Marathon planning seems intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Constructing an organized, step-by-step plan of action will make the whole process much easier. Creating a timeline for each individual detail ensures that nothing will be overlooked. Read on for a little guidance before organizing your next event.
First and foremost, decide on the date, distance, and location of your marathon. Picking a date at least 6 months ahead of your race gives you and your team plenty of planning time. Remember to choose a day that isn’t packed with other local events; you don’t want any competition. Get on Google and search event directories like Active.com to see master calendars of what’s going on when.
Designate a manageable race distance. If it’s your first time planning an event of this caliber, a half marathon may be a great way to get your feet wet. You can always extend the distance next year for more of a challenge. Keep in mind that there is quite a bit of difference between a full and a half marathon in regards to the number of vendors and volunteers you’ll need, as well as your budget. Plus, your race course will be twice as long and will need twice as much planning!
What can make or break your race event planning? Location, location, location. Locals and participants traveling from far distances should have easy access to your event. There should be an adequate amount of hotels and parking near the race course, and being in close proximity to public transportation is also a plus. Safety is an integral factor when determining race location. Your course should have space for water stations, port-o-johns and medical tents to ensure the health of the runners.
Now that your marathon has a date and location, it is time to start thinking about dollars and cents. Determine your budget and create a master “shopping” list with the resources and supplies you’ll need toplan a race. Do some online research to assign costs to each item on your list and match it up with your budget. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the bottom line.
Also high at the top of your priorities should be getting permission for your event. Contact city officials to learn how to properly obtain approval for your race. You may need to pay for your permit- remember to include this in your budget. Approval from law enforcement may also be required. Do not wait until the last minute to seek permission for your event, as it may take several weeks for your permits to be issued.
Booking vendors is another important feature of your preparation. The number of vendors depends on your race size, but generally includes: online registration software, chip timing tools, and food, water, and merchandise stations. You’ll also need to ensure that you have medical personnel on hand in case of any emergencies.
It’s time to recruit sponsors, volunteers, and course monitors. This is also the point in the preparation process to start advertising your marathon. Try partnering with local businesses for donations and sponsorship; many small businesses are always looking for new, inventive opportunities to promote their company or trade. A basic, tangible marketing tool is flyers. Remember to include your race’s time, date, location, contact information, and ask for volunteers.
Online marketing is bigger and better than ever. It’s an efficient way to reach your target audience while also saving you time and money. Creating an event website that has all of the information the public and participants need is crucial. Your site should provide a link for easy online registration and social media sites. Email blasts are another quick way to reach out to potential participants, and can be achieved easily with the help of marathon planning software.
Once you have all the details planned and sorted, it’s just a matter of execution. Follow your plan, check your lists and stick to your budget. After the big day, don’t forget to thank everyone involved in your marathon. This includes participants, sponsors, vendors, and volunteers. The key to a great event is being well organized and if you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to run a successful event!