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.

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.

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

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!

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