Head Start

Nailing Race Day

October 04, 2021 Race Directors HQ Episode 15
Head Start
Nailing Race Day
Show Notes

It’s probably fair to say that when it comes to a race director’s calendar, it doesn’t get much bigger than race day. It’s the day your race comes alive and a day you and your team have been working towards for months.

Whether it’s your first race or your hundredth, everyone goes into race day a bit like a standup comedian walking on stage for their first gig - with a mix of excitement and, well, dread is probably a good word for it.

A million things are going through your head. Does everyone know what they have to do? Are we going to run on schedule? And what do I do if this or that happens?

Today I have the pleasure of being joined on the podcast by Crisp McDonald, a race director and timer with more than a thousand races under his belt. Crisp is also RunSignup’s RaceDay Expert and, as such, has been training race directors and timers on what to expect on race day and how best to prepare for all the curve balls a live event might throw at you. 

In this episode:

  • Planning your event site and start/finish line 
  • Setting up a clear line of communication with your event team
  • Balancing how much you do on race day vs setting things up in advance (e.g. pre-marking your race course)
  • Figuring out how long tasks take on race day and when to start setting things up
  • Sharing resources across different tasks throughout race day
  • The importance of team leads
  • The effectiveness of seasoned volunteers, and how to inspire loyalty among volunteers to your event/brand/cause
  • How to reduce volunteer no-show rates, by recruiting volunteer groups instead of individuals
  • Inspiring volunteers to take ownership of their work, through fun race day volunteer competitions
  • The importance of recognizing and thanking volunteers before race day
  • Contingency planning: being prepared for switching your in-person race to a virtual race
  • Emergency planning: figuring out what to prepare for
  • The role of onsite EMS units, and where to station them
  • Having a protocol for tracking runners who drop out of the race
  • Putting together a key person contact list 
  • Anticipating weather changes and what to do when the weather shifts rapidly
  • The role of cancellation insurance for races in higher-risk locations
  • The task matrix: who's doing what when on race day
  • Setting up a race command center
  • Communicating with your team: phones vs radios vs apps
  • Race day registrations: what you need to be able to take registrations on race day
  • Dynamic bib assignment: what is it? how does it work? 
  • Packet pick-up: pre-packing packets vs putting them together on the fly
  • Setting up your race course: what order to do things in
  • Tearing down your race course: the benefits of a rolling tear-down
  • Shipping out race results to participants after they finish the race
  • Debriefing after the race

Thanks to GiveSignup|RunSignup for supporting quality content for race directors by sponsoring this episode. More than 22,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use GiveSignup|RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. If you'd like to learn more about GiveSignup|RunSignup's all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events visit runsignup.com.

You can find more resources on anything and everything related to race directing on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com.

You can also share your questions about race day prep or anything else in our Facebook group, Race Directors Hub.