GUIDELINES FOR CONDUCTING ROAD
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Following are the basic steps to putting on a
small-to-medium-sized race. Not all steps will apply to every event. (Some
of the suggestions in this chapter will apply more to race directors from
running clubs, as opposed to those who work directly for a sponsoring or
race management organization.)
Work with the race sponsor/organizer.
- Determine the source of the initial funding.
- Establish a timetable for the race director's
responsibilities prior to, during and following the race.
- Sign a letter of agreement, if applicable.
- Agree upon an initial budget.
- Attend required meetings prior to the race.
- Meet at least once or twice during the week before the race for last
minute determination of "who is doing what." This will help insure that
responsibilities are not forgotten and that a well-conducted event is
Determine the race course.
- If the course
you would like to run--new or existing-- involves
use of streets contact the applicable authorities (police, sheriff and/or
state patrol). With the assigned officer(s) review the course and receive
permission to use it on the date you have selected.
- Check out start, mile or kilometer marks and finish
line. Be sure all are well marked so they can be found easily on race
day. If the course being considered is not an existing one (or the
course has to be re-measured), contact the local USATF course official
for measurement and certification procedures at least two months prior
to the race and, preferably, before the entry form design is
- Determine the number of course marshals
- Decide where aid stations will be placed (also how many
tables, cups and volunteers will be needed).
- Think about where cones and barricades (if the police
don't position them) should be placed.
- Decide if barricades are needed for closing the course
and for crowd control.
- If using a city park, communicate with the park
superintendent well in advance. Make arrangements for opening and/or
closing traffic control gates, if applicable. Determine placement and
removal of barricades, portable toilets, sound systems, canopies,
booths, stages, scaffolding, etc. Confirm with the superintendent at
least one week prior to the race.
- Think about issues such as:
- availability of parking
- setup of race day registration
- positioning of portable toilets
- staging of the start
- access to water particularly along the course and at
- site for the finish area
- secured position for race day data entry and
- location of post-race entertainment, awards
presentation, refreshments and/or exposition
Consider entry form requirements.
- Make sure all pertinent data is on the form: WHAT, WHEN
and WHERE (name of race, distance, date, starting time, purpose of race
or beneficiary (if applicable), locations of start and finish, entry
fee, what the runners will receive (T-shirts, awards, food, etc.), age
categories for awards, and waiver/agreement.
- Be sure any rules or restrictions are stated, e.g. no
pets, headsets, baby strollers/joggers, in-line skates, etc.
- Review registration information:
- how to register: in person, by mail
or fax, via the Internet
- where to register
- entry fee (and late fee, if applicable)
- name, address, phone number,
age and sex
- Prominently display sponsors' names and logos.
- Include a map of the course (if space allows)
and how to get to the race site (if location is difficult to find).
- Obtain agreement from selected local specialty
running stores or other outlets to handle a portion of the registration
- Deliver entry forms to running stores, athletic
clubs, recreation centers, and running clubs.
- Mail entry forms (if funds are available for
labels and postage). Use lists from your previous year's race and/or
- Distribute entry forms, by hand, at other races for several weeks
preceding your event
Organize the volunteer effort.
- Determine how many volunteers are needed and
how they will be provided (from sponsors' organizations, scout troops,
civic organizations, military units, schools, running clubs and
- Compile the list of
volunteers as early as possible. Call the volunteers to verify that
they are working. Inform them of the check-in time and location.
A postcard verification--detailing when to arrive, where to park and where to check in--could be
substituted for phone calls if the race budget allows.
- Make arrangements for all required
positions. If time and budget permit, prepare individual volunteer
assignment sheets with each volunteer's duties and assigned supervisor, and the
time set for pre-race training.
- Select supervisors and meet with them to be
sure they understand their responsibilities, particularly relating to
Handle any of the following responsibilities that are not being
taken care of by the race sponsor/organizer.
- Purchase liability insurance
through USA Track & Field (USATF), Road Runners Club of America
(RRCA) or other provider.
- Obtain permits, if required, for
use of parks and city streets.
- Meet with the police to determine
road closures and number of officers to be assigned to intersections.
- Hire (or seek as
in-kind sponsorship) medical assistance, e.g. ambulances, EMT's or paramedics.
- Hire a sound system, if
- Rent barricades, portable toilets, scaffolding, etc.
the week before the race verify delivery of everything you have
- Order bib
numbers. Consider design, including use of the title sponsor's logo, if applicable.
Order at least six weeks prior to the race. Order at least 10 weeks in
advance if bar codes are being used on the bib tags.
- Determine who will be doing the timing, whether you time
in-house, or hire a professional Scoring Company with computerized systems
that will provide results quicker and more accurately than manual scoring. Hiring
a Scoring Team will also free you and your people up to accomplish all the other
things needed to pull off a successful race.
- While scoreboards, double-sided
tape and ball point pens are sufficient for manual scoring, computerized
scoring requires software, hardware (usually several PCs), perhaps a
server to tie the PCs together, a laser printer and perhaps a copy
machine. You may score one race a year, while the Professional Scorer you hire
usually scores 3-4 a month and can speed the results to you and recover from any
problems that might crop up, that you would stumble through.
- Choose and order awards (trophies, medals, ribbons, etc.)
based on the budget available. (This should be done at least four weeks before
- Decide who will equip and staff
the aid stations, and where the water will come from.
- Agree on who will set up the
course and be responsible for road closures and re-openings.
- Decide who will do the announcing
and be the master of ceremonies for the awards presentation.
- Determine who will handle bib and
runner packet preparation (and data entry if computerized timing and
scoring is used).
- Select a T-shirt color. Determine
quantity. Decide who will provide the design and camera-ready artwork.
Select a screen printer, deliver the artwork and agree on the delivery
Be sure all equipment required for the race has been secured
(rented or purchased) and is in working order or adequate
- Be sure batteries are fresh in
headsets and that all two-way radios and cellular phones are charged.
- Determine how delivery of tables,
cups and water will be made to the start, course and finish aid
Arrange for delivery of all equipment and
- Obtain/rent vans or trucks if
needed for hauling equipment and supplies. Provide a volunteer check-in
area with tables and supervisors.
Provide assignments (either verbal or written).
- Distribute volunteer T-shirts or other
- Distribute equipment, e.g. select time
clipboards, bullhorns, timing equipment, etc. to those volunteers who
will need them for their assigned duties.
- Indicate where pre-and post-race refreshments
for volunteers are available.
- For larger races, provide each volunteer with
an information sheet, detailing placement of portable toilets and aid
stations, where the start is, when the awards ceremony will be held,
etc. This will help them respond to questions from participants and
Set up all required areas on race day (or
before if possible). Be sure setup crews are assigned to assist with
finish line and course if necessary.
- Establish the course, i.e. open (or close) park
gates, place barricades, set out directional cones and mile/kilometer
marker cones, signs or banners.
- Set up the aid stations (tables, cups, trash
barrels and bags, a lined barrel for dipping, water jugs, hoses, and
- Build the finish area (chute stanchions and
flagging; table for timing equipment and spindles or stringers; crowd
control fencing, particularly around the timers; scaffolding and/or
poles for banners; tents or canopies for scoring and/or food
- Hang sponsors' and information banners or signs
for start, course and finish.
- Set up barricades and crowd control
Provide time in your race day scenario for
volunteer training in every key area.
(This should be done by the various supervisors
- Be sure volunteers know when they
are to be in place.
- Be sure critical spots have been covered by re-assigning
volunteers if there are any no-shows. (This can usually be done by
the volunteer supervisors at check-in.)
Conduct the race with as much enthusiasm
and fun as possible.
Break down the start, course (including aid stations) and
Determine, in advance, who will take care of post-race
- Notify the local newspapers of the results, at least the top
overall finishers and top three men and women in each age group.
usually handled by the race sponsor/organizer or a media coordinator at
- Order and distribute T-shirts, if necessary. (This will
usually occur only when the field exceeds the anticipated number, the
initial supply runs out, and orders for shirts are taken from race
entrants at the time of registration .
This is an expensive proposition and should be avoided; it is usually
less expensive to over-order than to order, screen and mail T-shirts after
- Be sure awards not picked up on race day are
delivered or mailed to the recipients.
- Return rental equipment, sponsors' banners,
Hold a post-race evaluation meeting with
the sponsor/organizer and all other involved parties.
- Prepare, or review, final
- Discuss any problems or areas
of the race management/conducting to be changed, improved upon or
deleted for the next year's race.
- Send thank you notes to sponsors,
volunteers, the police, park personnel, etc.