You’ve been bit by the “race director bug” but the problem is you don’t know where to begin. We’ll take a look at the process from the eyes of this first time race director (me), and we’re going to start, of course, from the beginning.
Putting together a race takes a lot of planning. If you aren’t much of a planner, you might want to think about partnering with someone who is. Passion is also another key element which you probably already have if you have gotten to this point. Your passion will drive you forward as you put things together, and inevitably run into an obstacle or two or 10.
Start with the basics such as a tentative name of your race, location, distance and how big or small you want it to be.
Contact other race directors—especially local ones if possible. Veteran race directors can be a great source of information, and if they are local, may be able to give you invaluable inside tips to getting your race off the ground.
Talk to runners, local and out of state. Gauge initial interest in the race and see if people may be willing to travel to your event or if you will only end up with local entrants.
You also need to think about if you want to make money or not. Truth be told, many race directors, especially first-timers, can end up in the hole. Remember the passion that drives you? If you are driven solely by the money, you might want to go get a paper route because that may just pay better. Either way, figure out if you are looking for a profit or if you plan to go non-profit. If you go non-profit, you need to think about partnering with another non-profit organization to use their non-profit tax status, or you may have to set up your own company for a nominal fee, but this can take some time.
Another key element is when? You at least need a tentative date for your race. Look at other race schedules and make sure you are not conflicting with an event that may draw people away from yours. For instance, it’s really not a good idea to plan a trail marathon in the Los Angeles area on the same day as the Los Angeles Marathon.
Let’s summarize the basics you will need to get things started:
- Passion for the race;
- Some form of organizational skills;
- Race Name, distance, location & size;
- Talk to other race directors (local if possible);
- Gage interest by talking to runners;
- Decide if you want to make a profit;
- Pick a date (at least a tentative one to start).
Next month we’ll go into some specifics of your first steps as a new race director!