Race Director Handbook
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Race Director Handbook Document Transcript

  • 1. Race Director HandbookA Guide to Organizing a Community Road RacePacers Events • www.pacersevents.com • v1 1.20.11
  • 2. Table of ContentsCongratulations!! 4 Introduction & Budget Basics! 4 Where Do I Start?! 5 Expectations! 6 Race Registration & Fees! 6 Sponsorships! 7The Race is On! 8 Pre-Event Budgeting & Planning! 8 Your Budget & Related Tasks! 8 Municipality: Permitting & Event Services! 9 Race Management & Timing! 10 Runner Premiums! 11 Insurance! 13 Awards! 13 Other Costs & Responsibilities! 15Your Course, of Course!! 17Pacers Events • www.pacersevents.com • v1 1.20.11
  • 3. Course Design & Management! 17 Start Line Location! 17 Finish Line Location! 18 Course Design & Measurement! 18 Monitoring & Marking the Course! 19If I Build It, Will They Come?! 20 Registration & Event Marketing! 20 What’s Your Hook: Developing a Desirable Event! 21 Setting up Registration! 21 Registration Trends! 22 Race Flyer Distribution! 22 Web and Online Media! 23 Your Local Running Store! 23Things to Do, People to See! 25 Race Day Preparation & Execution! 25 Volunteer Recruitment & Deployment! 25 Race Day Preparation: Organization & Materials! 26 Finish Line Basics: Organization & Materials! 27 Water Stop! 28 Miscellaneous Race Day Items! 29Checking It Twice! 30 Race Director Checklist! 30 Checklist! 30Race Management & Timing! 33 About Us! 33Pacers Events • www.pacersevents.com • v1 1.20.11
  • 4. Pacers Events! 33 raceDC Timing! 34Sample Budget! 35Pacers Events • www.pacersevents.com • v1 1.20.11
  • 5. Congratulations!What to consider before planning a road raceINTRODUCTION & BUDGET BASICS Runners at the inaugural Crystal City Twilighter 5KCongratulations on deciding to organize your first road race1 . Producing a race is a lot of workbut can be a very rewarding experience. Many groups across the country have found success inpromoting and raising funds for their charity or organization through a foot race event.By providing this handbook 2 as a service to the community we hope organizations will use thisguide as a tool and resource as they plan their event. If your organization is looking for more1 Throughout this handbook we will refer to foot races as road races. Many foot races, however, are held on trails or paths inparks. We use the term road race to encompass all foot races, including those not on roads. In addition, this handbook isdesigned for charity or community-based event organizers with approximately 500 expected participants, and who are primarilyinterested in using a road race as a fundraising tool.2 This handbook is provided as a community service by Pacers Events and Pacers Running Stores. Please use this handbook as aguide as races vary greatly by season, location, demographics, and other factors. -4-
  • 6. extensive assistance, such as race management services and timing and scoring, we encourageyou to contact our friendly race management staff.We wish you the best of luck.Where Do I Start?Before planning a road race, it is important to understand what your charity or organization islooking to attain from the event and to set realistic expectations. Planning and executing a racecan be a significant task and the organization needs to look critically at the cost-benefit of theevent, especially as it pertains to staff time and volunteer resources. If managed correctly, a roadrace can be a great fundraising tool and public relations vehicle; if executed poorly it can becomea financial drain and a frustrating experience for your volunteers, staff, and participants. Once your organization has decided to support a road race, your next step is familiarize yourself with the local road race market. Determine where, when, and what type of event your organization would prefer being mindful of busy race and festival dates in your area. A good source of information is your local running specialty store, where just about any staff person would be able to offer their view on the road race circuit and landscape. If you are not a runner, be sure to engage one of your organization’s volunteers or staff who is familiar with the scene.When you have a preferred date and course contact your local municipality. Each municipality isdifferent in how they handle requests for special events. Some are managed out of the policedepartment while others fall under the Department of Parks and Recreation. Be sure to start thisprocess early as many municipalities require advanced time for permit review (typically sixmonths).In addition, be mindful of multiple jurisdictions, permitting requirements, and rules of privatebusinesses and organizations. Often times an event crosses into multiple jurisdictions or your -5-
  • 7. event may be looking to utilize space (e.g. parking lot) of a private business. Be sure tocoordinate all these entities before finalizing your date and time. Do not assume the municipalitywill coordinate these items for you; the responsibility is yours to make sure you have received allappropriate permissions.Permitting is often the most complex, confusing, and time consuming activity for a road race,especially for new events. Hiring a local race management company can save you a lot of timeand even money as they are familiar with the courses and permits and costs associated with amunicipality or course.ExpectationsThe very first exercise a race director must engage in is setting expectations and planning abudget. A lot of your budget is based on the requirements of the course (e.g. will your eventrequire police officers, cones) so be sure to take into account any expenditures that are impactedby your course. Expect to spend on every line item: never assume you will get anything for free.The most common mistake we see when dealing with community foot races is an unrealisticexpectation of number of participants, especially in the first year. Be sure to know your marketand set your goals conservatively.Race Registration & FeesRegistration fees will pay for my race, right? Not necessarily . .Yes, revenue is generated from your registration fees, but in mostcases sponsorship is essential to underwrite overhead expenses andmake your event a successful fundraiser.Currently in the Washington DC metro market registration fees forinaugural races range between $20 - $35 dollars, depending on anumber of factors including runner premiums.Using a $25 registration fee as an example, you can expect to payaround $10 to $15 per head on race management and relatedactivities, timing, and a few other items. In addition, depending onyour runner premium, you can tack on an additional $4 to $9 to the -6-
  • 8. total. That leaves you with very little left over to cover additional expenses, such as promotionsand advertising, or to use towards your fundraising goal.Many times registrations may just about cover the cost of the race. However, too few registrantsand you may find yourself in the red if you do not have sponsorship support. On the flip side, anevent with a tighter budget and higher participation numbers may yield a profit with littlesponsorship. Depending on a high participation rate, especially in year one, can be risky; eventsoutside of your control (such as weather) may have a significant impact on registrations.SponsorshipsSponsors are critical for a fundraiser or benefit race. Race directors should seek out a single titlesponsor or enough general sponsors to cover the majority of the race expenses. For communityraces, finding sponsors to cover your expenses is a good strategy to better position the event as asuccessful fundraiser. Any funding secured over your expected expenses can help maximize yourfundraising. It is helpful to have someone on your race committee who has fundraising experience. The best place to start is with pre-existing business relationships, such as banks, local gyms, restaurants, or supermarkets. Start early with sponsors and know their funding policies and timelines. Many businesses determine sponsorships as early as a year in advance so make timely requests and be persistent.In addition, in-kind sponsorships can be valuable to your event. Food and water donations, giftcertificates for awards or drawings, print houses, and media partnerships are all examples ofgood in-kind sponsorships.And remember, sponsorship is a two way street. Prepare a clear list of benefits to the sponsorand thank them (and patronage) them frequently. -7-
  • 9. The Race is OnWhat to do once you’ve made the commitmentPRE-EVENT BUDGETING & PLANNING Bib numbers are one of many items on your to do list!The commitment has been made and you are off and running (no pun intended) on producingyour first road race. In addition to your permitting and sponsorship duties, there are a lot of pre-race tasks that you need to accomplish. By now you should have made a decision on whether tomanage the event on your own or hire a race management company, had your course and dateapproved by your municipality, named your event, agreed upon the goals of the event (financialor otherwise), and set a budget. In an ideal world, you would have these items completed sixmonths prior to race day.Your Budget & Related TasksSetting your budget is key in ensuring your organization reaches financial goals and stays in theblack; staying on task will help you avoid additional costs, such as rush fees. Following are some -8-
  • 10. of the large bucket expenses your organization should anticipate. Also be aware of any additionalactivities your organization may want to engage in (e.g. post-race parties) and how thoseactivities will impact the bottom line.There are typically three major expense categories for a race: municipality fees, timing/management fees, and your runner premiums. These three categories make up the bulk of yourbudget. Using a course that does not require police officers, hand or self timing, and passing outcheap cotton tees will reduce costs but may impact the desirability of the event to participantsand sponsors (and may dictate how much you can charge for the event). Balancing the “bigthree” expenses with your budget goals are important. Spending too much on runner premiumscould cut into your profits; alternatively not having a professional managed or timed event canlead to a black eye (and bad reputation for year two) if something goes awry on race day.Municipality: Permitting & Event ServicesDepending on your course, your municipality fees canbe a significant chunk of your budget. There is very littleyour organization can do to reduce these costs otherthan selecting courses that require less support from thejurisdiction. Typically fees are non-negotiable.Fees vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Examples ofmunicipality charges include permit fees, street closurefees, meter fees, fire marshall fees, business licenses,trail closures, shelter reservations, EMS, and police.Police fees can range from $40-$65 an hour based on the municipality and overtime structures.Many jurisdictions have hourly minimums ranging from two to as high as five hours. Some policedepartments have explorer or auxiliary programs that can provide limited coverage for little nocost; in addition some intersections may be manned by crossing guards who may have a lowerhourly rate. Fire/EMS support might also be needed or required by the municipality or yourinsurance company.Check with your race management company or your municipality for fee estimates. -9-
  • 11. Race Management & TimingAs your organization plans for an event, you may determine youneed to enlist the services of a race management company.Most race management companies can create packages for yourorganization that cover permitting, course design, marketing,registration, premium procurement, race day management,timing and scoring, and other services.Some organizations prefer to manage an event in house orthrough engaged and enthusiastic volunteers and may need onlylimited services from a race management company. Contact your local race managementcompany for a request for proposal on the services that your organization may require. If you arelooking for a company referral, your local running store is a great place to start.While race management can seem like a luxury for some organizations, aligning yourorganization with a reputable company may help recruit participants for your event. In theSummer of 2010, graduate students at George Washington University conducted a survey of arearunners regarding their decision-making when deciding to register for a community race. Ofthose surveyed, 67% stated that it was very or fairly important for a community race to be alignedwith a reputable road race management company.3 In addition, race management companiestend to have large databases of area runners. In addition, in today’s market electronic race timing and scoring is quickly becoming a necessity for any event that wants to attract the general population of runners. Some events still hand-time which can be labor intensive and opens up the possibility of results errors. In the same survey, 82.6% of participants noted that the offering of chip timing was somewhat important, important, or3 “Motivations and Priorities of Pacers Events Participants Survey”, M. Annacone, et al. Summer 2010. Unpublished. -10-
  • 12. very important when deciding to register for an event.4 Tag timing is typically disposable, however some timers will have systems that are reusable. Typically any lost or unreturned chips are charged to the organization so be sure to budget for these fees. Timing fees are usually based on a per registrant basis with a minimum charge. Your timer might also manage your registration process; be sure to ask what is included in your package.Runner PremiumsThe expectation of most runners is that a runner premium, like a t-shirt, is included in the priceof the registration. Runner premiums are usually your second largest cost, typically nestled rightbetween municipality and timing fees.While you can provide virtually any premium you wouldlike (hats, bags, mugs, water bottles) the t-shirt tends tohave the highest perceived value and usually is the mostdesired of all the possible premiums. Upgraded t-shirts,such as technical running tees, are often offered aspremiums.The t-shirt design is important to runners; unique andcolorful shirts are popular and will sometimesguarantee a return next year. Short sleeve cotton shirtswill usually cost about $5.00 to $7.00 each dependingon the brand, the quantity ordered, complexity of thedesign, the number of colors, print locations, and thecolor of the shirt. Short sleeve technical tees typically cost twice as much. There may also be art,set up, rush, and shipping fees so consider these costs when determining your budget.Be sure4 Ibid. -11-
  • 13. your company can deliver on on time with plenty of time for you to organize your premiumsbefore packet pick up.Knowing how many shirts and sizes to order isalways tricky even for the most experienced racedirector – after all, no one has a crystal ball.Established races have the luxury of using racehistory when estimating shirt quantities forupcoming races. Keep good history and be sure toask registrants for their preferred sizes whenregistering. Use your registration data toextrapolate your order (our experience is that menregister later than women so keep that in mindwhen analyzing pre-registration data before ordering shirts). And remember: your shirtinventory is money so over ordering can sometimes be worse than under ordering. Do not forgetto order tees for your volunteers, sponsors and municipality workers who are assisting you at theevent. Cautious or optimistic ordering based on the projected number of entrants can leave the race with too few shirts or too many--or with many mediums left and large or extra large sizes exhausted. If too few shirts, more might have to be ordered and provided to entrants after the race by some method of shipping; if there are too many, you can try to sell them at a reduced cost in the future. One idea may be to offer commemorative shirts to the first, say 200, runners. However youhandle your premiums, be clear and consistent with your policy. Have it posted on your website,registration site, and registration forms. Transparency is always the best policy.Give yourself plenty of time from start to finish to manage your premium purchasing. Thisprocess can take longer than you think, so make sure you start working on your shirt artwork andfind a screener no later than two months from race day. -12-
  • 14. InsuranceWe recommend obtaining race insurance through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA).Event insurance is also available through USA Track & Field (USATF) and also sometimesthrough an organization’s general business policy.The RRCA’s comprehensive general liability policy offers insurance for accidental medical,property damage, and other incidents. Covered parties include race volunteers, trainees, eventparticipants and event spectators. For more information on obtaining insurance and feestructures, please visit www.rrca.org.Typically municipalities, beneficiaries, sponsors, and some contractors will require certificates ofadditionally insured. Be sure to allow enough time for these certificates to be issued by yourinsurance company.AwardsMost road races provide some sort of award structurefor participants. In addition, some races prefer tooffer both finisher gifts (e.g. medals) and age groupand overall awards. Medals can cost upwards of $6/participant and are not usually expected for distancesless than half marathon. Overall and age group awardsare a great way of celebrating the accomplishments ofyour runners and offers a great way of wrapping up anevent with a post-race awards ceremony.Overall AwardsSome races have special awards (either cash or product) for the top male and female finishers.These awards are referred to as “overall” awards. Events typically go one to three deep in overallcategories and a generally accepted prize structure is $100-$75-$50 (for both male and female).These numbers can be adjusted based on your budget. Cash is king to the guys and gals at thefront of the pack. -13-
  • 15. The larger the purse the better the runner who will probably come out and run your event.While having the top runners in the area is not necessarily going to drive participants to yourevent, it may help in gaining media coverage and will legitimize the race in future years.It is customary to offer complimentary entries to elite level runners as long as they meet yourcriteria, although it is completely understandable if your organization chooses not to offercomps. These entries may be limited in quantity and entrants may have to meet certain racingstandards. If you expect them to stay around for the awards ceremony you will need to outlineyour expectations ahead of time. A good use of complimentary entries is also to provide ahandful to your partner running store so they can use to promote the event or give out toemployees (who will in turn talk about your event to their customers).Age Group AwardsWith age group awards, most races go one to three deep for both males and females in thefollowing categories: 0-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+The above divisions are only a suggestion; you can set up your age groups as you see fit. If youhave a race that is directed at families, you might want to divide up the youth divisions to make iteasier for them to receive an award.For events less than 250 participants, one deep is sufficient, 250-500 you might want toconsider two deep, 500+ might want to think about going three deep. The more age groupawards you promote the more prizes you need to procure. Gift certificates or donatedmerchandise is usually fine for age group prizes. Most races are “no duplicate prize” events, meaning the overall winners cannot win their age groups. This is a standard practice for community races. Category Awards Some races may want to recognize certain categories of participants, such as survivors or alumni. Confer with your timer or registrar prior to offering these awards so s/he can ensure your registration sites are set up to collect this data. -14-
  • 16. Team Awards Team competitions based on scoring (e.g. fastest times) should typically be reserved for events larger than 500 participants. Any team competitions should be discussed with your timer before you set up registration to ensure accurate timing and scoring. Confer With Your Timer Your timer should be consulted before promoting any team or category awards. Data must be collected on these categories during registration so forms needs to be set up properly and the timer will need to set up scoring files that can accommodate your . Neglecting to confer early in the process could lead to incorrect results.Other Costs & ResponsibilitiesRestroomsIf your race is not held at a venue where restrooms are available for your runners, such as a parkshelter or a community center, portable toilets will need to be rented. Determining how manyunits to rent is typically calculated as the number of expected attendees divided by 75. If yourevent is has more female participants, you might want to increase the number of units ordered.Check your municipality requirements on the number of ADA-compliant units needed.Food & WaterUsually you can find a grocery store or localmarket to donate enough food and waterfor post-race. Pre-packaged items areeasiest and usually alleviate a need for afood permit. Items such as bananas,apples, granola bars, cookies, water jugs(water stop) and bottled water (finish) willusually do the trick. -15-
  • 17. Runner BibsRunner bibs may be ordered through various companies or you may be able to find some unusedbibs from another event. If you are looking to customize your bibs, start the process at least twomonths before race day. Race bibs are relativelyinexpensive so order a few more than you thinkyou need. If you are using a timing company,they might be able to get you generic bibs for alow cost. Don’t forget the safety pins (four perperson)!Other ItemsTalk to your organization and make sure youhave everything you need for the event. If youneed to rent tables, tents, and chairs orderearly. If signage is important, have a realistictimeline for production. Web design can take awhile. If you are hiring a DJ or sound systemconfirm schedules and pricing. Will you need a stage? Professional photographer? Certificationcan take longer than planned if you hit a stretch of inclement weather. Custom finisher medalstake a minimum of 12 weeks and believe it or not paper cups are hard to find. The moral of thestory: start early and budget accordingly. -16-
  • 18. Your Course, of Course!Designing a safe and desirable courseCOURSE DESIGN & MANAGEMENTA good start and finish are key, but an accurate, safe course keeps your participants smiling!Providing a safe, accurate, and well controlled course is important to ensure a successful event.When managing several miles of road or trail, many things can go wrong so it is up to you, therace director, to make sure the course is secure and well marked before the event. It is, in fact,the reason many of your runners are participating in your event. Hardly anything is worse incourse management than a poorly marked road or when runners run off course. Make sure thisdoes not happen to you.There are several key factors to consider when designing and executing your course; followingare items to deliberate before securing your course.Start Line LocationFirst consider your expected participant size. Will your start area hold the number of runnersyou are expecting? Is the street, path, or road wide enough to accommodate the projectednumber of participants? -17-
  • 19. Is there sufficient staging area adjacent to the start area to set up registration, port-a-johns, andany other materials you determine you need? Can you tap into electricity or will you need tobring a generator? Is there adequate parking for my volunteers and staff? Consider these factorswhen determining your start area.Finish Line LocationIs there enough room for chutes, barricades, and other crowd control items and their requisitelength? Do the runners have a long enough straightaway to enter the chutes? Do you haverestrooms nearby? Is there room for parking? If needed, is there electricity available? Do youhave enough space to host a post-race awards ceremony?To simplify parking, toilet placements, and equipment (as well as save some money), considerhaving the start and finish line in the same location or near each other.Course Design & MeasurementWhen conducting a site visit for the course, online mapscan give you a good idea about the route, distance, and anyother items you might need to be aware of. A car or bicycleride can also get you started. Although an automobilecannot be used to determine the final measurement of acourse, it can be used to get an approximate distance anddesign. Riding or running with a GPS watch can also offerapproximate distance, however, GPS watches are often offby as much as 1/10th of a mile. The only recognized methodof measuring a course is by the Jones Counter. Your localcertifier, equipped with a Jones Counter, can measure yourcourse to ensure accuracy.When reviewing your proposed course, observe thefollowing: hills, intersections, driveways, businesses, and places for course marshals and aidstations. It is advisable to either run or have a committee member run the course to gain an on-foot perspective. -18-
  • 20. When gathering approximate distances for your certifier, note that s/he will probably end upwith less distance than you would on a certain stretch of course because of tangents and othermeasurement requirements. If planning a 5K, it would be prudent to have at least 3.2 to 3.3 milesworth of distance in mind as an option if your certifier comes up short. Moving starts and finishlines can typically remedy the discrepancy. Providing a Google Map or other computer-basedcourse design will help your certifier understand your intended, and approved, course.Pacers Events suggests that road race courses be professionally measured and certified. A coursecertification is good for ten years and is specific to the course, not the event. Check USATF.orgfor a list of certified courses in your area as options for your event.Monitoring & Marking the CourseThe course--whether established or new---should be monitored as needed in the weekspreceding the race and even on race day. Construction can take place during this time, and youmay find part of the course blocked by construction, torn up by bulldozers, or washed out byuncooperative weather. Keep in close touch with the municipality or park representative ifconstruction is taking place. A race director will need an alternate plan for a course (andapproval by the proper authorities) if there is construction.Marking the course is dependent on thetype of surface. Your certifier should markthe start, finish, and any mile marks on theground and/or will provide you with a mapso you can locate these key areas. Makenotes and create maps so you know whereyou will need assets, whether it be cones,barricades, signage, or people. This can bea complex and time consuming exercise,however, it is the basis for your course andwill assist you in knowing how many signs, volunteers, and other directional items you’ll need.Remember, you cannot be at every turn on race day so you will need to be able to easilycommunicate to your volunteers and know where items need to go. Course marking andmanaging is often conducted by a race management company who is typically familiar with acourse, the assets needed and, more importantly, can deploy on race day. -19-
  • 21. If I Build It, Will They Come?How to get the word out about your eventREGISTRATION & EVENT MARKETING Runners at the inaugural Independence 5000You have your course, your date, and your registration fees set. Now all you need areparticipants. Easy, right? It can be if you are strategic in how you promote your event, haveorganized communications, and partner with the right groups.A common misconception charity groups have is that people outside of their base supporters areemotionally connected to their cause, and will register for their event accordingly. While theywill probably have success activating a portion of their community to support an event, thesecommunities tend to be small and might not have a high concentration of runners. Therefore, inorder to increase your participant numbers, you have to engage the general running populationwhere the first message they need to hear is not about your group but about how great race yourrace is. And with a lot of races out there with a variety of agendas, you need to make sure yourmessage is on point with the general running population. -20-
  • 22. In our survey, we asked what prompted our runners to register for their last community roadrace. Nearly three-quarters indicated that they were simply looking for a race that weekend. Onlythirty-three percent were drawn to the race because the cause was important to them; simply, thecause is not a strong motivator for most runners participating in a charity race.5What’s Your Hook: Developing a Desirable EventWhen first developing your event, be sure to consult local race calendarsfor potential conflicts, consult runners on desirable dates in the runningcalendar, attend successful races, and tap into your creative side.While runners will primarily look for events that fit into theirschedules, they will also look to what perks or activities are beingprovided with the event. Perhaps it’s an upgraded t-shirt or a fun racecategory. The last thing you want is to be like “every other local 5K”;be sure offer something different that will be desirable and uniqueabout your event.Setting up RegistrationOnce you have your approvals and your timing and race management companies in place, youshould set up registration. Online registration is the preferred method; close to 92% of ourregistrants register online.There are many registration processors available. Check with your timer to see if s/he has apreferred processor. Sometimes they can set the system up for you.While many races are getting away from paper forms, you may feel it is still necessary to make ahard copy form available. Checking out race flyers from different races can give you a good ideaof how to put yours together. Some are complete and simple; others may have so muchinformation and tiny print makes them difficult to read.Key information should always be easy to read and designed to catch the eye of the reader. Basicinformation includes the following:1. Name of race5 Ibid. -21-
  • 23. 2. Location (include city and state)3. Date and start time4. Distance5. Course description6. Pre-registration location, dates, and mailing address7. Race day registration and packet pick up dates and times8. Entry fee (pre-reg and race day) and check payable information9. Sponsor information10. Exclusions, if applicable*11. Award categories12. T-shirt type and sizes offeredRegistrant information to be provided on form:13. First and last name14. Address (street, city, state, zip, and telephone number)15. Age on race day16. Gender17. Payment type18. Any special categories or team information19. Waiver signature, or parent signature*For example: “the following are not allowed in the race: animals, bicycles, skateboards, babystrollers or baby joggers, roller skates or roller blades, radio headsets or other portable soundsystems."Registration TrendsAlthough you may set up your registration early on in the process, do not be alarmed if there arenot initially have a lot of sign ups. Our experience is that runners do not tend to pay attention tolocal race schedules until six to eight weeks before the event. Even then it might be slow until amonth prior. Watch the ten day forecast; you should see a bump two weeks out if the weather islooking nice. In addition, Metro DC runners tend to register late so races may end up as much asdoubling their registration from the week before the race to race day (assuming nice weather). Ifyour race is outside of the metro area, share registration trend notes with another race director.Race Flyer DistributionHard copies of a race flyer or postcard should be developed and distributed throughout yourcontacts and communities. These flyers do not necessarily need to have a registration form butshould have instructions on how and where to register (e.g. a website address). Important places -22-
  • 24. to distribute flyers are at local running stores, gyms,supermarkets, coffee shops, businesses, and at other races. Agreat marketing vehicle is the “bag stuffer” - having your flyerstuffed in another race’s bag. You should aim to have theseflyers out six to eight weeks before your event and be vigilantin restocking flyers.Web and Online MediaMost areas have local running websites or blogs. Whilethere may be a fee to advertise, typically you can list yourevent for free on online calendars. Also, social media sitesare good ways to get the word out about your event.Your Local Running StoreYour local running store is a hotbed of activity for area runners and usually is a primary source ofinformation regarding races and events around town. Forming a mutually beneficial relationshipwith your local running store can be extremely helpful to your event as these businesses tend tohave e-mail lists and will usually promote your event in store.Sometimes running stores can also help with in kind donations from their vendors or from theirown coffers. Understand that running stores are asked for donations sometimes on a daily basis,and may have their own events to manage, so making it a desirable relationship for them is important. The most important things you can do is agree to hold your packet pick up in their store prior to the event. Also, offer to promote their store and patronage it yourself. Owners and managers who see the relationship as two-way are more inclined to promote the event and encourage customers to run. If you do hold packet pick up at the store, it is a good idea to drop off an FAQ to the store two weeks before the race as the store will often get calls about your event. In addition, be -23-
  • 25. early for your packet pick up and make sure you have allyour materials ready to go. Nothing is more frustrating orstressful for staff then when a packet pick up is late or ano-show. This reflects poorly on the store and the staffare the ones that have to deal with your grumpy runners.Also, offer a few complimentary registrations to theevent for the store to raffle or give to employees. Thiswill encourage participation for your event. -24-
  • 26. Things to Do, People to SeePreparing for and executing on race dayRACE DAY PREPARATION & EXECUTION Race day is upon you, be sure you are prepared!Registrations are flowing in and race day is drawing near. Make sure your event is executedflawlessly by being prepared and ready for the big day.Volunteer Recruitment & DeploymentThe key to any successful race is volunteers. Nothing warms the heart of a race director morethan individuals asking to help or saying “yes” when you phone them.Keep a list of names, phone numbers, and emails of your volunteers. When you are planning therace, know where volunteers will be needed and how many. Based on the total number ofrequired volunteers, it is always advantageous to have a certain number of extras for race day, asyou could have “no shows” especially if the weather is bad. -25-
  • 27. Before making your calls, prepare your message in advance so that you avoid leaving outimportant details. This should include the name and distance of the race, the time and date of therace, its location, when and where the volunteers should check in, and the type of job (finish line,results, water station, course marshal) you are asking thevolunteer to do.Be sure to follow up with your volunteers either by phoneor e-mail the week prior to your event and ask forrecommitments. You might also want to forward ontheir job description so they can familiarize themselveswith their duties on race day.In most races, volunteers check in one hour beforerace time. This allows for volunteer training andidentifying holes if there are no-shows.Trust your volunteers; be sure to give them cleardirections as to their task that day and make sure theyunderstand your policies and procedures. Volunteers want to be useful and manywill execute your direction if they know what it is you want completed.Most races need volunteers in the following areas:• Set up of tents, tables, chairs (start/finish area)• Set up of race course the morning of race• Lead/tail bike or vehicle• At turns and intersections along the course• Pre-race registration (handing out bibs and t-shirts)• Race day registration (accepting money and handling new race day sign ups)• Food set up and distribution on race day• Finish line water distribution on race day• At the water stop on courseRace Day Preparation: Organization & MaterialsPlan on setting up race morning at least two hours before start time – this allows plenty of timefor troubleshooting and attend to last minute adjustments should they be needed. If you aredone early, you can always double check the course. -26-
  • 28. Race Day MaterialsThe goal is to be set up 60 to 90 minutes before the race starts.• Tables and chairs (registration, packet pick-up/t-shirts, food and water)• Pop up tents – to keep morning dew or inclement weather off paperwork• PA system: bullhorn or DJ• Pens and pencils• Timing clock• Safety pins• Blank registration forms• Cash box with money for change• T-shirts• Awards• Cones• Stanchions• Rope or Caution Tape• Mile marks• Trash Cans and liners• Water stop: table, gallon jugs of water, cups garbage bags, and rakes• Finish line food and waterFinish Line Basics: Organization & MaterialsThe finish line should be designed to fit theneeds of a specific race. Many factors areinvolved, including the distance of the race, theamount of space available, the number ofrunners, the number of volunteers, and howresults are being tabulated. Generally, the racedirector has a race committee memberassigned as the finish line captain. This personcan manage the set up and tear down of thefinish line, leaving the race director to attendto other matters.There are many materials that are used at the finish line. Not all of the items listed below willnecessarily be used, but will give you a general idea of what is typically needed. Be sure to checkwith your timer to see what s/he will provide; if you have a race management company they willtypically supply these materials. -27-
  • 29. Timing Materials• Timing clock• Tent• Tables and chairs for timers• Electricity or generator• Timing equipment• Computer and printers• Back up timing equipmentFinish Chute Materials• Cones• Fencing, tape, or barricades• Bullhorn• Broom• Scissors• Signage• Finish line tape• Medical supplies• Finish line waterWater StopThe water stop should be located about halfway through your race, ideally in an area where yourvolunteers can park and/or walk to easily. The location of the set-up should be on a stablefoundation and on a through way away from course turns in order to avoid bottlenecking. Forsmaller events, setting up on one side of the road is preferable as this allows individuals who arenot interested in water to move to the outside and avoid congestion at the stop.Typically, a six (6) foot table can hold 300 eight (8) ounce waxed paper cups. Fill the cups toabout 2/3rds way (six ounces will do). Estimate one cup per runner; on hotter days make sureyou have some back up water.Depending on the number of runners, you will want two to five volunteers to pre-fill the cups andhand out to runners as they pass by. Start time for set up should be no less than 45 minutesbefore the race begins. -28-
  • 30. Miscellaneous Race Day ItemsPre-Race AnnouncementsIn your pre-race planning, determine who is going to do the following: (1)make introductions of individuals, if applicable, (2) give last-minuteinstructions, (3) who is starting the race, and (4) how the race is going tobe started-- either voice command, starter gun or air horn (The timersand runners need to know!) Race Lead The lead vehicle can take "many forms": a car, a scooter, a bicycle, a police car, or a police motorcycle. In many cases, the type of course will determine which vehicle is suitable --- if at all. It’s purpose is to guide the runners along the correct course. -29-
  • 31. Checking It TwiceKeeping tabs on your responsibilities before and on race dayRACE DIRECTOR CHECKLIST Start line of the Clarendon Day 10K/5K one hour before the start.Keeping tabs on your responsibilities can be daunting, however following this checklist willhopefully have you resting easy before your big day.Checklist• Race date and course selection: Your date and general course should be determined as soon as possible. Check with your municipality for date availability.• Race committee selection and timeline: Keep your race committee on task and communicate often with everyone on your team.• Select race management company and/or timer: Ask other races or your local running store for recommendations. Select early as company schedules fill up early. -30-
  • 32. • Permitting: You or your race management company should obtain permits before you start publicizing your event. Remember- this process should start no later than six months prior to your event although each municipality has different rules.• Finalize course: Choose a pre-existing course or create a new one. Be sure to check for construction or other course hazards prior to race day.• Insurance: Obtain insurance for your event; Pacers Events recommends the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) membership and insurance package for road races.• Course certification: Running a race on a certified course allows participants to accurately compare their time to performances run on other certified courses. No one can truly establish a personal best if the course distance is not accurate.• Confirm police requirements, if needed: Be sure to communicate before your race with your city police contact. S/he may have requirements of the event, such as volunteers at certain posts.• Medical: Research your insurance and municipality requirements.• Volunteers: Recruit early and communicate often. Make sure they know where to go and who to report to on race day.• Runner premiums: Decide on your runner premium, create your design, and contract with your screener. Start process at least two months before race day.• Race flyer: Check it for completeness, clarity, and errors before it is printed.• Race website: Have a URL that is easy to remember. Don’t have your race information buried within another site.• Race bibs and pins: Be sure to order the proper type of bibs and safety pins (4 per bib).• Toilet facilities: Can be in a civic building, park pavilion, or portable toilets. If portable toilets are needed, usually one (1) per 75 runners will do and remember to order at least one (1) ADA handicap accessible unit.• PA/sound system/air horn: Confirm your needs and make sure your items are charged.• Registration: Set up online registration and determine procedure for mail in, walk up, and race day registrations. At packet pick up and race day, be sure to have: list of pre-registered runners, unassigned bibs, cash box, petty cash, entry forms, ballpoint pens or markers, race bibs, safety pins, t-shirts, tables, chairs, and volunteers.• Course management and safety: Determine who will be in charge of course management on race day. Train course marshals, check on the water stop, mark course turns, deploy mile -31-
  • 33. marks, and coordinate with police. Check the course yourself on race morning and have your lead bike or vehicle tag along so you can be sure they know the course.• Water stop: Purchase enough water and cups for station. Deploy pre-race.• Bottled water and finish line food: Have enough water for finishers; be prepared with extras on hot days.• Finish line set up: Assign a finish line captain to set up and train volunteers.• Pre-race announcements and race start: Make a list of announcements and recognize sponsors and VIPs. Have a clear procedure for the race start and don’t forget to coordinate with your timer before pulling the trigger!• Awards and results posting: Determine who is responsible for announcing awards and coordinate with your timer on a realistic time for the ceremony to start. Find a spot to post race day results for people to review after the race. Ask your timer to post to website and send to local running publications.• Post-race clean up: Ask your staff and volunteers to stick around to help with loading up equipment and leaving the area as you received it.• Post race wrap up: Take a few days to digest the event and then get together with your team to review. Make notes to find out what went right, what went wrong, how the race can be improved, and determine if it was profitable enough for your charity or organization to consider for next year. -32-
  • 34. Race Management & TimingPacers Events & raceDC timingABOUT US If you find you need help with the heavy lifting of race management, call us!Pacers EventsPacers Events manages over 25 races each year. Aside from our ownevents, we are involved in the Arlington 9-11 Memorial 5K, GWBirthday 10K, Dash for Dad, Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, andmany more.  In 2010, Pacers owned and contracted road racesserved over 35,000 participants.Management service packages are developed based on clientneeds and budgets as well as Pacers Events availability. Packagesinclude full-service event management, first year race directorprograms, and finish line management. -33-
  • 35. Pacers Events contracted management services are coordinated by Lisa Hundley-Reeves. Toreach Lisa about your event, please submit a request for proposal to lisa@runpacers.com. Formore information on Pacers Events, visit www.pacersevents.com.raceDC TimingraceDC Timing times and score races of all types and sizes including road races, trail events,endurance races, high school and collegiate cross country meets, multi-sport competitions, andmore.We offer state of the art timing services and equipment for races from 100 to 30,000. raceDCTiming is one of the only local timing companies with both ChronoTrack and IPICO timingsystems. Managed by company principals Erik Kean and Jeremy Lowry, our tenured and friendly timers successfully timed over 50,000 runners last year at races throughout the country. For more information on raceDC Timing, visit www.racedctiming.com or e-mail Jeremy Lowry at jeremy@racedc.com. -34-
  • 36. Sample Budget SAMPLE BUDGET FOR 5K RACE EXPENDITURES* Goal: 500 Registrants Description AmountAdvertising & promotion $1,000Medical $400Announcer / DJ variesAwards $1,000Packet pick up bags variesSignage/decor $400Barricades variesRunner bibs and safety pins $300Bottled water and finish line food $400Course measurement and certification $375Water stop materials $125Rental equipment (tables, chairs, tents, cones) $600Entertainment variesEvent insurance $500Permits (municipalities) $500Photographer $300Police support (municipalities) $1,000Portable toilets $300Race management variesTiming $1,800Runner premiums $3,000Web Site design and hosting variesTotal Estimated Expenses $12,000+ management and other costs*Items listed are samples and costs vary from course to course. -35-