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Need help from RDs (Read 156 times)

    Mike, Trent, some of  you other guys out there who have directed a race or two, I need a little help if you can spare it.  I made the somewhat questionable decision to step forward to be my sons'  HS XC team booster club president this year, and one of the ideas that has been batted around is for our booster club and team to create a road race as a fundraiser, with my ultimate hope being that we could start a scholarship fund.  After talking this over with our coach, he suggested maybe we target doing a 5k race the second weekend in November.

     

    So.... I'm really a bit lost on how to get started.  I will have a built in set of volunteers, 50 kids and some of their parents and brothers and sisters, and I have some knowledge of what race day should be like from my own experience as a runner, but beyond that I'm at a bit of a loss.  What should I focus on first?  Is this even a good idea?  Can this be pulled off in 5 months?

    - Joe

    all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

      Whenever you worry about 5 months think about the races others have pulled off in much less time. The race I ran in a few weeks back was pulled together in about 3 weeks to benefit victims of the Boston attacks.

        5 months, dozens of volunteers and years of experience with road races. You're way ahead of the game. I'd start with the location and designing a safe, fast, accurate course.

        Runners run.

          I was "volunteered" to be the RD for my daughter's elementary school.  I've run in a boatload of races but this is my first time as RD.  Here are my thoughts.

           

          1.  Decide on a course now.  Start getting the proper permits and arrangements for street closures if needed.  We're using a park but I made sure to book it already.  Be prepared to shift a bit if necessary.

           

          2.  Get a group of volunteers together.  I was asked to be the RD for this race and I said I'd do it but only if I had a group of folks helping me.  I am not going to go get all of the sponsors and all of the awards and all of the supplies and blah, blah, blah myself.  Beyond that, those other folks have come up with some great ideas I would never have considered.

           

          3.  Consider your balance.  The more bells and whistles you throw into the race, the more people will like it and talk about it and come back next year.  You want to make this a sustainable event that you can do on an annual basis.  Of course, the more bells and whistles you throw in, the more you'll spend on race expenses and the less you'll have left over for the reason you're holding the race in the first place.  Consciously think about how you want to balance those two things.

           

          4.  Design race registration and sponsorship forms now.  Ours are out and published for a race that is in October.  It's not that anyone has registered yet but the race is on the local running site calender as well as on Runners World, iplayoutside.com and a couple of other sites.

           

          5.  Allow people to make a donation if they don't want to run.  Some folks may want to support your group but don't feel like running a 5K.  We actually have the option on our form for folks to give us 15 bucks in exchange for a t-shirt.

           

          6.  Mentioning t-shirts, we're going to have a contest at the school to design the t-shirt.  We'll probably have a contest every year so that's something that will make this race unique.  Plus, it gets a lot of people invested in the race.

           

          7.  Consider a fun run.  Along with the 5K, we're doing an untimed 1K fun run for kids.  Registration fee is $10 and they get a t-shirt.  We won't make much money off kids doing the fun run but the title of our event is called "Fall Into Fitness" so this is a way to encourage kids to start being active.  Beyond that, parents might just sign up for the 5K if their kid is doing the fun run.

           

          8.  There are several sites that have checklists for RD's.  Just google them.  Not all of the stuff they talk about will apply to your race but it's good info.

           

          9.  Start the race at 8:00.  People are busy on Saturdays.  Get them in and out as quickly as you can.

           

          10.  Realize that things will go wrong.  Solicit feedback from everyone involved and make it better next year.

          Short term goal: 17:59 5K

          Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

          Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

            Guys, GREAT feedback.  Thank You!!  Mike and Chris it's good to know that this is something that is achievable in the timeframe & appreciate the very direct feedback from Mike and Love the Half that the next thing to do right away is to design the course.  Sometimes I get frozen on big projects by just not being sure what to prioritize.  This is very helpful.

             

            @Love the Half:  Thank you for the awesome list, sir!!

             

            Any more suggestions and help from anyone are highly welcome!

            - Joe

            all running goals are under review by the executive committee.


            Feeling the growl again

              Keep viewing the race through the eyes of the runners (as a runner yourself this should be easier).  One of the tripping points that I have seen for new RDs time and time again...especially at smaller charity races....is how to deal with the results.  As quoted above, people are busy on Saturdays and probably won't be happy waiting around for an hour for an inexperienced RD to figure out the placing and awards.

               

              Since you will likely not have fancy chip timing, make sure you think this through.

               

              Likely the slickest low-cost setup I have seen is run by my former HS coach.  When registered, each runner gets their name, sex, and age group written on a peel-off label.  This goes into a sandwich baggie, which is then pinned to their shirts.  This is a no-frills operation, no bibs!  You could also do this with the tear-off section at the bottom of some bibs but as I'll detail this makes things a bit harder.  When runners are in the chute a volunteer tells them to unpin their baggie and take out the label; another volunteer at the end of the chute takes the label (which has a hole punched in it) and threads it onto a coat hanger wire.

               

              When the race is over (or the wire is replaced by another, if you want to get an early start), the wire goes over to waiting poster boards and they start taking them off the other end.  Since they are already in order, one by one they are taken off and a volunteer quickly writes a place on the label before passing it off to another, who peels the label and sticks it up under the appropriate age group.  So overall placing and age group placing are easily accomplished.

               

              This won't work for very large races but for the typical 200-300 person community charity event, results can be done very quickly.

              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

               


              HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                Tear-off bibs are very often used in timing in just the way Spaniel describes -- I've actually never seen this done with baggies before.

                It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.


                Feeling the growl again

                  Tear-off bibs are very often used in timing in just the way Spaniel describes -- I've actually never seen this done with baggies before.

                   

                  I've seen the tear-offs taped up, and also the peel label stapled to the tear-off.

                  "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                   

                    A little more detail now that I'm not on my phone.

                     

                    Our race is in year 7 I think so it's pretty easy at this point. I am technically the RD but there are 5 of us on the race committee and each of us has a few jobs. I designed the course and have modified it a couple of times over the years due to construction but now it's settled so we don't have to worry about that.

                     

                    Now each year we have a meeting in April (for a July race) to go over the to-do list for that year's race. One of the guys is a project manager so he actually puts together a big spreadsheet of tasks with owners and due dates (myself and two other guys are salesguys and we think this is total overkill and we never look at the spreadsheet anyway.)

                     

                    Our big items by the end of April:

                    • Pick a date
                    • Update the website
                    • Set up online registration
                    • List on the online calendars (coolrunning, NSRRG, etc.)
                    • Set up social media
                    • Book the timing company
                    • Get the permit from the town for use of the park and roads. This costs us a whopping $24.

                    By the end of May:

                    • Finalize the roster of sponsors
                    • Open online Reg.

                    By mid June:

                    • Order awards
                    • Order t-shirts
                    • Book the rock wall
                    • Contact the town about Police Detail. We never end up paying for a detail, we just call to ask if they will have enough staff on that night to provide some traffic control for free. They tell us that the will have enough staff but if they get any emergency calls they will have to leave unless we pay for a detial. We always wind up risking it with the back up plan being that we have some people standing by as flag waivers. In 7 years the cops have never had to leave and usually we wind up with at least 2 cruisers working the 2 busiest intersections.

                    By the end of June:

                    • Order port-o-potties
                    • Re-confirm with all sponsors
                    • Recruit/re-confirm race-night volunteers
                    • Drive registration

                    There's a bunch of small stuff I left out, but you get the idea. All of the above is pretty easy and takes a minimum of time when divided among 5 people.

                     

                    90% of the actual work happens on the last few days and the afternoon of race night (our race is on a weeknight). Jobs include collecting money/schwag/etc from sponsors, buying race night supplies, marking the course, packing a few coolers with beer on ice and putting them along camp chairs in the trunks of our cars and getting them along with all the "suff" like signs, tables, AV equipment, barrels, water, extension cords, cones, etc. over to the park, putting out all the course signs, positioning volunteers, doing race-day registration, running around, etc. Phew. Yeah race week is a bit crazy, but also the fun part.

                     

                    We are in the somewhat weird position of not wanting the race to get too big. We've never had more than 250 register, and never more than 170 actually finish. If we ever get to 300 we will probably have to move the race to a different venue which none of us want to do. So we try to keep everything pretty low-key and casual--we don't try too hard to drive registration, and the fact that it's on a Thursday in July and there are about a million other races within 20 minutes of us on just about every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday that time of year helps.

                    Runners run.

                      A little more detail now that I'm not on my phone.

                       

                      Dude, you totally rock.  This is awesome help!!!

                       

                      MTA:  And thanks for the additional suggestions, spaniel and lovesdogs, too.

                      - Joe

                      all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                        Yeah as spaniel and AP point out, manual timing requires more people manning the finish chute and is prone to human error that can delay results. It's the one thing I worry about every year. We are batting 5 out of 6 in getting our results up and awards out in a timely manner but that 1 bad one was stressful. Even if you try to do tear-tags, some people will not hear the instructions and tear them off ahead of time and you'll always have human beings manually entering information as runners are finishing.

                         

                        So for the first time in our history the FORR 5k will be using chip timing ... I'm a little sad in that it chips away at the low-key and no-frills aspect of our race, but I am very relieved that timing/scoring/results will be totally done when the last runner crosses the finish line.

                        Runners run.

                          Yeah as spaniel and AP point out, manual timing requires more people manning the finish chute and is prone to human error that can delay results. It's the one thing I worry about every year. We are batting 5 out of 6 in getting our results up and awards out in a timely manner but that 1 bad one was stressful. Even if you try to do tear-tags, some people will not hear the instructions and tear them off ahead of time and you'll always have human beings manually entering information as runners are finishing.

                           

                          So for the first time in our history the FORR 5k will be using chip timing ... I'm a little sad in that it chips away at the low-key and no-frills aspect of our race, but I am very relieved that timing/scoring/results will be totally done when the last runner crosses the finish line.

                           

                          I completely agree with this. However, I'm always at a loss for words when races that are chip timed still take for ever to put together the awards. As an exmple, this past May there was a local "run for education" race which had over 1000 entries. It was the 2nd year, and chip timed both times.  Each year, we waited and waited for about 90 minutes after the last finisher for the results. By then, 75% of the people had left due to other commitments on a Saturday morning.

                           

                          Up until the awards that small local race was run as well as the big ones. However, what people will remember is "they messed up the awards."

                           

                          Just make sure the timing company has "back up" everything or be prepared for things to be worse with chip timing.

                            Just a thought. If the race is to support hs xc team, why not have a trail or xc race? Or is it too big for that?

                            "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


                            A Dance with Monkeys

                              All good stuff, I have little to add. Smile