Richmond Road Runners

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I need to organize a 5K run/walk to raise money for an all night graduation party for our Goochland High School seniors. I have volunteers ready to help me, but we're not sure where to start! The race will be in May 2010, and it will be in West Creek. Is anyone out there willing to share their race-planning knowledge with us?

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There are a lot of factors to consider and details to work out. I would first look at the race calendar and try to find a date that does not have multiple conflicts. Once a date has been set, you will need to do the following (mostly in order):

A) Find a course. While you have selected West Creek, do you have permission to use (close) the road for an event such as this? Will you need a permit from the county to put on the race?
B) Measure the course. Nothing is more frustrating to runners than a long/short course. RRRC provides course measurement as a service.
C) Advertise the race. Since this is a fundraiser you will want to get the word out to as many people as possible. Since it is for a high school cause, you may want to invite track teams from local schools (provided the season is over) and perhaps give them a discount.
D) Determine if this is going to be a race only, or if you are going to offer any premiums (i.e. T shirt, etc.).
E) Have a way for folks to register in advance (perhaps on-line) as well as the day of the event.
F) Decide when to have the race. Will it be in the morning or will it be a twilight event?
G) Arrange for insurance. Running is a potentially dangerous event and you do not want to be personally liable in the event of a serious injury/death.
H) Determine if police are needed to marshall the course. If so, how many and what is the course?
I) Plan for parking. All these runners need somewhere to park.
J) Plan for rest room facilities. Can you use an office building or will you need to rent porta-johns?
K) Food and refreshments. You will need these for all the tired, hungry and thirsty runners.
L) Mark the course. This will need to be done the day of the event and will need to include mile markers.
M) Course marshalls. You will need one at every turn to make sure everyone follows the course. Depending on the route and the need for police, you may also need people to control traffic. For safety sake, all should have reflective vests.
N) Timing and finish line workers. You will need a way to time the race and tabulate the results. This can be done manually or you could hire RRRC to do this electronically (if there is not another race that conflicts).
O) Race numbers. You will need to order race numbers to identify the runners (and to determine finish order). This will also allow you to identify any bandits. Be sure to have safety pins (4 for each person) to attach them with.
P) Registration workers. You will need people to sign up walk up runners and to distribute race number (T shirts if any), etc.). To keep things simple, have a round race fee (i.e. $20) so you do not have to make change on race day.
Q) Set up and tear down workers. You will need someone to mark the course, set up cones, set up and take down tables at the end, etc.
R) Lead bike. It would be best to have someone on a bike lead the runners on the course so no one goes astray.
S) Prizes. You will need some sort of prize for the winners (both male/female overall/masters as well as age group winners). Also consider having merchants donate some random prizes.
T) Sponsor(s). Can you find a local business (or businesses) that will help you underwrite the expense (i.e. Parrish Motor 5K)?
U) Water stop. You will need a manned water stop with volunteers who have filled the cups in advance.
V) Michael George. You will need the esteemed ERD to yell final instructions to the runners and start the race.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but gives you an idea of what is involved. I would also suggest looking on this site for other races and contacting those race directors to get their insight on issues/pitfalls they faced.

Good Luck!
Gary raised a good point about time of day. If you do a twilight event, you probably could arrange it on the same day as another morning race. Some racers like to 'double up' and do a morning then an evening race.
Wow! Thank you for the info -- this will be a HUGE help! I'm looking forward to getting the planning started in early January. Looks like RRRC will be a great resource. I'm sure we'll be in touch when further questions arise. Thanks again!
If you are still interested after that long list, you must be dedicated. Wonder why there is no item W, X, Y and X!!

But seriously the list is long but not intimidating, particularly if recruit early help. I recently assisted with a new event and most of it went off well. Some items on the list are eliminated by event site and other decisions you will make. But all and probably more should be considered. Good Luck.
Have you considered involving the Goochland YMCA for either promotion or assistance? Might pick up the interest of those who run the Monument 10K. Might even get some interest in the Y continuing a training program for your 5K for novice or beginning runners, although the shorter 5K distance may not peak much interest in a training group? Powhatan YMCA did a training group last fall for the Powhatan Village 5K.

Just a thought.
I have a history of promoting running to students. I don't know my schedule for that day. However, I'm interested in helping you prior to race day and possibly race day. Please email or message me with further information or plans.

Thanks. Good luck!
Daniel

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