Organizing a 5k

running is my passion

I’m putting together a 5k and 10k event for the Volunteers of America to support the opening of their new Homeless Youth Shelter. The shelter will provide youth, ages 15-22, who are homeless with a place to find services such as mental health, education, employment, substance abuse, legal assistance, and a warm bed and shower.

The race will be in June and the shelter will open in the fall 2015. While I ran the Anti- bullying 5k over the weekend, I took notes in my little brain because my race will draw a similar crowd of people and will be on a paved trail about the same width of the trail used on Saturday. It was interesting to see the race both as a runner/participate and as a race director.

5k races for charity draw a diverse crowd, kids of all ages and adults who get out there because they feel strongly about the issue, but have never run a step in their adult life. Many of the adults walked most of the course and I can’t help but hope that this race will put their fitness and health front and center, and call them to action for themselves as much as they are called to action for the issue that has them out there.

It was really amazing to watch all the runners come across the finish line red faced coated in sweat. Some were smiling and laughing, while others were just searching for a place to sit down. Usually, I’m so beat after a race that my primary objective is to find the nearest food and bed. If you ever forget or question why you run, stand at the finish line of a race, and watch the joy of accomplishment shine on all the faces.

I’ve had to learn a lot about how races are organized and what goes into putting one on. It’s a lot of work if anyone is wondering. You have to get a permit from the city or county. Set up websites for registration, organize volunteers, get liability insurance, meet with police, barricade companies, and parks and recreation departments. Makes your head spin.

One of the things I took away from the 5k is that at the beginning of my event, I’ll ask slower runners and walkers to position themselves at the back of the starting crowd and to keep to the far right when walking or slowing down. This will allow faster runners to pass on the left and not run into the back of them or have to jump off the side of the trail into sticks and mud.

Is there anything you guys hate or love about events you have run?

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