It’s always a bittersweet moment: the finish line is crossed, the medals are handed out, and the race is over. Your work, however, is not. Add these ten tasks to your race director checklist for an efficient post-race wrap-up and an even more successful event next time!
1. Mission Cleanup
Cleaning up after a race can be overwhelming, so establish a game plan ahead of time. You’ll want to make sure your entire race area is clean from start to finish, including any tents or buildings you’ve been using. If you brought it, pack it! Collect all trash, race items like cones and signage, and any other materials lying around like extra bibs, forms, and race merchandise. For leftover food and drink, give it to your team for a post-race snack or donate it to a local food bank. At the end of the day, the area should look just as it did when you arrived, or better.
2. Post results ASAP!
And when we say A-S-A-P, we mean it! Your participants will immediately want to know how they did and how they compare to everyone else. Share athlete updates and on-site results, post results on your website, share them on social media, and send out an email to participants. You’ll want the results to be as readily accessible as possible. Results are a great way to increase exposure to your race because athletes love sharing their race results with friends and family.
3. Send out a press release to local media
Yep, you can promote a race even when it’s over! Write up a press release (click here to see how) and send it out to a few local reporters. Be sure to include all the juicy details, including how many finishers there were, any human interest stories, and, if applicable, how much money was raised. Just be sure to research reporters first to avoid spamming them with content they won’t care about. Personalize your communications to each individual you reach out to so they don’t feel like just a number.
4. Say, “Thank You”
You’re probably pretty great at your job, but you couldn’t do it alone. Thank the people who helped make it happen! This includes your event sponsors, volunteers, caterers, key staff members, and municipality workers who helped with all those pesky permits. A handwritten note is best, of course, but a personalized email will do in a pinch. Just be sure to show your appreciation! They won’t forget it next year when you come around asking for help again.
And don’t forget your participants. Find ways to make your athletes feel special and thank them, too.
5. Get feedback
You’ll want to hear from your race participants on what you could improve on for next time. Use a free survey service such as SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics. An ideal survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete (or let’s be honest, no one will do it). You’ll want to measure how satisfied they were with different aspects of the race (“On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied were you with the online registration process?”) and also give them some room to provide comments of their own. This is a step not everyone is taking and will go a long way in your race planning for next year.
6. Share stories!
In addition to feedback, ask your race participants to share their stories with you! Encourage them to share photos, videos, and stories on social media with a unique hashtag that you create and share in all of your communications with them. This hashtag will allow you to search for participants’ posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Then you can like, comment, and repost your favorites! You can also interact and respond to posts, building engagement between you and your participants before, during and after your race.
7. Meet with your team
Hold a debrief meeting with your race committee, staff, and volunteers to focus on what went well and what could have been done better. Don’t just focus on race day, but on the entire event as a whole. Brainstorm solutions to where you hit snags in the process.
8. Write a Post-Race Report
This is where the feedback from your team and participants will come into play. Organize your report to include feedback and recommendations, what your goals were and if you met them, your promotional strategy and its success, and ideas for next year. You’ll want to forward this report to your race committee and staff to use as a reference in future race planning.
9. Keep going!
It can take a while for the runner’s high to wear off. Encourage your participants to register for your next event while the excitement is still fresh! Offer race registration discounts for people who register that day for your next event. We’ve seen great success with this tactic. And if you offer registration refund insurance, there’s no excuse for athletes NOT to sign up early!
You’ve completed your post-race checklist and your work is officially over! What better excuse for a party? Gather your team, celebrate your hard work, and relax! This is a great time to build personal bonds with people who helped you pull off a successful event. This can also help in securing help in the future when you are planning a race.
Download our eGuide on how to make race day a success for more race day tips.