Race Director Mistakes

Not enough members on your race committee. You can’t do everything yourself or you’ll get burned out. You need to develop a number of reliable volunteers to help and you need to delegate responsibility to them. Just having the volunteers is no good if you aren’t willing to let go of managing every area of race planning.

Starting planning too late. Putting on a race is not easy; there are many areas to plan. You should start planning next year’s event within a couple months after race day. If you wait too long to plan, you will inevitably miss things as you rush to be ready in time.

Race application/website doesn’t contain enough detail or contains too much detail. Make sure you have provided all the information necessary to participate in your event. You’d be surprised how often race applications come out missing key pieces of information. At the same time, you don’t want a lot of extraneous information. Try to be as concise as possible while including everything your participants need to know.

Inaccurate course, inaccurate mile markers. The best way to prevent this is to get the course certified. Whether your course is certified or not, make sure it is accurate. You will have a bunch of unhappy runners if the course is not the advertised distance. With the current popularity of GPS watches, your participants will know if you’ve made an error.

Course is poorly marked. Make sure it is easy for your participants to tell where they are supposed to go, whether it is through signs or volunteers (or both). Provide course maps before the race for participants and maps to all of your volunteers. Don’t let your participants get lost out on the course.

Not having enough volunteers on race day. Appoint someone on your race committee to serve as the volunteer coordinator. Have that person develop a list of volunteers and call them the day before to remind them to show up.

Race day registration area is a mess. Have your scoring and timing company assist in laying out the registration area in the most logical manner. Set it up well before registration is set to open so you have time to get it right and get your volunteers trained. When possible, get volunteers who have worked a race registration before.

Not enough water. Whatever you do, make sure you have enough water for all your participants.

Not enough volunteers at the finish line. You don’t want the finish area to get backed up because it can mess up the race results. Make sure there are enough volunteers to keep finishers moving through the chute.

Cleanup has begun before the last finishers are in. You don’t want the slower runners and the walkers to feel that you don’t appreciate them participating in your event. Treat them the same as the earliest finishers.

Poorly organized kids’ race. If you are going to have a kids’ race as part of your event, treat it the same as any other race. It should start on time, requires volunteers on the course, etc.

Participants in different events getting in the way of each other. If you are providing multiple distances, be sure that the different events start far enough apart and that the courses stay separate. It is particularly difficult to manage the finish line if two different events are finishing at the same time across the same finish line. Consult with your scoring and timing company to come up with the best strategy.

Results and awards ceremony come too long after the race is over. No one wants to wait around forever for the results and awards ceremony. The best way to prevent this from happening is to hire a competent scoring and timing company.

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