Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Unappreciated Race Director

Starting Line Up

Have you ever run a race or walked in one? Did you ever complain because they didn't serve a certain food or item? Were you ever appalled because your shirt size wasn't there at packet pickup day? Oh what about this one, have you ever thrown down your cup after running past the aide station and think “oh they will pick it up” or worse yet, you don't even think about it?

If you have answered yes to any of these, then you need to sign up for your next race as a VOLUNTEER! These people do not get paid for you to run, or to provide you shirts, with nice labelled packets or to pick up after you!!

They do it because they love the race, it makes them happy to see you enjoying what they love.

My husband has been a race director and volunteer for over 10 years. The bigger the race the more stress the man is under. Here is just 'my' version of an outsider looking in to a Race Directors To-Do list.
  1. Draw and design a logo for the race
  2. Get quotes from companies to buy the shirts and to put the right logo on them.
  3. Order enough
  4. Place the exact sizes needed for every persons need
  5. Talk to other people to get volunteers to help you
  6. Create the map of the race
  7. Create the Facebook Page for that race
  8. Maintain that Facebook Page and answer all questions
  9. Create the online registration
  10. Be on the receiving end to receive all hand registrations with their checks.
  11. Hand enter all of the names, addresses, phone numbers and emergency contact info in the database.
  12. Order the food for the race
  13. What should I get? Fruit? Nuts? M&M? Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches? Pop? Gatorade?
  14. What flavor Gatorade? Orange? Grape? (Oh wait, some people didn't like Orange last time, so I'll get Grape).

  15. Retrieve all water jugs from the shed and wash them by hand.
  16. Wait, this year I'll buy fruit and the volunteers and I can cut them up ourselves before the race, which means we all need to be there at least 3 hours before the race and its Memorial Day. ← On their Holiday too!
  17. Need to call the Police department and to setup a contract for them to close the streets down between the hours of 9AM and 10:30AM. ← What do you mean you didn't sign the contract yet? Oh my gosh, I can't have the race without the streets closed down!!!
  18. Call the police department again to verify all is well and ready for that date and time.
  19. Shirts appear in 12 or more boxes, will need to have to separate for packet pickup. ← Hmm, I don't have enough room in my pickup truck bed, so I will need to get the Trailer from the shed.
  20. Clean the trailer out.
  21. Oh yeah get the pools from the Shed and clean them out to put the ice in.
  22. Sent email out to participants listing the event and times. ← What? You didn't like that I scheduled the elite runners first, so you could watch them come running in first and cheer them on before you head out and run your race?
  23. Need to order the bib numbers and have them put the new race logo on them so they look nice this year.
  24. Need to hire a DJ this year to play fun music while everyone is waiting and getting ready to cheer on the elite runners. ← DJ asks the race director what should he bring? Um your the DJ!
  25. Need to go to the College and get the janitor to let me get in to meet with the DJ to let him see what kind of outlets they have. ← What do you mean you forgot I was coming? OK, I can wait.
  26. I need to go buy hundreds of little USA flags for the event.
  27. What should I do with all the fruit I bought boxed up? ← I hope it doesn't rot overnight!
  28. Need to print and assign the bib numbers to every registered participant.
  29. Need to spend the afternoon at a store for participants to come and get the packet with their bib, computer chip, and race shirt. ← What an X-Small? I am so sorry ma'am they didn't send a X-Small I can give you a Small. “I ORDERED A X-SMALL! ...” curses at the race director.
  30. Need to leave the volunteers at the store go pick up all the fruit from the Grocery, deliver it at home then go back to packet pickup ← My throat is so sore.
  31. Need to get up at 5AM race day. ← I just want it to be the best race.

Let me remind you this is not everything!!! The race I was speaking of was this past Memorial Day and we expected over 800 racers. Do you or can you even imagine what my husband had to do to make sure every thing is on Q? Here is what I envisioned.
  1. Volunteers show up assign them each tasks
  2. Pass boxes of fruit off to volunteers to cut
  3. Get a hundred bags of ice.
  4. Setup finish line.
  5. Setup both computers and hook up the timing equipment to make sure they work.
  6. Get the walkie talkies for volunteers and race director
  7. Answer questions
  8. Help the DJ
  9. Hope the Police department shows up!
  10. Mark the course
  11. Put cones out in the parking area
  12. Answer questions
  13. Participants coming
  14. Answer questions
    ….. I feel so bad for these unappreciated race directors, but honestly they love to do it. That shows you just how much they love the sport called running.

This is dedicated to my husband that has worked so hard for others enjoyment and love for the sport.

Excerpts from The Motivational Girl are protected by copyright and used here by permission of The Motivational Girl, 2012-2013.


  1. HOLY COW!!! I knew they had to work hard but had no idea! Thank you for sharing this Sheri!!!!!!! New view on this for sure!!!

  2. Jeez! That's a lot that needs to be done. I will think twice next time I want to complain.


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