New races pop up in the running calendar all the time – but how do you set one up? Tim Price, the event manager for the Loomba Foundation 5k, shares his top tips
The amount of detail that goes into planning a race is huge, from insurance through to course planning – and making sure people actually know about it. The first thing we did was ask sports event companies to cost and pitch for the job. If you don’t use an event company, you’ll need to build a detailed planning calendar, factoring in:
• Insurance for all runners.
• At least six months to liaise with the local authorities to secure planning on your planned route.
• Event day staff: don’t also underestimate the cost of marshals (although it’s worth asking the local running club if they will provide marshals in return for places).
• Signage along the route at every mile or kilometre mark.
• Refreshments for runners and spectators.
• Medals, goody bags, runner numbers and chip timing.
• Start and finish funnel fencing to ensure runners are safe.
• Pace-based start time waves to ensure all runners have a good experience, irrespective of their speed.
Planning your venue
Location is important when attracting runners, who generally like to know the course will be scenic. We found that dealing with local authorities to secure access to parkland can be very slow and time consuming, hence the advice to build in a six-month contingency to allow for planning approval to come through. Without this, you may end up launching later than planned and have a tighter timeline to recruit your runners.
Launching the race and recruiting runners
Don’t underestimate the value of a detailed marketing plan that targets local networks, eg running clubs, health clubs and walking clubs. Build in time to research and create these databases, making personal contact with club managers where possible. If you’re setting up an event for a specific charitable cause, there will also be people and organisations who have a personal interest in supporting you.
If you have a corporate sponsor on board, take advantage of this by building team participation into the contract. This will help guarantee a certain number of runners and, if you’re a charity, funds for your specific cause.
If you don’t have a sponsor, you won’t have a database of corporate runners to tap into. Without this it is more of a challenge to recruit runners, so you need to be clever about targeting your natural supporters: friends and family, charity supporters, local corporates …
Finally, do what you can to secure free support. There are lots of brands that want to target runners and will be happy to provide information and samples for goody bags – just do your homework so you stand out as a quality experience in this growing but crowded market.
source: Guardian By Tim Price
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