Maybe you became a Race Director because of your experience as an Athlete, and wanting to turn your love of sport into your career. That’s the story for many of you. Or maybe you came to race directing from non-athletic event production, from the marketing or business worlds, or from a myriad of other backgrounds. Wherever you’ve come from, and whatever your personal athletic experience and ability, there are a number of reasons why you yourself should race in order to create best-in-class events and provide standout race services for other Athletes to enjoy. If you want to produce the best race possible, just race!
A race is about so much more than getting from point A to point B—it’s about the experience along the way, as well as the lead up and the lasting impression. It’s about every single aspect—physical, emotional, psychological, and logistical—from the moment an Athlete discovers an event, to the post-race memories that last a lifetime. First-hand experience as a participant is the best way for you to gain insight into the race services that take an event from OK to outstanding—which is why we strongly encourage you to get to a start line before you create your own. And if you personally can’t race, find a focus group of people close to you who can—family or friends who will provide detailed, honest, insightful feedback from their experiences.
When you race, stay attuned to every step in the event process. Here are several key aspects to be aware of and analyze, which in turn will help you create an unforgettable event for your athletes, volunteers, staff, and sponsors alike.
The first steps in any race are discovery and registration. Is the event easy to find, and does the website clearly convey the feel of the race, as well as all logistics? Is the registration process simple, quick, and clear? Are answers to questions readily available (for example: What’s the refund policy in the event of injury?), and do you receive a confirmation email?
Once you’re registered, you’ll prepare for the event—a time when many Athletes look for training tips specific to the course and conditions, want to connect with other Athletes, and feel heightened nervousness. Does the race provide any resources to address these needs and encourage community and confidence around the event? Are communications and offers from race sponsors meaningful and valuable, rather than intrusive or overly salesy?
Race Day itself—when nerves, excitement, and emotions are at an all-time high—undeniably makes the strongest impression on Athletes. Is the event atmosphere positive, welcoming, and supportive? Are instructions clear, and does the event run on schedule? Is the racecourse scenic, interesting, challenging, and above all, clearly marked? Are volunteers enthusiastic, informed and plentiful? Likewise, are there enough aid stations, and are they properly stocked with cold beverages, even for the slower Athletes? How is the energy at the all-important finish line? Are post-race food and drink, massage, and results readily available? Is there a party vibe at the finish?
A great race won’t be one and done. Instead, a positive experience will inspire participants to return year after year, and to share their passion for the event far and wide. What follow up do you receive after your race? Are results, photos, and videos quickly available and easy to access and share? Do you receive thank you communications from the event, and perhaps an early bird discount on next year’s registration? Is there a tangible buzz about the race on social media platforms and within the athletic community? Are you already planning for next year’s event, and inviting friends and family to join you?
From discovery and registration, through to race day, post-race euphoria, and social buzz, the experience of an event is multi-faceted. With first-hand insight from other events, and with a critical eye on every step along the way, you’ll learn valuable dos and don’ts to make your race a positive, share-worthy experience and a huge success for everyone involved. For more race day planning and execution advice check out our blog, Little Ways to Make a Big Difference at Your Next Race.
For more tips and tools to create a smooth, memorable, successful event, see all that Athlinks Services has to offer. Learn more here.