Here is a checklist by Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillvray to use for your event.
Posted Monday, 29 April, 2002
General Characteristics Needed
- Visualization - being able to visualize every aspect of an event before it happens
- Calm and quick thinking under pressure; patience
- Don't be intimidated by the challenge
- You need to be exceptionally well organized; being prepared; labor intensive; don't leave to race day
- Charisma and leadership qualities and ability to surround yourself with hard working, dependable and
experienced people; trust (to a point), always follow up
- Great to be involved in a sport where you make people feel good about themselves
- Scope of event and objectives - need to determine this first; why are you doing this?
- Set reasonable goals and expectations - remember, though, it is only a road race!
- Is it a business for you?
- Consider multi-distance events - kids, 5K, 5M, etc.
- Choosing your course - critical to the long term success of the race
- Race application - don't skimp, promotional piece, consult with your timing company
- Application distribution - stores, mailing lists, running clubs, health clubs
- Distribution at other races - ask first, cars, finish line, tables, pick up your trash
- Choosing a charity - do races actually raise money? Pledges, line item in budget
- Include older divisions - 70+, 5-year intervals
- Race packet - people have a tendency of equating the value they are receiving with what is in the bag
- Set up as much as is reasonably possible the day before the race, hire detail, do not leave for race day what you can do the day before; why plan for months and then rush?
- Operations Manual - the bible
- Budget - it really is the "race director"
- If you must limit the field size, always set aside enough entries to cover your special requests
- Pretend event is 1-2 weeks before the actually date
- Planning for next year starts even before this year's race
Pre-Race (race day)
- Tell staff and volunteers to arrive 1/2 hour before you actually need them
- Place signage from the main highway to the race site directing runners to appropriate locations
- Anticipate your parking plan and make sure you have monitors and/or equipment to direct runners even
before the first runner arrives or they will simply follow one another
- Registration process - layout so that it is clear and efficient, enough room, it flows
- Don't use audible countdown, i.e., 10, 9, 8,...1, go!
- Line up runners before the actual starting line then move forward to the actual starting line or create elite athlete corral
- Starting mechanism - don't use gun, whistle, be unique, make sure all can hear
- Other pre-race events - aerobic warm up
- PA announcer - very important, should have numeric list, sponsor list, spotters, charismatic, not obnoxious
- If you are the RD, never leave the main area of activity, you must be readily accessible to your staff and volunteers
- Water stations - every mile, both sides, don't skimp
- Accurately measured course - at least state what it is
- Design a course that is easy to manage - point-to-point races are tough
- Lead vehicles - don't neglect or wait until race day; pre-race meeting with drivers
- Breaktape - always in photo, practice, repeat sponsors name
- Banner - facing photographers, wind holes
- Championchip - the wave of the future
- Important - post race activities, food, entertainment
- Refreshments - pick "easy" foods, ones that don't leave much trash
- Results, posting, internet
- Awards - merchandise, medals, trophies, unique
- Awards ceremony - winners first, move along quickly
- Call/email in results - people like to see results in paper; your obligation
- Clean up - don't leave until venue is clean; trash containers; ask people to help; hire crew
- Communications - 2 way radios, ham radio operators, cellular phones (Nextel)
- Equipment (and volunteers) - extremely important
- Aesthetics - fencing, tents, balloons, banners, etc.
- Referee / officials - don't police your own event
- Volunteers - misnomer, contract, just as committed
- Don't lose money
- Remember the basics - accurate course, water, accurate results
- It's supposed to be FUN.
by Dave McGillivray