How to Plan a Race

Helpful Tips for Planning a Road Race

  1. Set a date for the race, allowing 9-12 months for the planning of the race.
  2. Visit for an in-depth checklist of all of the things needed to establish a race.
  3. Contact a timing/event management company to assist in race day logistics.  Some local companies include:
    • Create a course for the race and get the course USATF certified.  The timing company that you choose can assist you with the course certification.
      • USA Track & Field:
      • Contact the law enforcement agency in your community in order to get the course and date approved.  The agency will inform you as to how much support you will need from their officers.
      • Avoid main roads when creating the race course because the agency generally will not close main roads.
      • You must obtain race day insurance for the race.  The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is the best organization to contact for insurance.
      • RRCA:
      • Sponsorships are helpful in order to offset costs incurred.  Contact local businesses about the possibility of the business sponsoring the race.  Include the cost and benefits of sponsoring the race.
      • Some businesses will be willing to sponsor financially, while others will make an in-kind donation to the event.
      • Acquire plenty of volunteers to assist you before, during and after the race.
      • Pre-race/Registration/Expo Volunteers
      • Start/Finish Line Volunteers
      • Course monitors
      • Post-race Volunteers
      • Publicity for the event
      • Create a website devoted entirely to the race
      • Decide whether to use online and/or paper registration for the event. 
  4. Print brochures and entry blanks for the race
  5. Add race to online race calendars:
  6. Contact local media outlets for airtime (TV, Radio, etc.)
  7. Attend other local races to publicize the event
  8. Other things to think about:
    • Race t-shirts
    • Location for Packet Pickup
    • Awards for overall and age group winners
      • How many awards will you give out?
  9. How will you break down the age groups?
  10. Race Packets
  11. Bib Numbers:
  12. Start/Finish Line: Have plenty of water, sports drinks, fruit, bagels, etc.
  13. The most important people in a successful race are the participants.
    • Give the participants a great experience
    • Make sure the event is timely and well-organized
    • Collaborate with other events/organizations to increase participation (i.e. local festivals, etc.)
    • Information to be included in a race brochure
      • Name of Race
      • Date of Race
      • Time of Race
      • Race Location
      • Race Website
      • Course Certification Number (if applicable)
      • Entry Fees and Registration Deadlines
      • Award Categories
      • Packet Pick Up Location and Time
      • Sponsors/Logos
      • Entry Blank including participant’s name, age, date of birth, gender, address, phone number, email address, emergency contact and phone, shirt size, race category entered, waiver and signature line;
      • Estimated budget for starting a road race:
        • Timing: $750-$3000 depending on the number of participants
        • Police: varies depending on course and distance; average cost of $25/officer
        • T-Shirts: approximately $4 per shirt (cotton) and $9 per shirt (technical); these costs include screening
        • Water/Food: obtain these items through a donation or sponsorship if possible
        • Race bibs: $20 for 100 bib numbers through Rainbow Racing (
        • Insurance: varies depending on the number of participants
        • Finishers Medals/Prizes for winners: varies depending on number ordered
        • Fleet Feet Sports Murfreesboro is not a race management company and, therefore, does not assist in organizing races, but the information and resources included in this document should answer most questions about starting a local race.

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