Tips for Organizing a Charity Race

It happens year round. People don Santa sweaters, ridiculous moustaches, zombie costumes and even strip down to their skivvies. They crawl through mud, climb obstacles and are pelted with brightly colored powder. And they do it all in the name of charity.

Themed races are a blast, and they’re a great way to raise money for an important cause. Planning your own might seem incredibly overwhelming, but these tips and steps will help you pull it off with ease:

- Organize a committee. A big event like a charity race requires a lot of manpower, so pull together a group of your friends to help you sort out the logistics. If you can find someone who has experience organizing a similar event, that’s even better. Still at a loss for resources? Your local runner’s shop might have some great ideas.

- Select your charity. You might have a very specific cause in mind, or you might just have the general desire to do something good for your community. Once you you’ve chosen your charity, you can start brainstorming for a theme that would lend itself well to that organization’s mission.

- Choose a date, time and location. First of all, make sure you give yourself at least several months to plan the event. Next, look at your theme/cause and see if there is a specific month or holiday that lends itself well to the theme. Finally, map out a location. Is there a route that’s typically used for races in your community?

- Get the necessary permits. Because races usually require blocking off streets, it’s very important that you get permission from your city. They might also be able to provide you with local police staff to help with the event’s security.

- Advertise, advertise, advertise. Once you know the big facts about the race and decide on the fee for runners, you can start targeting the people who you think might be interested in participating. Don’t forget to ask for event volunteers too. Put up posters, send out fliers, use social media, advertise on local radio and television stations, etc. Also talk to businesses in your community to ask if they would be willing to donate money or other items to the event.

- Make safety a priority. In addition to security and traffic control, make sure you have a trained first aid staff and volunteers assigned to ensure all runners stay on the course. Provide plenty of water and snacks to participants and volunteers so everyone stays hydrated and energized. A successful event is one that ends with every participant feeling great as they cross the finish line.

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