Saturday, 1 November 2014

Becoming a Race Director

After running numerous races, mostly 5k's, I decided that pulling together a 5k Fun Run/Walk would be easy.  I've seen what has worked and not worked in many races and made mental notes along the way.  And heck....I've helped plan and coordinate a festival that brought 30,000 people to a small hard could a 5k be for 100 people.  I was so wrong!

Here is a great resource for other individuals thinking of running their own race.

It's time consuming and a lot of little details...and not easy (at least the first year)!
  1. What will your route be?  Make sure to get approval from any committee's / towns for the race route.  You may need special permits if you are using main roads or groomed trails.
  2. Get quotes for event insurance - this is more expensive than I realized.
  3. Start a budget - you are going to need to know how much to charge for race registration.
  4. Set up a registration site...there are a couple different sites that will assist you in this task such as a local chip timing company, your local Running Room, or
  5. You need to decide if you are going to have medals and/or tshirts...or maybe neither.  If you are going to have them....then what design are you going to use?  How much are they going to cost?  What will your cut-off be to ensure that you order enough?  Medals are more expensive than you think!!
  6. Is the race going to be timed?  If so...what method will you use for timing?  Popcicle sticks or chip timing?
  7. How are you going to control traffic?  You may need to contact local authorities for approval and their help.
  8. Will you have a post race reception?  What will you have?  How are you going to finance it....donations or purchase?
  9. Water stops?  Where?  How many?
  10. You need volunteers....start asking early!
  11. Race Bibs and safety pins!  You may be able to get bibs from your local running room or
  12. Race kit pick up...where? when?
  13. Sponsors?
  14. First Aid?
  15. Mileage markers?
  16. Do you need a facility for racekit pickup and reception or can you hold it outdoors?  If outdoors, do you need tents in case it rains? 
  17. Do you need port-a-potties?
  18. Depending on the distance of the you need a bike lead or pace bunnies?
  19. What about a finishing arch?
  20. Music?
  21. What are you going to put in the race kits?  It took Heather and I 2 hours to pull together 115 kits.  In my kits I had dental floss (from the local dentist), jube jube candies, a button, and a bunch of coupons from local businesses.

Be prepared that if you cap the race, people will email and call you right up until race day to see if they can get in.  And something is bound to be forgotten or go wrong...with so many little's inevitable.  Just go with it...the race will still go on!

You can plan, plan, and plan some more but if mother nature decides not to cooperate...well...there is nothing you can do about that!!  I'm already making notes for next year and thinking about what to keep the same and what to change.  Good luck in your own race/ is a rewarding experience!


  1. You sure put together a fantastic event! I was a race director for a youth run and we grew from 126 runners in the first year to over 450 in the 5th was nuts! We went from t-shirts and kits for all the kids to just t-shirts in the last year.
    One other suggestion is to see what grants you would qualify for so you don't have to rely on race registration for your budget. Is there a community recreation grant (or Provincial) for a first time event; community health boards or foundations may donate money too!

  2. Such great suggestions...I'm going to have to look into that for next year. Oh man...I don't even know what I'd do if I had 200 runners. LOL

  3. If anyone can plan a great race it's you....Miss Organization! ;) Great job!

  4. You did a great job girl! A huge success all around. Thanks for all your efforts.