Chapter Six

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Many of the items in this chapter have been listed previously in one form or another. This is merely a reminder of the major considerations involved in putting on a road run.


Nothing happens without financial backing. Cost to put on a small (300 to 600 runners) 5k to 5 mile race can run from $5,000 to $20,000. Some of the sponsorship may be in-kind, e.g. food and beverages, but cash will be needed for many of the items that follow.


Consider the ability to control the course with marshals, the ease of setting up aid stations, the difficulty for the runners, and the size and configuration of the finish area. Get approval from the police for the basic layout. Then have the course measured and consider having it certified. Laying out and measuring a course costs $250 or more, depending on the length and difficulty of the course. Certification costs another $50 or so more but may be worth the expense depending on the nature of the race.


Liability insurance may be purchased through USATF or a member club of the RRCA. Cost varies depending on the anticipated size of the field.

Design, Printing and Distribution of the Entry Form

Widespread distribution from two to three months in advance of the race is vital. Sponsorship and the course--as well as many of the following items--will have to be determined before the entry form can be put together.


Short or long-sleeve? 100% cotton (preferred) or 50/50? White or color? A good design is vital, especially for a first-time race. Spending money on a top quality shirt will usually pay dividends in future years.

Bib Numbers

These should be ordered six to 10 weeks in advance from a printer such as Marathon Printing. The bib number provides an opportunity for additional exposure of the race name and major sponsors. logos. The quality of your Bib can directly effect the scoring of your race. Experience has shown, that using the cheaper or "Free" bib numbers from one of the magazines can come back to bite you with Torn strips, mismatched stringer holes, and those T-Shirt or other detachible tags that drop off, confusing the person stripping them at the end of the race, thinking they dropped a whole strip. If you want to use a "Free" company, we recommend the use of "RunningTimes", as they use the finest quality. If you buy your own Bibs, you can select great options that can speed your results, as Floodcoating to identify the Walkers in a combined event, preprinted Barcodes to speed scoring, and having Race info and your logo printed on the Bib. Cost will probably run between $.20 and $.30 apiece, depending on the quantity and type of bib ordered.


The more quantity and variety, the better, but remember that after a hard run there are some items that don. t seem very appealing. Foods high in carbohydrates usually go better than protein items. Beer, soda, water and electrolyte drinks are considered standard.


Ten-year age groups, e.g. 19 and under, 20-29, 60 and over, etc., are okay for walkers, but if the race can afford it, five-year groups are better. Five-year age groups, e.g. 10 and under, 20-24, 25-29, 70 and over, etc., are almost a requirement for the running portion of the awards. You should also provide awards to runners at least three-deep in each age group, male and female. Awards will help you gain more runners and walkers to enjoy the fun experience for new and established people for your event. Trophies are preferred by runners over medals; medals are preferred over ribbons. Generally, the more unique the awards, the better the runners will like them.

Race Management

A race organization or running club can be hired to managet the race. The club. s fee will depend on how much work they are asked to do. "Race management" usually includes doing all the pre-race ordering, organizing and logistical support including distributing the entry form and handling registration. Cost can vary from a few thousand to many thousands of dollars.

"Race Scoring Companies" usually help set up the course, help at the start and control the finishline on race day, to include timing and scoring. Race conducting usually includes equipment rental such as timing machines, digital clocks, chute stanchions, scoreboards, etc. Cost can vary from $1,000 to $5,000.

Some Key Items

Here are some of the most important items required for a race. These will have to be rented or purchased if donors/sponsors cannot be found:

  • Portable toilets (one for every 100 runners expected is considered the minimum) (Don. t forget the need for toilet facilities on the course for volunteers and participants, particularly at locations a long distance from the start/finish.)
  • Cups and trash barrels with liners for water (or some other method to transport water such as Jerry cans)
  • Banners ("start," "finish" and sponsors)
  • Scaffolding (or some other device) for hanging the banners
  • Cones
  • Barricades
  • Tables and chairs (for registration, timing, scoring, food distribution, awards)
  • Sound system (with enough capacity to make announcements and play music)
  • Bullhorns
  • Ice
  • Safety pins
  • Trash barrels with liners for trash

Medical Support

This can usually be obtained by hiring a local ambulance company to provide a unit and a couple of paramedics or EMT. s.

Miscellaneous Items

Things such as stanchions and flagging to control crowds and protect the finish area, rope to hang banners, two-way radios, pens, mile markers, and scoreboards are usually supplied by the race scoring organization. The cost of this "equipment rental" is customarily added to the race conducting fee.


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