What makes a successful race? It takes a race director and team committed to providing an incredible, safe, and consistent experience to its runners.
This past weekend, a six-year-old boy ran all 26.2 miles of the Flying Pig Marathon, with the permission and support of the race director. It got me thinking about the priorities of people in the role and how those people can make races successful.
Provide Clear and Frequent Communication
A successful race stars with clear and frequent communication. From the moment registration is complete, race directors should make every effort to update their athletes on all aspects of the race via several, predetermined methods. Email, race websites, and social media outlets are great examples. Directions for things like packet pickups, race procedures, and even event changes should be relayed quickly and concisely.
Access To Straightforward Policies And Procedures
Both the registration page and race website should clearly list out race policies and procedures. This includes things like age and pace restrictions, awards breakdowns, and information on refunds, deferrals and transfers. Transparency goes a long way towards good will, as does across-the-board adherence to those outlined rules.
Deliver On Promises
If a race promises t-shirts and medals to all finishers, hydration every mile, and a rocking after-party, it’s up to the race director to deliver. Sure, it can be difficult to predict numbers, especially if the race allows for day-of registration, but that’s part of the gig. If you promise a USTA certified course, then it should be nothing less. mElites and walkers both deserve the same access to course support and amenities within the posted time allotment, and it’s imperative that access is upheld. Don’t skimp out on supplies last minutes, and don’t promise things that won’t materialize. Period.
Be Responsive And Forthcoming
Even if things are in chaos, be available for questions, complaints, and venting. Most people just want to be heard and acknowledged, and race directors who ignore their athletes are just adding to the mess.
Have The Right Attitude
When the race director has the right attitude, a successful race is almost guaranteed. Those vibes travel to other staff members, volunteers, and eventually, participants. A bad attitude at the top can sour it all. Even if things aren’t going according to plan, a professional and positive demeanor, can save the day. Everyone wins!
Do you have anything to add to the list?
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