This article will give tips and explain the basics of how to organize and direct your race, not only to assure its success, but also future races. Runners will remember a poorly run race where the course was not marked properly or there were no awards. The first time they attend maybe your only opportunity to encourage future attendance. Before you start planning your race it is important to understand the two basic types of runners and why they show up on race day.
Why do runners show up on race day?
1-Competition and the possibility of winning an award.
2-Socialize with old running friends and meet new ones.
3-The possibility of winning a great door prize.
4-Support a charity or good cause, especially if it is related to them.
5-See results of their personal training and get an improved race time.
6-Special events or festivals associated with the race.
7-Feel good that the morning was not wasted by staying in bed.
8-Raise fitness level which should help make training runs easier.
9-Change of pace from daily running routine.
10-Feeling for seasoned runners that they are still in shape.
11-There are “diehards” who look forward to a weekly race.
12-There are “newbies” who are checking out the whole experience.
As we can see there are many reasons why a race can be a great fundraiser, provided it is properly organized from start to finish.
What are the two basic types of runners who enter a race?
A-The “diehard” runner who runs a race almost every weekend. This type doesn’t mind supporting the race cause, but is mainly there to try and win an award or door prize and meet up with fellow race friends.
B-The “support” runner who does not normally run a lot of races and is expected to be there because they are directly affiliated with the race cause.
Every race will contain a certain percentage of both types. For example, your race may contain 40% “support” runners and 60% “diehard” runners which is why taking into account such basics as awards, door prizes, and dynamic environment are important not only to draw these “diehard” runners but to satisfy them so they will spread the word to all their friends to assure that future race events will be even better.
Again, remember the “support” runners are a given and will always be there for their cause but the “diehard” runners or runners which are not directly affiliated with the race cause who usually make up the majority of the race runners must be sought through advertising methods, such as a flyer or internet sources which list items they are seeking. There can sometimes be numerous races on the same weekend where the “diehard” competitive runners must decide which one to run, which is why it is so important to consider all the details when planning your race. If you, as the race director are NOT a “diehard” runner, you may not have the insight to know what a disappointment it is to try so hard in the race, knowing you have done so well where you passed that opponent that normally beats you, only to find out that there are no age group awards or only awards for the top three runners. One reason some “diehard” runners are there is to try and win and award. It is their main motivation for participating in the race. When race directors who have no or sparse awards are confronted, the main reason given is usually “we are a new race where funds are limited”. The fact that funds are limited should not have anything to do with the handing out of awards. For example: awards are not required to be trophies or medals. There are less expensive alternatives such as: paper certificates (that could even be printed from your personal computer), painted rocks, ceramic tiles or plates with 1st, 2nd, 3rd painted on them and ribbons which are low cost and only take some labor to produce. A runner who is seeking an award is seeking competition, challenge and the opportunity to win a well run organized race.