July 25, 2017

What makes a great running event?

I have run hundreds of races and there are some great ones and not so great ones. So what makes for a great race? Here are my ten pointers.

Organising running races

  • Have plenty of loos – queuing for four toilets is timewasting, smelly and annoying. It’s more annoying when you get there and there is no loo roll.
  • Have enough drink stations. Seriously race organisers listen up. Waiting 5km for a cup of water on a 35 degree day is not good enough.
  • Don’t start too many people at once – either start in waves or restrict it based on the funnel of the start. People falling over each other is not a good look.
  • Have showbags – people love show bags and suppliers love supporting these things. It’s a win win.
  • Have a medal. Not enough runs now give out medals; it is a sense of achievement so please give us a medal no matter how crappy it is.
  • Make a clear exit route at the end so knackered people know where to go and what to do; by that point you are slightly delirious so it needs to be easy. The Mother’s Day Classic do a great job of this.
  • Bag drop off. Offer it and make it easy to drop off and pick up. Put all bags in sections and get one person to man each section, e.g. 1-200, 201-400. Sound simple? That is because it is; but it is amazing how many organisers get it so wrong.
  • Have chip timing – you’ll get the serious runners entering and everyone likes to download a certificate with their time on.
  • Offer clear instructions on the course, chip timing, results, bag drop off etc. online and in a leaflet sent out to participants.
  • Plan the course so it is traffic free, iconic (that will get people wanting to run it), easy for spectators to access and not too hilly.

I could keep going on but I need to restrict this to ten. Any other thoughts on what other people think makes a great race or any recommended races out there?