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.

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

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.

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