Steps to a Good Race

  1. Design your course, or identify an existing course to use – 1 year prior
    1. Identify a venue
      1. Make sure it is as convenient to your office as possible, as you will be visiting the venue often, prior to your event.
      2. Make sure it is large enough for your event, and for growth
      3. If in a park, make sure you are welcome, including growth
      4. Plan traffic flow, vendor access, participant exit
    1.  Plan your course – 9 months prior
      1. Same Start/Finish lines, or floating (one or the other)?
      2. Clean Start and Finish areas
        1. No turn in first 100 meters
        2. At least 50 meters of straight before Finish
      3. Course wide enough for participants, and growth
      4. Access for water stations
    1. Map course on – 9 months prior
      1. Currently, only site that allows you  to edit course after saving
      2. Can send link to other principles, for feedback
      3. Can keep it private while finalizing
      4. Can send link to Police for their approval
      5. Make sure you have “wiggle-room” for adjusting for certification
    1. After course is approved by police, city, park, etc, contact measurer 6-months prior
      1. Can contact earlier, for professional input on design of course
      2. Get list of measurers from
      3. Check their maps.  Cleaner maps indicate better work.
      4. Check number of courses they have measured.  More is better
    1. Give certified map to course management company, if using one
    2. Give certified map to timing company


  1. Get sponsors – 1 yr prior, after venue secured
    1. Use any companies that already have a relationship with the charity
    2. In-kind (food, beverage, goody-bags, prizes)
    3. Cash for t-shirts, food, prizes, expenses (police, permits, etc.)
    4. Have them advertise the race on their dime
    5. Have them sign a written agreement.  If they back out, you have to replace their commitment.  Don’t feel like a beggar – this is a business agreement
  1. Secure volunteers – 6 months prior, have volunteer chairs in place
    1. Save charity money if they can provide course marshals and other volunteers
    2. Any course volunteers should have map early, and they should visit their assigned location at least a week prior to the event
    3. Verify critical volunteers know their assignment
    4. Volunteers for Registration, T-shirt pickup, Information, trash pickup, vendor assistance, traffic guidance for parking
  2. Secure permits – as early as entities allow
    1. City, Park, Police, etc.
    2. Permits should be secured well in advance
    3. Insurance through USATF, if desired (see for information)
    4. Know how many police are needed, and make sure any police on course have map, and know your timeline for course/road closure.   Communicate clearly your needs and expectations.  You are hiring them, they need to know what you expect.


  1. Create Brochure & T-shirt art – to artist 6 months prior, circulating at least 3 months prior
    1. Sell your charity, sell your cause
    2. Sell to non-supporters.  Many runners don’t know about your cause, but are looking for a good race.  Sell to them, as they can be 25% of your audience
    3. Don’t put map in brochure.  Courses change for many reasons.  Put the link for your certified map in your brochure, and PROMINANTLY display your USATF certification number.  This adds credibility to your race.  Take advantage of it.


  1. Order T-shirts
    1. Timing depends on qty, and your vendor.  Also, how early you can get sponsors on-board, so your shirt can list all major sponsors
    2. Mix of sizes depends on where you are, how many “in it for the cause” participants you have vs. true runners
    3. Technical shirts, as opposed to cotton shirts, are preferred, and seen as a better value for their race entry fee
  1. Generate publicity – Half-marathon or Marathon at least 6 months prior; 5k 3 months prior
    1. Newspapers
    2. Internal newsletters
    3. Running stores
    4. RaceMeasure Website
    5. Running clubs
    6. Local newspapers
    7. Running Websites –, etc.