Organize your own Race

Below you will find some suggestions on how to become a successful race director.

What to do before the race:

  • Choose a name — Come up with an appropriate name for your event. One that is related to some local highlight or historical aspect of the area is always a good.
  • Select a course — Choose one or more courses for your event in order to offer different distances for participants of all levels. Measure each course accurately. Make sure to avoid the dangerous spots along the course and include warning signs for the unavoidable ones. Marking each mile or kilometer will leave the participants with an impression of a well organized race and be appreciated during the event.
  • Plan a budget — Plan the budget of your race. Your expenses should include: administrative costs, advertising (flyers, posters, race results booklets), banners for the start and finish, megaphone, digital clock for the finish line, bib numbers for participants, safety pins, food and beverages for the refreshment area and finish area, paper cups, paint for marking the course, trash cans, awards for the participants, and thank you gifts for volunteers.
  • Obtain authorizations — You may have to obtain an authorization from police and other traffic authorities.
  • Manage volunteering — You will need volunteers for all aspects of the race: registration process, aid stations, traffic patrolling along the course, and awards distribution. Volunteers should wear the same T-Shirt or uniform to easily identify them. They should also be in contact via or cell phones.
  • Prepare a flyer (and website if possible) — Making a flyer is one of the important tasks. It is a key for a successful race. Make sure that all of this information is written on the flyer: name of the event, date of the event, location of start and finish, directions on how to get there, starting time, course distance and a description as accurate as possible (a course map with elevation is the best), entry fee and registration deadline, awards (for each participant and for age group winners), race contact information (address, telephone, fax, e-mail, website of the organizing committee), and sponsors.
  • Determine how you will do pre-race registration — Many races do their registration on line and there are many companies who can do this for you. You can find companies on line. You can also do registration on paper, having participants mail their entries to you, or do a hybrid of on-line registration along with paper registration for runners who prefer that method.
  • Insure medical coverage — Notify local hospital about the upcoming event. Have ambulances on site for emergencies.
  • Obtain insurance coverage — Make sure to obtain insurance coverage for you event, and take into consideration the worst-case scenarios. The YRRC suggests you apply for insurance with USA Track and Field (USATF). A requirement of USATF is to have medical personnel on hand for the race. This could be an EMT, Paramedic or Ambulance and Crew.
  • Send press releases — Send a press release to the local papers and running related periodicals.
  • Buy awards — Have awards and prizes ready as soon as possible. In order to please more people you might consider limiting the cost for the premier awards, and allow for participation awards of lesser cost to be available for a certain number of arrivals.
  • Buy race numbers — Purchase the race numbers early, and it is always better to order more than the number of runners expected. Make sure to have plenty of safety pins for participants to pin the number on themselves.
  • Find sponsors — Local groups and businesses are good to contact for sponsorship. Delegate the task to more than one person.

What to do the day of the race:

  • Be there early — Runners tend to be at the starting point hours before the start, so it is essential that the organization be there even earlier and have the registration table ready to welcome them. The main organizer should wear something that stands out in color or design to be easily recognized.
  • Check that everything is working and in place — Check that all the electrical appliances, lights, computers, and digital clock are working, and that the banners, signs, refreshment stops, garbage cans and volunteers are in place.
  • Do not run the race yourself — A race director must be available to troubleshoot and lead the other race officials and volunteers. Have a volunteer(s) participate in the race to observe and submit feedback for the next edition.

What to do after the race:

  • Remember to clean — All areas of the race should be cleaned after the event.
  • Send press releases — Send press releases with photographs to the local papers and running-related periodicals.
  • Send results — Send results to participants along with a thank you note, and post results on line if possible.
  • Send thank you notes — Send thank you notes to volunteers, sponsors, authorities and anyone who helped set up your running event.
  • Prepare for next year — Take good notes of the problems encountered and document positive and negative feedback for next year’s edition.

York Road Runners Club Timing & Equipment Services

The York Road Runners Club (YRRC) works with race directors to provide trained operators, timing equipment and race-day equipment. In addition to timing services, race-day equipment can be rented and includes cones, results boards, megaphone, finish line chutes, etc. Please keep reading for details on these services.

To request timing services and to add your race to our race search you must enter your race into our website. You will need to create an account with our website in order to enter your race. For additional information, please contact Karen Mitchell at runnerkmitchell@yahoo.com as far in advance as possible.

YRRC Manual Timing

YRRC rents timing equipment and an operator, which includes a large display clock, a time machine, and an experienced operator. This is an electronic/manual system. Using the time machine, the operator will provide the race with a readout (similar to an adding machine tape) of the runners’ place and time as they cross the finish line, as well as most bib numbers to the extent possible. (When several runners cross the finish line at the same time, it is impossible to capture each runner’s number.) The race’s officials or volunteers will be responsible to calculate the results by using the paper readout provided by the YRRC timer in conjunction with the bib tear-aways. The race director is encouraged to designate a race volunteer to keep a “tic sheet” at the finish line (simply a list, in order, of the finisher bib numbers). The fee is $125 for in-county races and $160 for out-of-county races. This method is not recommended for shorter-distance races with 500 or more participants (5Ks, for example).

Race-Day Equipment

YRRC rents race-day equipment such as cones, results boards, megaphone, finish line chutes, mile markers, etc. The equipment is stored at Storage Sense 1123 North George Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues) in North York. The race director must arrange to pick up and return the equipment. Equipment pick-up is available on Friday evenings only. The fee for equipment is $75 for in-county rental and $100 for out-of-county rental. Please contact Margaret Moore at mgmrun@verizon.net to arrange for pick up.