Whether you've just started or you're a seasoned racer, one of the greatest frustrations is a poorly organized/executed race. So, I just wanted to jot down a few thoughts that I had. And, and, and...since I'm planning on organizing a 5k soon, I hope to not repeat these mistakes!
1. Your race has to have a website. Its not that hard and it really only
needs to be one page with: when, where, how to get there and the route. A
link to register online would be great too but same day registration is
fine. Speaking of, there's no need for people to buy morning of with
cash or check. There are PLENTY on ipad/iphone apps that allow you to
swipe credit cards. Who carries cash anymore anyway?!
2. There is no reason why you can't offer nice tech tees to all those that
register. Now, they're as cost effective as the cotton tees but are MUCH
nicer. Not to mention it makes your race seem even more professional.
3. Along the same lines, there no reason why you cant offer overall and
age group medals. they're not that expensive and once again, make your
race seem even more professional
4. The day of the race, please make sure the staff is CLEARLY marked. Wear shirts, hats, badges or tie balloons to your wrists if need be but
if people have questions they need to find someone quickly in order to
ask. Not to mention, if something goes bad its easier for 1st responder
personal to identify YOU. On a side note, you and all your staff need to
be pumped up and happy about your event. If you think I dragged my fat
broken butt out of bed at 6 am on a Sunday to deal with your
grumplestiltskin butt...you are SADLY mistaken. Its your job to make me
feel happy about being here!
5. At the start/registration/pre-race area, have a map of the course up
for review. By map, I do not mean an 8.5x11 piece of paper taped to a
table at sign in. I mean a 2ftx4ft picture on an easel that lots of people
can see (its an easy print at Kinkos folks, come on)
6. You HAVE to use chipped/timed numbers to track your racers. The
"guesstimation" thing of pulling tabs off numbers as runners come
through the chute is SO 1995. its relatively cheap and it one less worry
for you as an organizer. Not to mention finishing times get posted up
that much faster for your runners to see
7.While I love to hear the National anthem at the beginning of every
race...its not the ONLY thing you do before the gun goes off. YOU should
welcome everyone to the event, let runners know if there are any
changes to the course, what to look out for, tell the runners to seed
themselves, etc. Its YOUR race, take charge and let us know that someone
is IN charge.
8. If the course is going to be twisty-turney, painted arrows on the
pavement is not gonna cut it! you need to have people at each turn (and
when I mean at each turn I need them to be directing where to go...not
just standing there!)
9. While I would love to have time boards up at each mile, at the very
least I expect each mile to be marked! I mean really, is that so hard?! While you're at Kinkos for #3 you cant also have mile markers made too?! Then either put
them on a stand or on a pole and in a traffic cone at each mile.
10. If you're going to have water stations out on the course, train the
people manning them (i.e. don't just have them sit there, have them
handing out water) and here's a tip, don't fill the cups completely up.
grabbing one while running is like getting hit with a water balloon .
AND there is a trick to handing water to some one running by, teach your
water station folks how to do it BEFORE race day
11. Once your runners cross the finish, its great to have water, Gatorade and bananas/oranges at the end...but have enough! Trust me,
there is nothing a runner hates worse then to hear that your race has
"run out of water/gatorade". You don't have to do bottles for everyone.
You can use those big Gatorade coolers but make sure you have enough
cups. Yes, i have put Gatorade right in my hands to drink like a caveman
because a race ran out of cups.
12. When you do post finishing times, could you please NOT put them all
on one page with a 4.5pt tiny font? We just got done running a race and
smell like butt. if you think i want to nuzzle up to another racer in
order to see my times you are once again...sadly mistaken
13. Lastly, interact with your racers and see what they thought about
the race. This is the best time to get real time feedback and if this
becomes more than a one time event, you want people to see how your
implementing and changing. By the way, if you get everyone's email, a
quick "thank you for making it a success and hope to see you next year"
email goes a long way...
While this isn't comprehensive and I'm sure I've missed things, I think
this is kind of the "have to do" list for a race. If you guys have
suggestions or other things to go on the list please don't hesitate to
share. Like I said, I hope to organize a race soon and I'd love to make
it a great event right out the gate!!