
C.    Calculate race times
D.    Awards ceremony
E.    Cleanup

STEP 5-Post race day items

Well race day is over and it is now time to sit down after taking a bit of a breather and determine if the race was successful. It is always nice to have a high profit from a large runner turnout, however keep in mind that this is not the only measure of success. As stated throughout this article it is also IMPORTANT to make sure each runner has left the race with the desire to return again next year and to spread the word that it was a GREAT RACE. So even if profits are low the first and second years of the race, don’t become too discouraged, because if it was ran well where the runners are happy, it was a success because it will only continue to grow and grow in the upcoming years.

A.    Determine overall profit
B.    Post race results on internet
C.    Evaluate any race issues
D.    Send out thank-you notes to vendors/sponsors
E.    Hand out tee-shirts and/or thank-you notes to all volunteers
F.    Email survey runners for feedback
G.    Start planning for next year



Be sure to remember to keep a good budget so you actually end up making money, take race safety seriously, and plan a unique race where everyone has a good time so they will want to spread the word and return for next year’s race!

Whoa, wow, betcha didn’t realize there was that much to do. Well don’t sit and worry about it, just select a good cause, assemble a great team, and before you know it you’ll be off to the races!!

Written by the staff at Just4running.com
All rights reserved.
Copyright protected.

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR OWN RACE
This article will give tips and explain the basics of how to organize and direct your race, not only to assure its success, but also future races. Runners will remember a poorly run race where the course was not marked properly or there were no awards. The first time they attend maybe your only opportunity to encourage future attendance. Before you start planning your race it is important to understand the two  basic types of runners and why they show up on race day.

Why do runners show up on race day?
1-Competition and the possibility of winning an award.
2-Socialize with old running friends and meet new ones.
3-The possibility of winning a great door prize.
4-Support a charity or good cause, especially if it is related to them.
5-See results of their personal training and get an improved race time.
6-Special events or festivals associated with the race.
7-Feel  good  that the morning was not wasted by staying in bed.
8-Raise fitness level which should help make training runs easier.
9-Change of pace from daily running routine.
10-Feeling for seasoned runners that they are still in shape.
11-There are “diehards” who look forward to a weekly race.
12-There are “newbies” who are checking out the whole experience.

As we can see there are many reasons why a race can be a great fundraiser, provided it is properly organized from start to finish.

What are the two basic types of runners who enter a race?

A-The “diehard” runner who runs a race almost every weekend. This type doesn’t mind supporting the race cause, but is mainly there to try and win an award or door prize and meet up with fellow race friends.

B-The “support” runner who does not normally run a lot of races and is expected to be there because they are directly affiliated with the race cause.

Every race will contain a certain percentage of both types. For example, your race may contain 40% “support” runners and 60% “diehard” runners which is why taking into account such basics as awards, door prizes, and dynamic environment are important not only to draw these “diehard” runners but to satisfy them so they will spread the word to all their friends to assure that future race events will be even better.

Again, remember the “support” runners are a given and will always be there for their cause but the “diehard” runners or runners which are not directly affiliated with the race cause who usually make up the majority of the race runners must be sought through advertising methods, such as a flyer or internet sources which list items they are seeking. There can sometimes be numerous races on the same weekend where the “diehard” competitive runners must decide which one to run, which is why it is so important to consider all the details when planning your race. If you, as the race director are NOT a “diehard” runner, you may not have the insight to know what a disappointment it is to try so hard in the race, knowing you have done so well where you passed that opponent that normally beats you, only to find out that there are no age group awards or only awards for the top three runners. One reason some “diehard” runners are there is to try and win and award. It is their main motivation for participating in the race. When race directors who have no or sparse awards are confronted, the main reason given is usually “we are a new race where funds are limited”. The fact that funds are limited should not have anything to do with the handing out of awards. For example: awards are not required to be trophies or medals. There are less expensive alternatives such as: paper certificates (that could even be printed from your personal computer), painted rocks, ceramic tiles or plates with 1st, 2nd, 3rd painted on them and ribbons which are low cost and only take some labor to produce. A runner who is seeking an award is seeking competition, challenge and the opportunity to win a well run organized race.

The decision to use money and/or gift certificates or cards produces mixed responses with “diehards”. Some “diehards” actually prefer this, while others would prefer some type of award which can be displayed or saved. The safe bet is, if you use cash and/or gift certificates or cards, take a few minutes to print a few award certificates indicating the position they placed in the race.

In any case, the whole point of this discussion is to convey to race directors the importance of age group “awards”, because without them there will surely be some disappointed runners that will not participate in next years’ race!!! So the worst thing you can do is to either have no awards or just have awards for the top three finishers and no age group awards. The standard is to have  1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards in each age group. Age groups are normally in 5 or 10 year increments, for example 20 to 24 and 25 to 29, or 20 to 29. The award structure should always be listed on the race flyer or entry form because this information is used by many runners in making a choice on which race to run on any given weekend.

STEP 1-Define your reason for having the race

A race can be used to raise funds for any charitable cause and also creates an opportunity to promote local businesses through sponsorships. If you have a passion for a particular cause then consider becoming a race director to raise funds. If the race will raise money for the community, people will often donate their time and business services and also consider contacting the local running club for help and expertise.

So the first step in organizing the race is to clearly define why you are having it, such as raising money to buy much needed instruments for a high school band, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, child abuse, or storm ridden homeless families. This reason or cause along with how the funds raised from the race will be used should always be clearly stated in all ads or flyers.

STEP 2-Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork

You will need help in organizing the race, so choose a group of people who you know are motivated and can trust. These individuals may be directly affiliated with the chosen cause or  friends and relatives. Again it cannot be overstated that a successful race will have a  group or team where everyone is highly motivated and dependable. The size of the group or team can vary however it should have the Race Director, Assistant Race Director, Secretary, Treasurer, Running Advisor, Logo Designer, and  Marketing Coordinator. When setting up the team it is always nice to have a few seasoned runners or at least one designated as the Running Advisor.  In summing up, whether your race is large or small you will need to get a group together to start planning.

STEP 3-DEFINE THE KEY ITEMS AND ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITIES

Now that you have assembled a team of energetic individuals all having the same goal, it is important to define the Key items normally associated with any race. There is no specific order or time frame associated with the Key items listed below.  Think of it as just a “catch all” type list of things that will need to be addressed in order to make your race a success. It is your responsibility as Race director to develop a “plan of action” on how you want to address each of these Key items. Some such as the name, date, and time of the race will be developed through group discussions while others such as the advertising, finding of tee shirts, and creating a budget will be assigned to individual members or groups of members.  Your plan should include a time line of events and periodic whole group meetings and individual follow-ups. It is important to bring the whole group together so everyone will feel they are staying on track and on the way to organizing a great race. Remember motivation of your team members is your responsibility and without it, you will most likely become overburdened and reduce your chances of organizing a good race.

Key race organization items:

A.    Race distance: 5k, 10k, or both
B.    Type of race: public road, trail, certified
C.    Date and time for the race
D.    Desired race size or expected participants
E.    Name of the race
F.    Race location
G.    Race registration policies and fees
H.    How to advertise the race
I.    How to manage and time the race
J.    Type of drinks and snacks
K.    How to find volunteers
L.    How to locate sponsors
M.    Race categories and type of awards
N.    Goody bags and tee-shirts
O.    Create a BUDGET
P.    Determine needed licenses/permissions/insurances
Q.    Race day schedule
R.    Race day safety
S.    Create a timeline to insure everything gets done
T.    Design a race logo, flyer or entry form

A-Race distance: The 10k or 6.2 mile race was essentially all there was years ago, however over time the 5k which is 3.1 miles has become the race of choice. Some races have only one race associated with it, for example just a 5k, however most are a combination of several races. There are too many race day combinations to list, however some of the most popular ones are listed below. Just pick one and go with it!!
•    5k run
•    5k run, 1 mile fun run
•    5k run, 5k walk, 1 mile fun run
•    10k run
•    10k run, 1 mile fun run
•    10k run, 5k run, 1 mile fun run
•    5 mile run
•    8k run
•    10 mile run
•    Half marathon
•    Half marathon, 10k, 5k
•    Marathon
•    Marathon, half marathon, 5k

B-Type of race: Choosing the type of race is important because it can have a direct effect on items such as race attendance and the amount of needed law enforcement personnel. For example, a paved road race inside the city may draw more participates, however would require more law enforcement to block off roads. A trail or dirt path race in a large city park or country location would require little to no law enforcement which can sometimes be expensive. Another consideration is whether your race should be on a course where the distance has been certified. This is usually not a major concern for most runners however even though your course is not certified it should somehow be measured for accuracy because runners measure their performance by their race time. A 5k or 3.1 mile race that is just 0.1 (3.2 miles) too long or short could make someone’s time 45 seconds to 1 minute off. Race course certifiers normally charge a nominal $75 fee to show up and certify the course you have chosen and slightly more if you prefer them to choose the course. Other considerations when choosing the type of course are excessive hills and turns where it must be decided if a challenging course or a flat straight up and back type course or course which starts in one area and finishes in another area 3.1 miles away, will be chosen. Just pick one and go with it!!

•    Paved public streets
•    Gravel or dirt trails
•    Certified race course distance
•    Non certified race course distance
•    Hilly, windy challenging course
•    Flat less challenging course
•    Up and back course or different finish area

C- Date and time for the race: Most race directors begin planning for their race 6 months to a year before race day. Choosing a date for your race can be difficult because items such as holiday weekends  and competition with other race events should be considered. There are no crystal balls where it is basically a gamble when trying to pick a date with no other scheduled races. The best that can be done is to review last year’s races and to make your race have something special to get an edge on the others and to assure good participation. If you are worried about the competition then another way to get around it is to consider scheduling your race on a Friday or Saturday evening, or Sunday afternoon instead of the traditional Saturday morning at 8 or 9 am.

D-Desired race size:  A great turn out for an inaugural race would be 100 to 150 participants. If the race is well planned it will eventually become a staple for most runners to look forward to participating each year where the size of the race will most likely continue to increase. Plan for around 100 runners the first time around, however consider a backup plan (cash fund for extra food which can be purchased during the run) because conditions could be just right with no other races to compete with and the weather is good where there could be a lot of race day registrations. This indeed would be a great thing to happen!

E-Name of the race: The name of the race is really not that important but should be one of the first things decided so that marketing can begin such as listings on internet sites, newspapers, magazines, and race flyers. It is always good to include the cause in the name. For example, The 1st Annual Bay River 5k Run for Heart Disease.

F-Race location: Race location and Type of race go hand-in-hand but are not the same. The Type of race defines the surface they will be running on and whether the course is hilly, flat, or certified. The location of the race is the actual venue or property where the course is located. It is important to find a location which has sufficient parking and space for everyone to register before the race and assemble to eat and receive awards after the race. This means that somewhere on the race course there needs to be a main area which is used for these purposes. Most race courses finish in the vicinity where they started, however there are some which start in one place and finish in another. If this is to be the case then there a couple options, the food and post race activities will be at the remote finish area or buses can be present at the finish area to bring the runners back to the starting area. This however may be an added cost unless the bus services are donated.

G-Race registration policies and fees: The policy or rules for accepting applications and payments should be decided as soon as possible so that marketing can begin such as listings on internet sites, newspapers, magazines, and race flyers. These rules should be made clear and may include some of the examples listed below.

•    Pre-registration: January 14 – April 14 FEE: $20 5K RUN, $10 1 MILE FUN RUN
•    Mail entry form with a check or register and pay at specified on line websites
•    Day of Race registration: April 30 FEE $25 5K RUN, $15 1 MILE FUN RUN
•    First 100 registered runners are guaranteed a tee-shirt
•    Day of Race registration is from 7:00am to 7:45AM

The appointed Treasurer should be set up to receive and keep track of all payments. It is also important to spend some time discussing entry fee costs. The “diehard” runner who typically runs a race every weekend tends to look for the races having lower entry fees which is why trying to keep them as low as possible is important if you want a good race day turn out. Entry fees typically range from $15 to $25 when pre registering and $20 to $30 on race day, so setting a fee of $40 would not be recommended. If $40 is needed to make a profit then it may be that you are over budget or have not solicited enough sponsorships. These are typical 5k and 10k costs where larger half marathon and marathon races are generally considerably more.

H-How to advertise the race: There are many venues for marketing your race such as the ones listed below. Be sure to take advantage of them because it is hard to expect a good turnout for the race if only a limited number of people are aware of it.

•    Post your race to websites such as just4running.com, runnersworld.com, active.com
•    Post your race on local running club race calendars
•    The event announcements on local radio stations
•    The event section in local newspapers
•    The sports announcements on local television stations
•    Leaving your race flyers with the local running club so they will displayed at local races
•    Leaving your race flyers with local running stores
•    Posting your race flyers at local grocery store bulletin boards
•    Creating your own race website and/or Facebook page.
•    Attend local races and place your flyers on runners cars
•    Request all sponsors heavily promote the race

Timing however is critical, for example posting the race on internet running websites can be done immediately or months before race day, however having it mentioned on a television or radio station should be done no sooner than a week before the race.

I-How to manage and time the race: This articles gives tips and information on how to organize your own race however if this is not for you then another option to consider would be to hire a race management company or race director who for a fee will plan and facilitate the entire race. There is no doubt that organizing a race from start to finish can be time consuming, however the combination of a good team and advice from your local running club should ease the burden.

The chosen method of timing your race should be well understand and implemented so that runners times and results are accurate. There are various ways this is accomplished such as the ones listed below.

•    INDEX CARDS-Instruct volunteers to hand each runner an index card with their race place number as they cross the finish line. Each runner will then fill out their time and age on the card and place it in the appropriate age category box slot.

•    RACE BIBS-Hire a race timing company or local running club to time your race by punching a clicker that prints the time on a roll of paper each time a runner crosses the finish line along with pulling the race tab off the bottom of each runners bib as they cross the finish line and placing them in proper order so they can be hand entered into a computer program at the end of the race. 

•    CHIP TIMING-Hire a race timing company that does chip timing. A small chip secured to each runners shoe registers the time each runner crosses the finish line. Sometimes this is combined with race bibs in order to sort through any chip errors.

J-Type of drinks and snacks: It is important to have food and drinks ready for the runners after they cross the finish line. After running you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible. Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding stored glucose within the first 30 minutes after exercise. Eating as soon as possible after the race can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. You'll want to provide them carbs and proteins. A good rule of thumb for post-run food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs. Examples of good post race food are fruits, bagels, Clif and Power bars, and yogurt. Drinks should include water, sports drinks, and chocolate milk if possible. Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins making it a great recovery drink.

K-How to find volunteers: You will need plenty of volunteers for your race to be a success. Finding volunteers can sometimes be difficult where sources may include the ones listed below.
•    If the race is supporting a specific organization then solicit volunteers from them
•    If the race is being organized by an organization or business then solicit volunteers from them
•    Solicit volunteers from local running clubs
•    Having you and your team solicit friends and relatives to volunteer
•    Solicit volunteers from businesses sponsoring the race
•    Solicit a volunteer or two from an upcoming race after allowing them to place their race flyer in your goodie bag given to all registered runners

The numbers of volunteers needed for a small to medium race will vary and volunteers can pull double or triple duties such as the ones working the registration table before the race can also assist in handing out door prizes and clean up after the race. The key here is for management whether it be the race director or assistant race director, to assign specific jobs and continually travel around to make sure they are being properly done or to see if they need any additional assistance. Also be sure to make sure everyone has your cell phone number so you be contacted in case of an emergency.

•    3 to 4 taking runner registrations before the race
•    3 to 4 to direct traffic as runners arrive for the race
•    3 to 4 to setup water stops, signs, and volunteers along course route
•    2 to 3 to setup and maintain the pre and after race food and drinks
•    1 placed at each mile marker
•    1 at any unmarked or confusing race course turns or intersections
•    3 to 4 at each water station
•    3 to 4 directing and pulling race bibs tabs at the finish line
•    2 assisting with the timing when not using a timing company or running club
•    2 to tabulate the results when not using a timing company or running club
•    2 for calling door prizes and handing out awards
•    3 to 4 for after race clean up

If the race is on city streets then most likely your volunteers will be working around local law enforcement personal that will be blocking streets and directing traffic.

L-How to locate sponsors:   There are many costs associated with a road race such as tee-shirts, law enforcement, signs, timing, drinks, and food. The money to pay for these items must come from somewhere.  The amount collected from the entry fees is typically just enough to pay for these items which is why gathering sponsors is important. They will donate money or needed products which will help reduce overall costs and give you the profit you are aiming for.  Sponsors are looking for ways to advertise their service or product so don’t be afraid to approach a wide variety of them.

•    Talk with local businesses to find out if they would like to setup a tent at the race, place a product in the goodie bag or be on the back of the race tee-shirt. In exchange for this they would be asked to donate money or needed goods.

•    Target health related businesses such as sporting good stores, specialty running stores, physicians, sports clinics, running coaches, personal trainers, and massage therapists.

•    Visit large chain stores such as Wal-mart and large supermarkets that are known to already have a budget for community events.

•    It is best to visit these stores in person however sending them emails is good alternative because you never know who wants to advertise.

M-Race categories and type of awards: THIS TOPIC WAS THROIUGHLY EXPLORED AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS ARTICLE WHERE IT WAS STATED THAT IN ORDER TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL RACE WITH RUNNERS WANTING TO RETURN THE NEXT YEAR THERE SHOULD BE A PROPER AWARD STRUCTURE!! 

There is simply no good reason for not having awards. A lot of runners show up to run a race in hopes of receiving a small token of recognition if they perform well.  A proper award structure involves having male and female age divisions and categories such as the ones listed below.

Overall First Female
Overall Second Female
Overall Third Female

Overall First Male
Overall Second Male
Overall Third Male

Overall Female Masters (40+)
Overall Male Masters (40+)

Overall Female Grand Masters (60+)
Overall Male Grand Masters (60+)

Female and Male Age Group Categories:

1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 0-10
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 10-19
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 20-24
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 25-29
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 30-34
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 35-39
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 40-44
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 45-49
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 50-54
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 55-59
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 60-64
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 65-69
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Age 70+

The above age categories are 3 deep in 5 year increments where at the very least if your race is planning to be small there should be 2 deep in 10 year increments. For example this would mean an award should be handed out for 1st and 2nd place in 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+ categories.

In previous years, awards consisted mainly of trophies, however in recent years a shift has been made to medals or medallions. These items are not as costly and like trophies are sometimes donated by sponsors or purchased with sponsor provided funds. When asked, the main reasons for NOT purchasing awards is “We are a new race and do not have the money” or “We are new at this and did not realize we needed to hand out awards”. Well as stated earlier in this article, if money is an issue then less expensive or no cost alternatives such as paper certificates or rocks, shells, or ceramic tiles painted with a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd can be used.

Sometimes the top three runners will receive a large cash award and no one else gets anything. This is also not recommended because the top three runners are used to getting awards leaving all other runners with nothing where at the very least some sort of awards should be handed out for various age categories.

N-Goody bags and tee-shirts: Light cloth sponsor covered goody bags have become very popular. They can contain various items which are listed below.

•    Sponsor related sample product packets.
•    Sponsor related advertising flyers.
•    Sponsor related promotional products such as pens or small frisbees.
•    Health or energy bars.
•    Tee-shirts or ball caps.
•    Upcoming race flyers.
•    Magazine and other product offers, discounts, or coupons.

Goody bags are usually donated by the sponsor printed on the side of them and are filled with various sponsor donated items and are not usually an actual race expense. They however must be obtained by seeking a vendor who is willing to pay for them.

Tee shirts are normally considered to be one of the largest race expenses, costing as much as $5 a piece. This means that if a statement is made on the entry form that the first 100 runners are guaranteed a tee-shirt then your cost would be $500. This is why it is best to try and receive cash donations from as many sponsors as possible in exchange for placing their business name or logo on the back of the shirt. You may even be lucky enough to get a single vendor to pay them because they will want to be the only sponsor on the back of the shirt! Tee-shirts have always been expected when registering for a race so be sure to have them on hand during race day or pre race packet pickup times.

Alternatives for tee-shirts are ball caps, light duty back packs, or gloves.

O-Create a BUDGET: Try to estimate your expenses from the start. Do some preliminary research as to the cost of items such as tee-shirts, law enforcement, signs, timing, drinks, and food. This budget is going to help you determine items such as what to set the cost of the entry fee in order to make a good profit. It is very important to keep good records of all expenses and incoming donations and entry fees in order to be able to determine if the race was really profitable. This should be done from start to finish so you can tell where your budget is at any given time. For example it will allow you to determine where you are at three weeks before the start of the race, and if you find out you are in the red or will actually be losing money or just be breaking even then there will still be enough time to seek new donations and sponsorships. Remember to keeps tabs on what is going out and coming in because as a rule, you certainly do not want to lose money! This means selecting a competent treasurer who has experience in keeping close tabs on a budget. KNOW YOUR BUDGET!
P-Determine needed licenses/permissions/insurances: The actual location of your race dictates whether or not you will need to obtain permission or licenses from local authorities to conduct your race event. Before proceeding with selecting a date and marketing this needs to be addressed. For example if the chosen location is in a main downtown area, then informing the city (usually the right city office can be located by contacting city hall or the chamber of commerce) of your selected race date along with the local law enforcement would be recommended. If both entities agree then you are all set and ready to proceed. Failure to do this can delay promotions and greatly affect your profits. If  your race is located on personal property such as a farm you are good to go as long as you have permission from the owner. State and National parks will also require permission to conduct a race within their facilities.

Remember you will be using someone else’s property so do your homework up front and obtain the necessary permissions, licenses, or permits before proceeding.

Also be aware that some government agencies and property owners where the race will be conducted will require you purchase a 1-day liability insurance policy for your event. These type of policies are usually in the amount of 1 to 2 million dollars per incident. Many insurance companies do not sell special event insurance, however the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) and the USATF (USA Track and Field) are known for selling them. Even if not required, it may not be a bad idea to check into this and purchase some type of policy.

Q-Race day schedule: Before race day arrives it is a good idea to thoroughly plan and organize the entire day from first arrival at the site to disposing of the trash collected before leaving the site. There will be too many things happening all at one time throughout the day to simply wing it from memory where a well planned written schedule is recommended. This schedule should contain the items listed below.

•    Exact timeline of all events.
•    Checklist of Volunteers and contact numbers.
•    Checklist of Volunteer job assignments.
•    Checklist of Race management names and contact numbers.
•    Checklist of Vender/Sponsor names and contact numbers.
•    Checklist of attending health professionals, fire departments, and ambulance services.
•    Law enforcement names and contact numbers.
•    Checklist of all needed items: tents, tables, signs, food, entry forms, etc…

Included in the race day events should be an announcer to explain the race course after everyone has approached the START LINE when then starts the race with a horn, gun, or loud yell.

It is also important to note that sometimes it may be beneficial to arrive the day or night before the race and perform everything that can be done to help reduce some tension or race day workloads. Items which can be done are listed below.

•    Placement of signs and painted road markers along the race route.
•    Checking the race route for any issues such as fallen trees and roadways suddenly under construction.
•    Verification of bathroom facilities. This is very important because if no public facilities are available and port-a-toilets were ordered then making sure they are there before race day is a MUST!!

R-Race day safety: Safety of the runners is the MOST important issue with any race!! When talking about safety ALWAYS plan for the worst case scenario, such as a runner passing out do the heat or experiencing a stroke or heart attack along the course. If everyone that started the race crosses the finish line with no problems then you have certainly had a successful event. General safety measures may include but are not limited to the ones listed below.

•    Make sure law enforcement is available to block off roads and direct traffic.
•    Make sure there are sufficient water stations and volunteers to hand out water.
•    Make sure there are enough strategically placed volunteers to keep runners on course.
•    Make sure there are health professionals present such as an ambulance or EMT fire personnel.
•    Make sure to give all course placed volunteer’s proper emergency numbers.
•    Conduct a general safety meeting with all race volunteers before the start of the race.
•    Travel the course before race to verify there are no vicious loose dogs.
•    If the race is at night then make sure the entire course is well lit.
•    If the race is a trail run then make sure there are no flooded areas after a storm.

S-Create a timeline to insure everything gets done: It is not only important to have a timeline for race day but also during the entire planning phase.  This timeline may need to be continually updated however is essential in staying organized or on track to insure there are no major race day issues. This timeline should contain everything that needs to be done along with all management, vendor, sponsor, and volunteer assignments, names, and contact numbers.

T-Design a race logo, flyer or entry form: The design director is in charge of creating the logo for the race based on the agreed theme. This logo should be directly related to the actual cause or organization being supported. The director will also design the actual race entry form and any associated posters, lawn signs, and tee-shirts.
The terms flyer, entry form, and application are all used interchangeably or essentially all refer to the same thing, being the paper document that each runner must sign in order to be entered in the race. Sometimes a flyer is like a poster which only contains information such as race name, date, time, place, and award structure. Flyers, entry, or application forms can be produced as Word documents, PDF files, or JPEG picture files and can usually be printed off various websites where they are then mailed in for runner registration.
A registration or race entry form must not only look good but also have the details about the race and contain a “wavier of liability”. A better understanding of what this waiver should include can be gained by reviewing numerous entry forms which can be accessed on internet websites such as just4running.com, runnersworld.com, active.com or your local running club website.

Sample waiver excerpt: To the best of my knowledge, I am in good physical condition and fully able to participate in this course. I am fully aware of the risks and hazards connected with the participation in this event, including physical injury or even death, and herby elect to voluntarily participate in said event, knowing that the associated physical activity may be hazardous to me and my property. I VOLUNTARILY ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY RISKS OR LOSS, PROPERTY DAMAGE, OR PERSONAL INJURY, INCLUDING DEATH, that may be sustained by me, or loss or damage to property owned by me, as a result of participation in this course.

 
STEP 4-Race day

Use of the outline below as a general guideline or sequence of events that needs to occur before, during, and after the race.

A-Before race
A.    Volunteer arrival and placement
B.    Entry signs and parking
C.    Bathroom verification
D.    Runner registration
E.    Law Enforcement arrival
F.    Verify race course markings and check for stray dogs
G.    Water stop preparation
H.    Race timing set-up
I.    After race food setup
J.    Race Photographer arrival
K.    Safety meeting with volunteers
L.    Emergency medical personal arrival
M.    Placement of volunteers throughout race course
N.    Placement of volunteers at each water stop
O.    Law enforcement in place along race course

B-During Race
A.    Starting line announcements
B.    Finish line timing in process
C.    Race course volunteers in action
D.    Water stop  volunteers in action
E.    Law enforcement in action
F.    Race photographer in action
G.    Final food preparation
H.    Emergency medical personal on-site

C-After Race
A.    Door prizes
B.    Entertainment
C.    Calculate race times
D.    Awards ceremony
E.    Cleanup

STEP 5-Post race day items

Well race day is over and it is now time to sit down after taking a bit of a breather and determine if the race was successful. It is always nice to have a high profit from a large runner turnout, however keep in mind that this is not the only measure of success. As stated throughout this article it is also IMPORTANT to make sure each runner has left the race with the desire to return again next year and to spread the word that it was a GREAT RACE. So even if profits are low the first and second years of the race, don’t become too discouraged, because if it was ran well where the runners are happy, it was a success because it will only continue to grow and grow in the upcoming years.

A.    Determine overall profit
B.    Post race results on internet
C.    Evaluate any race issues
D.    Send out thank-you notes to vendors/sponsors
E.    Hand out tee-shirts and/or thank-you notes to all volunteers
F.    Email survey runners for feedback
G.    Start planning for next year



Be sure to remember to keep a good budget so you actually end up making money, take race safety seriously, and plan a unique race where everyone has a good time so they will want to spread the word and return for next year’s race!

Whoa, wow, betcha didn’t realize there was that much to do. Well don’t sit and worry about it, just select a good cause, assemble a great team, and before you know it you’ll be off to the races!!

Written by the staff at Just4running.com
All rights reserved.
Copyright protected.