Guide to Planning a 5K Race Event
So, you’re setting out to plan your first race event. But where do you start? 5Ks are the most popular running event there is, but that doesn’t mean that these events are easy to plan. Organizing a successful 5K is a bigger undertaking than you may think, but don’t worry, our step by step guide will make sure that you hit the ground running.
Choosing a Race Date
Start by doing some research on other successful 5Ks in your area. Not only will this help you to avoid competition from more established races, it will also give you some ideas on how to effectively organize and promote your event. You will also want to take weather into consideration, no one wants to run in the snow!
Select Your Race Location
There are a few things you want to consider when picking your running location. First off, you will want to stage your event somewhere nearby a populated area to attract as many runners to your race as possible. Beautiful scenery is also a major draw for races!
When scouting locations, you will want to keep your ideal race course in mind at all times. Lots of steep elevations changes are sure to scare away some runners, so try to avoid hilly areas if possible. You will also want to look for a location that can accommodate a loop race route, so you can save money on transporting runners back to the starting point of your race!
Time for some paperwork
After you determine your race location, you will want to get moving on this as soon as possible. Most 5ks will require shutting down streets and detouring traffic and you may want to get local law enforcement on board to ensure safety for your participants. You should also get insurance for your event to protect your organization from any liability.
Naming Your 5K Race
Now that you’ve got the major details sorted out, its time to get creative. Here are a few things to consider when brainstorming names for your 5K.
- Charity – if you are planning your race event to benefit a charity or cause, be sure to include that in the name!
- Sponsors – selling naming rights for your 5K is a common tactic to generate more revenue to cover race expenses. You can also look for sponsors to provide products and services for the event or to donate to your charity.
- Tone – is your race designed to be fun or highly competitive? You will attract vastly different participants with races named “The Spring Fun Run” and “The Rugged Maniac” (yes, this is an actual race name).
Creating a Budget for Your 5K Event
Time to break out the calculator! Aside from safety, not losing money is the most important step to planning your corporate 5K. If this is already built into your corporate health and wellness program, then you might have room in your budget already! There’s a lot that goes into executing a successful 5K, so let’s break down what you should plan on writing checks for.
Staffing Your 5K
Safety is paramount at race events, so you will want to hire local law enforcement and traffic control to guarantee the security of your course. In addition to this, you should have medical staff on site in the event of an injury.
You will also need people working registration booths, aid stations and monitoring the course. There’s an opportunity for savings here if you use employees from your company or volunteers. If you do utilize volunteers, make sure they don’t leave empty-handed. Add your race logo to any of these custom promotional gifts!
Promoting Your 5K Event
You’re going to want to get the word out about your event as quickly as possible. Some promotional expenses could include event signage and buying ad space in local publications.
You will also need to build a website for your race. Your 5K website should include information for the event, online registration and results once the race is finished. Make sure you have a savvy marketer to leverage social media online advertising!
There are a few things that you will need to rent to make your race course legit. First off, you’ll need barriers and cones to outline the course. Next, you will need to rent outhouses and aid stations to place throughout the course. At your aid stations, you will need medical supplies and LOTS of water. For a 5K you should put outhouses and aid stations at the start, halfway point, and finish of the race.
No race event is complete without the proper gear and we’ve got your starter kit right here. Grab a pen, you’re going to want to write this down.
- Custom running shirts – race events typically give participants custom printed athletic shirts with the race logo on the front. Get started with our complete custom 5K running clothes collection!
- Race Bibs – you’ll need a numbered bib and safety pins for each participant. These race bibs usually are equipped with a GPS tracking chip to monitor the progress of your runners.
- Staff Equipment – keep your even staff dry and comfortable with custom umbrellas and company branded chairs. You may also want to provide uniforms or identification as well!
- Food and Beverage – your runners are sure to be hungry and thirsty after the race. It’s a good idea to provide snacks, water and maybe even a cold beer.
- The Swag Bag – it is customary to give out custom “swag bags” to your race finishers. Common 5K gifts include custom water bottles, logoed towels, and custom logo fitness trackers.
On Race Day
You’ve executed your plan flawlessly and now the day is finally here. There are just a few more boxes to check to make sure that your event doesn’t hit a wall.
First, you should verify that your course is accurately measured and marked. Then check if your outhouses and aid stations are in the proper locations and are fully stocked.
Next, make sure that you have a seamless registration process set up, so participants can easily check-in and retrieve their race bib. If you set up online registration in advance this will be much easier.
Finally, meet with your event staff to discuss the logistics and organization of the event. Once everyone is on the same page, it’s time to get things started!
After the Race
You did it! But there are a few tasks left to complete before successfully wrapping up your 5K. You’ll want to have a plan in place ahead of time for post-race cleanup. Race events can be banned by cities for improper cleanup.
Once the cleanup is complete, all that’s left to do is post time results and event photos on your website and send out a registration email for next year!