Three years ago, before I became a race director, I used to look at different areas where I ran and think, “Oh it would be cool to put on a race here.” I don’t think that much anymore. Just kidding I do, but being a race director is a lot of work.
Race directors (RD) are amazing people (and not just because I’m one). Putting together a race is a lot of work. There are a lot of moving parts that need to move together by race day. My race is a 5k and 10k called Run for Home. It has become easier over the three years, not because there is less to do, but because I know what I need to do and who to contact to get things done.
A RD doesn’t get paid for the hours spent filling out permit applications, waste management plans, and Americans with Disabilities plans.
They don’t get paid for creating race maps, talking on the phone with parks and recreation, local police officers, barricade companies, t-shirt companies, medal companies, and event companies.
They don’t get paid for days they spend seeking donations to support the race and prizes they can raffle off at the race. They also don’t get paid for gathering and organizing all the volunteers for the event.
RD’s are volunteers who love the sport and love runners.
So where do all the race fees go?? Alright, so I will say that some of the big races have employees who get paid, but most, dedicate the sweat and blood out of love. Still where do the race fees go?
Race fees pay for t-shirts, medals, permits (city and county), liability insurance, local law enforcement, port-a-potties, recycling bins, hand washing stations, reflective vests for volunteers, food and water that doesn’t get donated, bibs, timing company, start/finish arch, posters for advertising, registration websites, advertising with any other media. There is a lot of places for money to go and nifty new things always show up.
If you’re thinking about putting on a race, here are some tips:
- Pick a weekend that doesn’t have a lot of other charity events.
- Submit an application to the city or county where the race is going to happen. If you expect a large number of people you may need an additional application/permit for a “mass gathering.”
- Start contacting anyone required for the permit. There is usually paperwork that has to be filled out and submitted.
- If you are using an event company for the timing or start/finish line make sure they can be there on the date you’ve chosen.
- Start planning early: get your race listed on race calendars, hang up flyers, and start getting everyone you know to register.
- Gather your volunteers and make sure you know what you need them to do and how many you need. You may need police to close roads or to get barricades to direct traffic/runners away from each other.
- If you’re doing food of some type, you need to have the department of health check it out.
- If you are doing a raffle or getting sponsor, you have to start months before the event.
- There are lots of websites that you can use for race registration. I use Registermyrace.com
- Figure out if you are doing race day registration and if you are how are you going to accept payment: Square readers are awesome.
- You’ll have to order shirts and medals three to four weeks in advance.