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Race Organizing and Race Directing – Part 2 December 7, 2014

Filed under: planning,race directing,race organization — bigfootmarty @ 5:06 pm
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After you have had the idea / inspiration for a new race one of the earliest and most important steps will be creating and approving a course.
What is involved in creating a race course?

1.Create the course
2.Work with appropriate officials to make the course “acceptable”
3.register the course and if necessary Certify the distance

The race course may present itself naturally as the result of who is creating or sponsoring the race. [i.e. race for a school, park, club that has a space], or the course location may be the reason for the race[i.e. New trails in a park,new city initiative for activity]

Thoughts for creating a race course can be:
1. I love running on/at …..I wonder what a race would be like?
2. There used to be a race around downtown / at the school ……maybe we can re-do that event?
3. Since I live on the south side of town, let’s create a race here…
4. ……??

Once the idea for,the race course has, been “hatched” , the next step is to create the actual course and measure the distance of the course. In the old days this was done in a few simple ways-

A. Hop in car and set trip odometer and drive along the proposed course and measure
B. Do the same with a bicycle
C. Buy, borrow a “wheel” and measure the course. Wheel the course on foot and record the accumulated feet, yards, metes or miles and adjust as necessary to meet the desired race distance.

These tools can be still be used but a plethora of new tools are available. Some are newer versions  of old manual efforts. These new tools include :

A. GPS tools in hand or on a bicycle ( many of these provide automatic mapping)
B. Mapping program available online or as plugins to your computer

All of theses tools give the information necessary to decide if the proposed course will work for,the type of event planned

Once the proposed course has been created the process of bureaucratic approval begins.
The approval process may be as elaborate as reviews , debates and finally approval from 4-6 groups (city,county officials, police, Dept. Of Transportation, Parks Service, ad infinitum)    Or it may be as simple as a 10 minute application at local parks and rec department.


The safety of the course and along the course. This means the course is clean and free of potential hazards and that it is made safe from vehicular traffic. When roads are used for a road race the local police must be involved.
In some areas of the country this is a regular occurrence – because so many running events take place. When this is the case the local officials usually have a standard process to approve a race. It may involve a few hoops and hurdles but it is simplified by the “process”.

After government official have been addressed the course specifics must  be reviewed with police and possibly rescue squad. This will increase safety on race day and in the event of an injury or other problem during the event.

Ideas to address with officials:
A. Specific course
B. Course markings
C. Safety on the course- official and race provided ( volunteers on the course)
D. Specific timing for use of the roads, paths , park and parking…possibly restroom facilities
E.  A surprise or 2


There are several groups that will allow you to register the race event and offer liability insurance for the race.  Do searches for the groups.


Race Organizing and Race Directing- Compared – The Basics Part 1 November 18, 2014

Race Organizer or Race Director

Now First Things First , as Stephen Covey would say, the race oragnizer can be the Race Director but they are 2 different but important roles.

RACE ORGANIZER – Organizer created the race, had the idea for the race as well as the meaning behind the race. [ Holiday, season, Fundraising.series…..] This person may be a runner and thought it would be fun to put on a race and may or may not have any idea how to do that.

RACE DIRECTOR – This person runs all activities related to setting up, organizing and maintaining the race course, race registration, race operations (timing, hydration, safety, course marking, etc)

These roles can be filled by the same person or a committee (s). it is usually beneficial if there is a team/group involved in the Director portion of the event.

Now that that simple difference has been discussed..lets look at the tasks necessary to set up and put on a race, a foot race.
The tasks are the same for local 5k to an internationally followed and supported marathon.

The tasks can be divided into several buckets.
These buckets are as follows:


There several smaller tasks in each bucket and they will be listed / noted in the description for each bucket.


1.Create the course
2.Work with appropriate officials to make the course “acceptable”
3.register the course and if necessary Certify the distance


1.Name the Race
2.Create Online Presence- Website, Facebook, Twitter,….
3.look for Sponsors / Supporters
4.Prepare for runner registration ( see below)
5.Post race information in and on appropriate online communities
6.Plan and schedule traditional ads- TV, radio,newspaper, posters etc….

1.Contact local “officials” and police, Fire and rescue
2.Study race route for safety concerns and best places for police support.
3.Schedule and create Police and volunteer safety posts on the race course
4.Contact Fire and Rescue / ambulance service for emergency needs on race day


1.Prerace and race Planning
2.Course setup and Marking
3.Safety and Water Supplies for the race- on the course and finish line
4.Arrange for appropriate vehicles to transport all the logistical supplies


1.t-shirts or other “schwag” for the runners
2.bib numbers and timing chips if RFID timing used
3.hard goods and equipment for supplies/logistic above
4.food and drink for the race and post-race


1.Online registration- have own system or work with subcontractors available\
2.Paper registration pre-race ? And race weekend?
3.Use this system to manage Supplies and logistics above


1.How will the race be timed ? Manual or Electronic?
2.Is appropriate equipment available and present?
3.Has it been tested
4.Posting results , LIVE , at the race site
5.Posting results to website or other online space
6.Sending Press release and results to the media

Future posts will cover more in the areas of original concept and arranging with meddling officials at the citu, county or other governemtal body.

We will also discuss safety efforts and working with Police,Fire and rescue and Volunteers.