I didn’t start running until I was almost a senior in high school but it was something I quickly fell in love with. My casual running turned into participating in local 5k/10k races and led to sprint triathlons and multiple Ragnar races. To me, running is more than just trying to be healthy, it’s a way for me to clear my head and escape from all the other things I have going on. And after having participated in so many runs over the years, I decided I wanted to try my hand at putting on a race rather than running in it. Looking back, there are a lot of lessons I learned about what it takes to put on a race and it’s definitely something I would do again.
Deciding on the Type of Race
There are all kinds of races that people sign up for each year- 5k/10k’s, fun runs, themed runs, half marathons, marathons, triathlons, the list goes on and on. See that this was my first attempt at putting on a race, it was only right to keep it small and do a 5k/10k fun run. Living in Utah, there are runs going on almost every weekend during the summer so the timing and location was very important in order to get people to come. We got lucky in that there was only one other race going on in the area and it was a half marathon. It wasn’t much of a threat to our race since there are plenty of people that like participating in smaller runs rather than longer ones. We also decided to make it a themed race and get a local charity involved that proceeds would benefit. By going this route we appealed to both the physical and emotion aspect of the runners.
It’s all in the Details
Leading to the race I definitely underestimated just how much goes into putting on a race. Many times I found myself getting so caught up in the big stuff (getting sponsors) that I let some of the small things (race details for volunteers) go by the wayside; delegation was my best friend by the time race day came. In the end, making sure the small things got done was just as important as getting the big things done – having the cones to help mark the course was just as important as getting the t-shirts printed.
Communication is Key
Like already mentioned, delegation became an important tool as we tried to get everything done for race day. The only problem is making sure everyone involved is on the same page; and everyone involved isn’t just those working on the race, it’s your sponsors and those actually running in it. It was making sure the sponsors were kept in the loop every step of the way so they knew they were getting what they paid for; it was keeping runners posted on updates and anything having to do with the race that they would need to know- that also includes the communication at the race.
Having run in many races I’ve seen what it’s like to try and communicate with large crowds of people before and after the race. Half the time I couldn’t hear what the person was saying, I just wanted to run the race. With that in mind I wanted to get something I could use to make sure people could hear me and that was portable and allowed me to still be hands on with what needed to take place. I was introduced to a portable voice amplifier by a company named VoiceBooster out of Texas. After reading some reviews online I decided to try out their MR- AK38 amp and I’m glad I did. That thing was awesome! Not only was it light and portable (strapped to my body) it came with a head mic that allowed me to still do what I needed to but communicate with everyone at the same time. Even though it was smaller, it had 25 watts and the sound covered up to 8000 square feet which was plenty for the race. I was very pleased with the results and will definitely be using this again for future races.
Race day had finally come whether we were ready for it or not. There were definitely things that could have run smoother or that I would do differently now, but in the end it went off without a hitch. Our volunteers all showed up and were excited to help out (that alone was huge!) and they helped make things like packet pickup and last minute registration go smoothly. The volunteers are what made the race work, without them it wouldn’t have happen. Everyone who ran enjoyed the course we put together and were happy to just be out running and helping a good cause at the same time. Lastly, the sponsors made it possible to help out a charity in need. If it wasn’t for the kind donations from companies like Intermountain Healthcare, REMAX (Howard Thruston), doTERRA and Blendtec, the money from registrations would’ve had to go toward paying for the race instead of benefiting the charity.
In the End
I remember walking into my house after the race was all finished and feeling like this big weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Everything I had been stressing and worrying about the past couple months was now over and I didn’t have to think about it anymore. Putting on the race was one of the hardest, most stressful things I did but I would do it again in an instant. Seeing how much this event meant to the charity (Friday’s Kids Respite) made everything worth it. Friday’s Kids works with kids with disabilities and their reaction to the community coming out to support them made whatever stress I had melt away. I’m happy to be teaming up with them and turning this run into a yearly event to help out families who have kids with disabilities. Check out their cause at www.fridayskids.org
And for any of you thinking of trying to take on the task of putting on a race- do it. It will be hard, but it will be worth it.