Hey there Running on Happy Readers! I’m Kim from Tri and True. Since Rachel is getting ready for her trip to DC she asked for some guest posters! That’s where I come in. When we were chatting about topics, she brought up that she talks a lot about run coaching since she is a coach. We decided you all might be interested in learning about putting on a race. Now, this is a pretty large task but I’m going to try to simplify it for everyone, so here we go!
Tales from the Race Director’s Chair
I’ve been a certified race director for about 5 years now. I became one by accident because I worked for a local nonprofit and I wanted to produce a 5K and a bike ride. The only way to learn both of these was with USAT Race Director Certification. After that I decided I might as well get my RRCA Race Director certification as well. Not to say that you need either of these but it can help when it comes to larger races and insurance needs. It it actually pretty possible that some of you have participated in one of my races!
Typical race direction starts just a year in advance. Kind of similar to how you plot your race calendar out. We pretty much do the same thing. Pick out dates, submit applications for venue, open registration. Ok that is super simple but pretty much how it works.
Just like runners start putting together training plans, race directors start planning out timelines for when things need to be completed. For example, my first multi-sport race was actually a kayak, bike, run that I helped a friend of mine produce for a local charity. If you think a triathlon swim is hard, try a kayak start! That race was in April, my walk/5K in May, and we did a triathlon in September.
What’s the goal of the race?
For those of you interested in producing a race, first you need to answer a few questions such as: what is your goal? Are you trying to help your local running club? Local charity? Whatever it is find the need you have to fill or reason for planning. It will help you with motivation when you start working and help you get your event to stand out from others. You should also decide on a theme. When I started and wanted to create a 5K, I was working for a local animal shelter. We had a successful walk and I didn’t understand why we didn’t have a 5K run. That’s when I started the Tails and Trails 5K. No one was offering a competitive 5K while still allowing you to run with your dog. That was my angle. We did timing for a 5K that you ran with your dog. I even had medals for the top 3 doggie finishers.
Budgets and Permits, Rentals and Donations
The next thing to do is create checklists and numbers. Plot out your budgets — start with expenditures and then go into revenue. What items do you have or can borrow (cones, water tubs, etc)? What do you need to rent (tents, tables, timing people)? What things can you have donated (food, water, etc)? Don’t forget to include permits, police, medical, etc depending on what your race needs. Also, consider race amenities: are you doing a t-shirt, a medal, a bag? Can donations or sponsors cover these costs?
This is how you figure out how much to make your entry. This sounds like a crazy amount as I’m writing but it is less than it seems. Runner’s World has a pretty good checklist you should check out!
Words of Wisdom
You can’t plan for everything but you can feel confident that you did plan and can deal with whatever problems arise. Start off small. Just like starting off too fast at the beginning of the race, if you try to make your event too big too soon you could crash and burn. Go for negative splits here! Try to grow and add something each year.
Good luck with your races and as I take a sabbatical from race directing this year I hope you enjoy designing and building yours. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my post and if you’d like to keep following join me over on my blog at www.triandtrue.com.
Special thanks to Kim for this awesome post. It’s always fun to learn about things from a different perspective and I think as a runner and coach it’s hard to forget what goes into the actual planning of a race — not just the running part that I often focus on for my clients and myself.
Come back tomorrow to link up with the ladies of Fairytales and Fitness and myself for the Friday Five 2.0!
TALK TO ME!
Have you directed a race before?
Are you considering planning or coordinating a race in your area?
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.