Timeline for Directing a Trail Running Race

Here’s a great takeaways from today’s trail race director session at the Trail Running Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Written by Nancy Hobbs, Executive Director, ATRA.

A Recommended Timeline for Directing a Trail Running Race:

At least 12 months before
– Make a mental commitment to do it
– Select a site
– Select a distance
– Select a race name
– Select date and time, check calendar (other running event calendars in your region) to avoid conflicts
– Get written permission to use land and facilities/apply for all necessary permits
– Prepare a preliminary budget for the event
– Prepare a preliminary duty roster for key positions within the organization
– Measure courses
– Secure website & create social media accounts
– Open checking account for all transactions related to event (incoming registrations, outgoing bills)

At least 6-12 months before
– Obtain insurance and additional insured certificate for agencies requiring one
– Begin mailings to periodical calendars (magazines, chamber of commerce/visitor bureau) and advance publicity/press release
– Prepare your race entry form and make a list of distribution centers
– Contact web form service to have your entry form available on-line
– Set up a schedule for meetings, monthly to begin with and more frequent as event nears
– Identify potential sponsors (in kind and cash), then approach and secure sponsors
– Get commitment for help for key positions (timing, results, aid, etc.) and assign tasks to a per-son
– start processing entries received

At least 6 months before
– Order or obtain source for supplies (numbers, pins, cups, etc.). Some supplies may be in-kind donations
– Confirm sources for and order special equipment
– Safety – walkie talkies, cell phones, ambulance, search and rescue teams
– Comfort – portable toilets (rule of thumb is 1:100 runners in large events; 1:50 in smaller events)
– Course – flagging/flour; snow groomer; tape
– Awards – bibs, T-shirts, prizes, random prizes
– Have an organizational meeting with key players and produce a listing of all contacts with phone, fax, email, address. Distribute list to all on committee

At least 1-4 months before
– Finalize key volunteer positions
– Set event specifics (exact route, fee, etc.)
– Continue entry form distribution
– Send out press release
– Organizational meetings as necessary

2-4 Weeks before:
– Make follow up phone calls to media (those you sent press materials to)
– Have equipment, prizes, supplies on hand – be sure to inventory what you have and test all equipment for working order
– Remind key volunteers of their duties (provide them with a check list) and give them additional written instructions and/or meet with people to go over the plan
– Notify local emergency agencies (fire, ambulance, etc. of event and route)

1 week before
– Inspect route, modify if required (weather, terrain/erosion)
– Process pre- registrants
– Assemble event packets

Final week:
– Continue entry processing
– Assemble all supplies
– Tie up loose ends

Day Before
– Mark route, inspect area
– Hold pre-race meeting if one has been scheduled for competitors (make this decision early on)

Day Of Race:
– Make sure all volunteers are in place and put up banners, start/finish line
– Inspect ALL course markings prior to the competitors starting out on course
– Make preliminary race announcements
– Start the race
– Clean and sweep route, following last competitor in
– Stage awards ceremony
– Get press release with results to media ASAP by fax, email

Day After
– Remove rest of course markings, cleaning and repairing traces of event
– Work on more media connections, tie up loose ends

Two days after your race:

Week after
– Hold wrap-up meeting with volunteers and officials – encourage feedback and criticism and how event can be better next year
– Mail thank you letters to sponsors, helpers, others
– Store and return necessary equipment
– Get results to participants
– Write down ideas for next year and start working on them!

For more information about the US Trail Running Conference click here.