Having an Emcee

Every race needs someone to host the event.  The race director might be willing to do it (or not), but they might be too busy putting out race day fires.  There needs to be someone assigned to the microphone so they can give announcements, congratulate runners as they come across the finish line, yell “start”, etc.


We always have someone who is willing to be the emcee of the event that knows how to liven up the crowd and tell jokes.  You don’t want a “boring” person up there saying “umm, I guess you can start now.”   NO!!!  YOu want someone to do a countdown dance and get the crowd PUMPED!  “3, 2, 1 GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”


We all know that someone, recruit them to help!  Offer them a free t-shirt, a banana, and a braided BFF bracelet and I bet you they will say yes.


The announcer will also give announcements that need to be made such as

-5 minutes to race time

-We have extra shirts for sale for $X.

-Whoever is in a blue creeper mini van, license plate XX2233, please move it away from the sidewalk.

-Thank you to our sponsors

-3, 2, 1 Go.

-Great Job runners!

-Don’t forget to buy raffle tickets for $5

-Race starts in 15 minutes

-Etc.  Whatever needs to be said (make sure they have a walkie talkie or cell phone that they can get new announcements from)


Even though you will have an Emcee present, it is important that the race committee/race director be there to make a personal announcement thanking everyone from participating, the sponsors and the volunteers.  The race director also needs to thank each race committee director for their help.

Trophies or Race Medals

Oh, that elusive Top Finisher Prize.

How I would love to get one personally, but I run slow.

Anywayyyyyyy….What should you give the top runners for finishing ahead of everyone else?  It depends on your budget but typical race “Top 3” get some sort of prize.


Some suggestions:  Trophies, Medals, Plaques, Beer Steins, Belt Buckles

Go to a local trophy shop and see what they recommend.  Our races started off with race medals from a local shop but then we went online to an Etsy store and had custom wooden ornaments made in the shape of Texas.


Just make sure the race name, date, race category, and placement are all on the award.


Race Categories:  You can do it by age (every 5-10 years), top Female/Male, Under 18, Under 10, Clydesdale (usually for triathlons).

How many in each category:  It depends on how big your race is.  If your race is 100 people, the Top 3 will be fine, but if there are 500+, you might want to consider doing the top 5 (or more).


Keep in mind that you may not have every category filled by race day, but you might get last minute registrations where you need to have all of the awards ready.


Be sure to get the awards in your hands within 2 weeks of race day.  Never tell them you don’t need them until X date in case something goes wrong.  If they lose them, mess them up, they get lost in shipment, one of them breaks, etc, you will have plenty of time to replace it.

Balancing “Race Bling” With Not Breaking The Bank

Race bling is what you get in your goodie bag for signing up for the race.  Race bling can be t-shirts, socks, hats, coupons, free logo’d stuff like pens from sponsors, finishers medals, etc.    You must be budget conscience to keep costs low, but still give your participants the value for what they paid for.  T-shirts are almost always required at races, so be sure to include those in your budget calculations.  You can always negotiate the prices for most of your items that you are given away.

A lot of times your race sponsors will want to put items in your goodie bags as part of their sponsorship.  They can add pens or another item that has their logo on it or even a coupon to their establishment.

Remember that every item that you purchase comes directly from the profits of the race.  Yes, the item is ‘just $1’ but if you have 200 participants, that’s $200 you can give to your organization.  What could the organization do with that money?  For your first few years, a t-shirt will work fine for your race bling, in addition to anything else you can get donated.

Designing Your Race Logo

One of the questions we get often is how do I make a design for my t-shirts and signage?  That is a great question because it is one of the factors in determining whether someone runs a race or not.  “Race Bling” can help or hurt you when you advertise on social media or your own website.

First, decide what your theme is and choose your colors/graphics based on that.

Say your theme is a color run, so then perhaps it could have paint splatters on it or something else with wild colors, maybe even tie-dye!

Is your race during the holidays?  Perhaps red or green (Christmas) or blue (Hanukkah) could be incorporated into the logo.  Santa, reindeer or a snow globe are always great additions to holiday themed events.

A 4th of July event?  Red, white and blue with fire crackers!

Thanksgiving or Halloween?  Fall colors, pumpkins, ghosts, hay stacks, scarecrows, cornucopias, feasts!

Or maybe your event doesn’t have a theme and you want to use your organization’s logo and add a twist to it.  Make sure you get approval from the organization’s management first.

Now that you have brainstormed some ideas for your event logo, it’s time to find a designer.  A lot of designers like to have some sort of idea what you are looking for in a logo so they won’t have to go back to the drawing board each time you veto an item.  Give them an idea or multiple ideas and let their imagination run wild.

Who will make your logo?  Try these ideas!

  • For specific vendors we recommend go to our RESOURCES page
  • The t-shirt company you are using (usually a fee per hour)
  • A friend or relative
  • A volunteer that is part of your organization (or one of their friends/relatives)
  • com has graphic designers who get paid $5 per project and can design something for you. (Keep in mind that the more revision you make to the design, the more it will cost-just be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully)

Marking the Course

How will you mark your course?  Signs?  Chalk?  People?  Signs are really the way to go in my opinion.  They might be a higher cost at first, but they will pay for themselves over time.  You don’t want your first runner to get lost and then everyone else will get lost.  Each turn needs to be marked with a sign and on a long stretch, that needs to have a marker too.

Go through your route on foot and mark each place you will need a sign.  At the end, calculate the number of arrows you will need and purchase signs for them.  You do not have to get super fancy with your signs, you can make them with poster board and a stake.  However, if you get the type that people have in their yard, you can change the arrows yourself and have them look really professional.

There are places where you can get stickers with arrows to place on the ground, but those can be easily missed.  For the ‘tricky’ areas of your course, consider having someone pointing the direction.

Also, if your route goes across a street, who will be there to stop traffic?  Be sure to have a police officer stopping traffic for busy intersections.  Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry.  You don’t want your organization to be sued because someone got hit by a car.

Finish Line Food

Who’s hungry?  Some races provide bananas, granola bars, oranges, etc. at the finish line for all participants.  This is not required but it is a nice gesture for everyone that just helped you raise money for your cause by sweatin’ it out on your course.

If you decide to provide food, the most important ‘food’ to have is water.  You can provide water in individual water bottles or big 5-10 gallon water jugs with cups.  After a 5K or longer distance race, rehydrating is crucial for participant safety.

After you take care of water, you can go on to the other food.  Consider asking a local grocery store or restaurant to provide you with some fruit in exchange for a sponsorship.  A lot of times vendors like to provide goods or services (gifts in kind) instead of a monetary donation.  This might not help with fundraising, but it does help the budget by you not having to provide those items yourself.  It also helps participant moral because who doesn’t love a race with lots of swag?!

Water at the Finish Line

Water is crucial to any exercise program, and especially so at racing events where a lot of times the participants signed up (sometimes) more to help raise money for the organization rather than to run the actual race.  (Sometimes) the participants aren’t always in ‘racing shape’ so they are in need of constant hydration.  Even if they are used to running, it’s a necessity to provide water at the finish line due to other factors like weather and temperature.

You can provide individual water bottles (see if you can get them donated before purchasing) or purchase (borrow) big 10 gallon jugs and fill them with ice water and provide cups to drink.  If you purchase the gallon jugs you can reuse them year after year or at other fundraising events in the future.  Using the gallon jugs creates less waste than individual water bottles.

Gifts in Kind

Gifts in Kind are a great addition to your sponsor packet (want to see a specific sponsor packet?  Purchase our e-book for tons of info).  A lot of times a vendor would rather give out an item instead of cash, especially a first time race.  For example, a restaurant might not want to give you $500 but they will give you $500 worth of bananas for your finish line food.  This is a win-win for them because they can help you with an item you would have bought but they get it at a fraction of the cost because they get a discount from their supplier.

More examples of gifts in kind:  raffle prizes, water bottles, 10+ gallon water jugs, t-shirts, door prizes, fruit, etc.

What is the average number of first year participants?

An average first year race will depend on several factors: the time of year, the theme, the weather, marketing, geographical area and more.


If you are a small organization, perhaps shoot for a goal of 200.  If you are a larger organization whit a ton of contacts, perhaps 500-1,000.


Our organization is on the smaller side and we had about 135-150 each year attend, but our goal was always 200.

Finding Race Volunteers

Volunteers are important to your race because it takes an army!  You and your race committee (if applicable) will be running around setting up things up but you will need help.

Here are some places to look for volunteers:

  • Your groups emails list (list of supporters already)
  • Your personal friends
  • Middle/High school organizations (sign a volunteer hour slip so they can get credit)
  • Social media posts
  • Local Running Clubs
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