Social Media Pages

Social Media is your friend!  Facebook advertising is your BEST FRIEND when it comes to marketing your race.  Once your race website is ready to go and your registration is open, make sure to have a Facebook Page set up.  You can purchase Facebook ads to people in your area that are looking to run a 5K or just interested in fitness in general.

Distance-Is it 5 miles or 5K?

I was signing up for a 5K once and the race website said it was a 5 mile course but it was being marketed as a 5K.  I called the number on the form and the race director had no idea there was a difference….Don’t be that race director!

A 5K is 3.1 miles and a 5 mile race is, well, 5 miles.  That is a 1.9 mile difference with a couple more water stops and a lot more directional signs! #metricsystem


Budgeting is important in your race because your entire purpose (at least I hope!) is to make money for your organization.  Just like your “real life” personal budget, you have to spend less than you are bringing in.

A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 50% of your participation fee on race expense.  Preferably the amount should be less than 30% but it will depend on the number of participants.

For example, if you have 300 participants the $800 race timing fee is not as astronomical as if you were to only have 50 participants.  The more participants you have, the lower cost per participant will be. (Our eBook has a budget template for this).


Day of Your Race Setup

The day of the race is going to be busy for you.  You will have to set up the course with signs and water stops, greet and assign volunteers to their stations, set up the finish line, host packet pickup, greet vendors, etc.  Make sure you think of every possible scenario and thing you have to do that day so you won’t forget it.

For a specific breakdown of the day of the race set up, see our e-book.  We have a schedule that details a 15 minute timeline for the day-of the event so you won’t forget anything.

A Tale of Three Races

I know some people do not like to ask for donations, but it is necessary.  “What do I say?”  “What do I bring with me?”   “I feel like I am bugging them!”  These are common statements and questions that make people nervous about talking to potential sponsors.  Think about this, the worst they can say is no and if they say yes, you are good to go!  (If you want to know more on this subject, our e-book has tips on talking to potential sponsors and also a sponsorship packet to bring with you)


Let’s look at the numbers of having sponsors vs not having sponsors.  Both of these examples have 100 registrants and $500 in expenses.

With sponsors:

100 registrations x $25 each=$2500

$2,000 in sponsorships

$500 expenses

Total money raised:  $4,000


Without sponsors:

100 registrations x $25 each=$2500

$500 expenses

Total money raised:  $2000


What could your organization do with $2,000 (or more, depending on how much you raise)?

Items to Sell at Your Race

Do you have old race t-shirts or old organization t-shirts that are just sitting in storage?  The race is a great place to sell old shirts and promo items that you have lying around.  Most often these items are sold at a discount (but still at a profit) so you can move them quickly.  It is worth it to take a slight cut in the profits but still move the inventory because they are sitting there anyway, not making any money and you have a built in audience that loves your organization.

Or you can create a special edition shirt that is sold at that event-like tie dye.

You can also sell additional current year race t-shirts for people who would want them.

Should Volunteers Have a Different Shirt Than Participants?

Volunteers and Race Committee members often have different color shirts or at least “volunteer” on the back of the shirt so someone will know who to ask questions to.  Adding a different color shirt will increase the budget slightly (unless the cost of the volunteer shirt is hugely significant) but it will be worth it to stand out and be able to answer questions quickly.

At one of the races I planned the participants had one shirts (it was a color run) and the volunteers had a two color (purple and lime green-the colors of the organization) tie dye look….they were awesome and everyone wanted to buy one!

Which is Better? Create a Course or Use a Pre-Made One?

Courses are really important in setting up your race.  You should always try and get an “exclusive” or super cool area for your race.  People have been there and done that through parks and other routes, make yours unique.

But sometimes, it’s hard to be creative enough to create your own course and a pre-made one is the way to go.  You can go to the USA Track and Field website and type in your area and (hopefully-depending on how rural your area is) a few routes will pop up.  Sometimes only a few routes are on there or they are longer/shorter than you race.  Just use that as starting point on creating your own route.

Races do not have to be certified by the USA Track and Field; some people like to race those races because they are certified to be the accurate distance.  Rates for certifying the course are anywhere from $50-150 per kilometer and courses expire after 10 years expire.

The answer to “Which is Better? Create a Course or Use a Pre-Made One?” is really up to you!  There is not right or wrong answer.

Road Closures-Cones

If you route is partially or fully on a street, you will need orange cones or some other way to block traffic.  You can hire a police officer for your event and they can guide you to where you need to add cones.  Be sure to include this in your race budget.


If you have ever ran a race you know that running makes you go.  Yes, it does and you need to prepare for that when planning your start/finish line.  Does you start/finish line have restrooms nearby that you can use? For the most part, parks usually have access to restrooms but sometimes they don’t.  A local business or school that is nearby might allow your participants to use their facilities (this needs to be super close and you need to get permission, in writing, first).

If there isn’t anything nearby, consider renting porta-potties.  Yes, they are gross but they might be your only option.  Google “your city and porta-potties” and call to see who has the most competitive rates.  Usually you should get at least two porta-potties but that depends on your participant numbers.  Obviously two porta-potties will not work for 200 people but you can talk to your porta-potty salesperson and they will guide you to the number that will work for you.

Remember that the porta-potty industry is a sales oriented business and they are out to make money on your rental.  That is something to keep in mind when reviewing the quotes and prices that they send you.

Be sure to include this in your race budget.

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