12 Pieces of Advice from 12 Event Directors

lucy-advice-boothEveryone loves inspirational quotes. Just take a look at all of the motivational or clever sayings floating around Facebook and Pinterest, or hanging up in your friends’ homes! We love a good quote too, so we wanted to offer our readers some words of wisdom from people they can relate to.

Here are 12 quotes from our 2013 Event Directors of the Month, offering pieces of advice and new ideas you might want to try:


Sam Fiandaca, Brazen Racing:
“Keep the course simple—avoid backtracking, turns and two-way traffic. And overprepare, especially for your first event. Get extra volunteers, t-shirts and medals; interview seasoned event directors to make sure you’re thinking of all details; plan to overspend a little to give participants a great experience.”

Gary Jenkins, Pacesetter’s P.R.
“Do whatever it takes to get people registered. Anything that gets one more runner signed up will save you time and make your life easier.”

Scot Harris, Rocky Mountain Events
“Our passion has always been cycling and every single one of our events has started with an original idea for the market. We watch what’s going on in the industry and I even quiz my riding buddies on what would make our events better, which has helped us improve and grow.”

John Korff, Korff Enterprises, Inc.
“Your event cannot be more fun than you, the organizer, are personally capable of having. Your event can’t be more creative that you are. If you know you’re more logistical than creative, surround yourself with creative, fun people. My ideal person to hire wouldn’t have a business degree, it would be the social coordinator from a sorority at the University of Alabama.”

Bob & Lenore Dolphin, Yakima River Canyon Marathon
“There are three things we use as guidelines for our marathon: keep it simple, smile a lot (so many mini-crises happen and you never know when they’ll hit, so just smile), and be nice to the volunteers.”

Jack Staph, Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon
“The first thing is that you need a checklist. The more details you add to that checklist, the better it works. It’s a matter of task management and making sure things are done on time and in the right way. We run the event like it’s a business, because that’s exactly what it is. The second aspect is to think of your race as a customer service organization, because that’s basically what it is…a consumer is paying for a service.”

Phil Lang, Bullseye Running
“I think our country’s health issues have really encouraged people to become more active…but the odd thing is that it’s mostly a culture shift for adults. I find the youth are not quite having the same experience and opportunity…technology is making kids sedentary. The good news is that adults are starting to move and be more active, they’re pulling their kids along with them. Almost all of my events are family oriented and include special opportunities for the kids.”

Dan Hill, Electric Run
“Having logistical experience and connections helps us move fast when expanding to new cities, requesting permits, etc. On top of that, social media really gets the word out about events, much faster that we used to be able to. We’ve created something that is very visually engaging and people “like” it and share it with their friends.”

Andrea Dowdy, Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon
“Last year we introduced a 15-person ambassador program. The ambassadors came from all levels of experience—some were great runners, some weren’t—but they all were on social media talking about the race. We had our largest growth in numbers ever for 2013, and I think the ambassador program was a huge factor.”

Nathan Barnhart, Cerulean Sports Group
“We bring in key personnel for each event, and many of our events are powered on volunteers. For example, we get help from non-profit volunteer groups like sports and club teams and in exchange we donate to their cause.This works really well for both parties.”

Dave Ballard & Ryan Cook, 5K Foam Fest:
“Our philosophy is to focus on the obstacles and make them different or people won’t come back. As fun as the race is, people want to experience a whole new level the next time they participate.”

Robert Pozo, Continental Event & Sports Management:
“Really get to know your product—don’t think because you love it, everyone else will. Figure out what makes it special and different, and market it that way.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Comment below to share it and we’ll post it on our Facebook page too!