What do you like to find in a race?

Hello everyone,

I am an event organiser of a Marathon, Half-Marathon & 10KM.

I was wondering what do runners prefer to find at a race?

- medal
- goody bag (city information, event details, timetable of event, race bib, t-shirt)
- fluid stations (water, sponges & electrolytes every 3KM?)
- Entertainment Programme after the race
- Race Marshalls at all critical points of the course

what else should I be looking to improve?

You can help improve the running experience for a lot of runners! 

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Comments

  • What I want most is good organisation.

    Good marshalling at the start and finish as well as on the course, plenty of toilets, water, race gets off on time. If you're going to skimp on that stuff in order to supply goody bags and entertainment I'd rather you didn't.

  • Thank you for your reply "Screamapillar"! Of course great organisation is the number one priority and I thought that was a given.

    I was talking in regards of creating a bundle to go with great organisation.

  • Call me a pedant, but if the goody bag is handed out at the end of the run, items such as race number (bib), timetable, etc are too late.

    Info such as this and city detials etc should be sent to te competitors in advance, ideally at least a couple of weeks before. 

    I agree with Screamy in that a lot of the hygiene factors are often missing from race organisation in favour of the "razzamatazz".  Personally I don't care about a pre-race warm-up by Mr Motivator, but I'd rather there were plenty of loos.

  • PS - please ensure the route is well planned and avoid (at all costs) the need to transport runners from the finish by bus.  All GSI events spring to mind on this one where they spectacularly fail to provide either enough buses, or they've not thought it through enough.

  • Toilets. A well staffed baggage drop. Signs.

    Queing is a pain in the arse. But not as annoying as wondering around trying to find things.

    Clear and accurate mile/km signs.

    Water and food at the finish

     

  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭
    I completely agree with the above. I'd rather not have a t-shirt (particularly the cheap nasty generically sized fits no one cotton ones) nor medal if the race is well organised. I suspect most races give medals so I'm in the minority on that one but can the t shirt be an optional extra that athletes pay for? That's also likely to make it a better quality garment too.



    I just want a race number, chip timing for a larger race, an information pack, a well chosen start venue with access to free parking if possible or at least information about local car parks. Then at the start lots of portaloos, efficient bag drop. Race to start on time, well signed, lots of marshals. Water stations I think you're guided by regs anyway. A non cluttered finish (previous city disasters have seen athletes penned into town squares and even a castle once, making it difficult to exit.) Foil blankets at the end if it's a cool day are a nice touch. Excellent medical support, that hopefully we know little about. Goody bag not necessary - a bottle of water and a Mars bar would do me. Cash prizes for winners.



    All that for a fair price. Some races are charging a lot of money for entry fees and it's too much. Cut the razzmatazz and keep the price affordable please.
  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    +1 for toilets. Think of the amount of toilets you think you will need, then order more.

    Also, no-one cares about post-race entertainment, but you might want to think about something for kids & families to do while the race is actually going on. Prizes for winners, and a flapjack or something in the goody bag (if you must have one to put the sponsors' leaflets in).

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭

    Personally, I would base it on something like North Dorset Village Marathon (I have nothing to do with the club/race, other than I've ran it).  It is a relatively small event and was in the Top 10 RW events last year, and gets very good scores on here.

    http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/events/ratingsall.asp?sp=&v=2&ugn=8276&en=77802

    It's well marshalled, personal drink/food bags catered for at some drink stations, a great/scenic course, decent medal (subjective I suppose), busses back to the start (although it's only about a mile and many walk), tea/coffee/cakes/bacon sarnies etc.  It's well priced and they allow number transfers which I think is important.  They also offer late refunds (minus £2).

  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭
    Oh yes, that's a good point Big G. Transfers (and refunds where possible) appreciated.
  • Consider those travelling by public transport. My local half (Stevenage) is on a direct train line from London and to accomodate people travelling by train has a free shuttle bus to the start from the station.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Starting the different races off at different times.

    There is nothing more annoying than chasing someone down and then realising they are in a different race.



    If there are going to be lots is runners having signs / areas up at the start to organise predicted finish times so the faster runners can get a clean start and then others won't get trampled/ barged out of the way.



    Decent results service should be a given.



    Personally I'm not interested in a goody bag or t-shirt. Make t-shirts available to purchase for those that want one.



    Make the advertised price the one that you actually pay. Don't add on extra card fees or bus tickets etc afterwards .
  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    The thing runners hate the most is thinking that they've paid for a lot of extras that they don't want. So if you do want to put together a 'bundle' of things to complement the organisation, make sure that, as well as being things that people actually want (food, drink, etc.) it is clear what things have been provided for free by sponsors.

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    +1 for accessible by public transport. Allow enough time for folks to get to the nearest train station and walk/cycle/taxi to the start.

    And +1 for a decent baggage stow, for those of us who don't have cars (and use public transport, see above).

    A decent medal, always like a gong.

    Refreshments at the start/finish - I'm doing a village 10K on Sunday where the local mums run a tea and cake stall. Wonderful.

    A gibbet at the finish line on which to string up headphone wearers.

  • image How about marshalls supplied with scissors - then they could snip the headphone cords en route?

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Muttley wrote (see)

     

    A gibbet at the finish line on which to string up headphone wearers.

     

    image  I am recording positions/race numbers/times at the marathon point of the Dartmoor Discovery (32-miler) this Saturday and all marshals have been told to contact the Race Director if they see anyone wearing headphones on the route.

  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭
    On the basis of health and safety can they be given safe box cutter knives instead? So that they cannot do themselves any harm. Maybe the race could produce branded ones for marshals to thank them for their time and give them a momento?



    http://www.identity-links.com/tools-amp-flashlights/box-cutters/multi-use-cutter
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    +1 for a decent baggage storage area and also the headphones ban.

    If they get caught with headphones let them finish the race but the DQ them with no medal etc.
  • DazTheSlugDazTheSlug ✭✭✭

    while we're stringing up headphones-wearers, how about a sniper to shoot dead anybody talking during the pre-race briefing? image

    (sorry, but had a really bad experience of this at most recent race)

  • Event Clips.

    None of that safety pin nonsense.

  • DazTheSlug wrote (see)

    while we're stringing up headphones-wearers, how about a sniper to shoot dead anybody talking during the pre-race briefing? image

    (sorry, but had a really bad experience of this at most recent race)

    And ensure that the pre-race briefing can actually be heard by everyone

  • I've done 9 races this year already and quite like taking part.

    What I like to find (listed in order)....

    1) Professionalism and well organised.

    2) Marshals who don't send you the wrong way (happened to a friend of mine who would have finished in the top 5 before he did an extra few km!!!!).

    3) Good atmosphere.

    4) A varied, interesting and scenic route. 

    5) A nice finishing straight.

    6) Results and photos quickly put up online.

    7) A nicely designed tshirt and race number (I collect these as a memento from my previous races).

  • As a medal magpie I travel a LONG way for a good medal... and know I'm not the only one! Mutley on this thread has an impressive haul!

    I like a tee, but only if it actually fits me, I would rather buy it as an extra and it fit me than have a free one that is like a tent.

    Slick organisation - I ran the Kent Roadrunner on Saturday and my god, if every race was like that I would be in heaven! Quick number pick up, lots of loos (get at least 1 for every 4 runners I reckon!) and a very slick bag store. There were lots of other good points to this race (i.e. proper hot showers and a changing room but this was partly to do with the venue!)

    Personally, I don't care about the free biogel sachet and cereal bar in a bag at the end, all I want is a medal and a drink ASAP! I normally bring food with me for post race as I know what I like (i.e. cider), and that is rarely in the goody bag.

     

    So yes +1 for a cracker of a medal, lots of loos and a good bag store!

  • Preferably, I like to find it short. So, if you're planning a marathon, think of the runners and take a few miles off. Thanks.

  • Oh yes - if you are doing a goody bag those fecking Ricola sweets are bloody awful, leave those out image

  • Screamapillar wrote (see)

    Oh yes - if you are doing a goody bag those fecking Ricola sweets are bloody awful, leave those out image

    Oh god yes! Not a fan of the coffee beans coated in toffee or choc either.

    At a half I did in March I got two different types of tea bag in my goodybag... yes they are useful but not STRAIGHT after a race!

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    No-one has said chip timing although that seems to be becoming the norm now, you don't so often see it done the old-fashioned way. Having it all done through electronic doohickery is nice, and seeing the results up online by the time I get home is cool. Worth whatever it costs, imho. Some races races (Henley, Reading) last year even had a video camera at the finish line and just stuck the whole film on YouTube.

    And you want a decent course. All the organizational touches in the world won't save the events at the Dorney and Eton rowing venue from being two or four laps round a boring windswept flat lake. A bit of scenery, a mix of flat and some undulations, etc.

     

  • hatzilla wrote (see)
    Screamapillar wrote (see)

    Oh yes - if you are doing a goody bag those fecking Ricola sweets are bloody awful, leave those out image

    Oh god yes! Not a fan of the coffee beans coated in toffee or choc either.

    At a half I did in March I got two different types of tea bag in my goodybag... yes they are useful but not STRAIGHT after a race!

    You mean you didn't think to bring a Thermos of hot water? That was very silly image

  • MadbeeMadbee ✭✭✭

    I'm not wildly fussed about a T-shirt, but if a race were to have a gender specific one I really would be thrilled.  I HATE throwing yet another tent-sized man's 'small' T-shirt in the drawer after a race because I feel like I want to keep it as a race memento, but will clearly never use it.

    Water stations are not part of a package - they're essential, but I wouldn't bother with electrolytes - most runners will bring their own gels, and I wouldn't want to try new ones during a race.

    Goody-bag wise, I would love to see a pepperami or a wedge of cheese or something!  Blaydon Race put a bottle of ale in theirs which is awesomeimage But I understand that cereal bars etc are more practical.  I do think it's good to have something available immediately afterwards though - would prefer this to sports drinks/gels on route.

    +1 for toilets

    Most significantly though:  Baggage buses. If you have a start/finish in a different place, please please please make sure the baggage either STAYS ON THE BUS or is in a COVERED AREA.  I have twice recently returned from a tough race, frozen and soaked through to find my clothes for afterwards equally soaked, despite putting them in a plastic bag in my kit bag - I really would have thought it would be common sense not to lay kit out on sodden grass in the pouring rain, but apparently at least two race organisers do not think like this!

  • Screamapillar wrote (see)
    hatzilla wrote (see)
    Screamapillar wrote (see)

    Oh yes - if you are doing a goody bag those fecking Ricola sweets are bloody awful, leave those out image

    Oh god yes! Not a fan of the coffee beans coated in toffee or choc either.

    At a half I did in March I got two different types of tea bag in my goodybag... yes they are useful but not STRAIGHT after a race!

    You mean you didn't think to bring a Thermos of hot water? That was very silly image

    I know - must add that to my race packing list!!

    Screamapillar wrote (see)
    hatzilla wrote (see)
    Screamapillar wrote (see)

    Oh yes - if you are doing a goody bag those fecking Ricola sweets are bloody awful, leave those out image

    Oh god yes! Not a fan of the coffee beans coated in toffee or choc either.

    At a half I did in March I got two different types of tea bag in my goodybag... yes they are useful but not STRAIGHT after a race!

    You mean you didn't think to bring a Thermos of hot water? That was very silly image

     

    Muttley wrote (see)

    No-one has said chip timing although that seems to be becoming the norm now, you don't so often see it done the old-fashioned way. Having it all done through electronic doohickery is nice, and seeing the results up online by the time I get home is cool. Worth whatever it costs, imho. Some races races (Henley, Reading) last year even had a video camera at the finish line and just stuck the whole film on YouTube.

    And you want a decent course. All the organizational touches in the world won't save the events at the Dorney and Eton rowing venue from being two or four laps round a boring windswept flat lake. A bit of scenery, a mix of flat and some undulations, etc.

     

    You say that - but Saturday was 17 YES 17 laps of the same course, but it worked because everything else was so awesome. Especially the bracelets they gave us to take off every lap so we could keep count of our laps!

     

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