Race Directors' Checklist

by Dave McGillivray
DMSE, Inc.
4 Greystone Drive
Middleton, MA 01949
PH: 978-774-3842
FAX: 978-774-8893
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Reprinted from: http://www.coolrunning.com/dmse

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS NEEDED
Visualization - being able to visualize every aspect of an event before it happens
Calm and quick thinking under pressure; patience
Don't be intimidated by the challenge
You need to be exceptionally well organized; being prepared; labor intensive; don't leave to race day
Charisma and leadership qualities and ability to surround yourself with hard working, dependable and experienced people; trust (to a point), always follow up
Great to be involved in a sport where you make people feel good about themselves

PRE-RACE (PLANNING)
Scope of event and objectives - need to determine this first; why are you doing this?
Set reasonable goals and expectations - remember, though, it is only a road race!
Is it a business for you?
Consider multi-distance events - kids, 5K, 5M, etc.
Choosing your course - critical to the long term success of the race
Race application - don't skimp, promotional piece, consult with your timing company
Application distribution - stores, mailing lists, running clubs, health clubs
Distribution at other races - ask first, cars, finish line, tables, pick up your trash
Choosing a charity - do races actually raise money? Pledges, line item in budget
Include older divisions - 70+, 5-year intervals
Race packet - people have a tendency of equating the value they are receiving with what is in the bag
Set up as much as is reasonably possible the day before the race, hire detail, do not leave for race day what you can do the day before; why plan for months and then rush?
Operations Manual - the bible
Budget - it really is the "race director"
If you must limit the field size, always set aside enough entries to cover your special requests
Pretend event is 1-2 weeks before the actual date
Planning for next year starts even before this year's race

PRE-RACE (RACE DAY)
Tell staff and volunteers to arrive ½ hour before you actually need them
Place signage from the main highway to the race site directing runners to appropriate locations
Anticipate your parking plan and make sure you have monitors and/or equipment to direct runners even before the first runner arrives or they will simply follow one another

STARTING LINE
Registration process - layout so that it is clear and efficient, enough room, it flows
Don't use audible countdown, i.e., 10, 9, 8,…1, go!
Line up runners before the actual starting line then move forward to the actual starting line or create elite athlete corral
Starting mechanism - don't use gun, whistle, be unique, make sure all can hear
Other pre-race events - aerobic warm up
PA announcer - very important, should have numeric list, sponsor list, spotters, charismatic, not obnoxious
If you are the RD, never leave the main area of activity, you must be readily accessible to your staff and volunteers

COURSE
Water stations - every mile, both sides, don't skimp
Accurately measured course - at least state what it is
Design a course that is easy to manage - point-to-point races are tough
Lead vehicles - don't neglect or wait until race day; pre-race meeting with drivers

FINISH LINE
Breaktape - always in photo, practice, repeat sponsors name
Banner - facing photographers, wind holes
Championchip - the wave of the future

POST RACE
Important - post race activities, food, entertainment
Refreshments - pick "easy" foods, ones that don't leave much trash
Results, posting, internet
Awards - merchandise, medals, trophies, unique
Awards ceremony - winners first, move along quickly
Call/email in results - people like to see results in paper; your obligation
Clean up - don't leave until venue is clean; trash containers; ask people to help; hire crew

MISCELLANEOUS
Communications - 2 way radios, ham radio operators, cellular phones (Nextel)
Equipment (and volunteers) - extremely important
Aesthetics - fencing, tents, balloons, banners, etc.
Referee / officials - don't police your own event
Volunteers - misnomer, contract, just as committed
Don't lose money
Remember the basics - accurate course, water, accurate results