Races - Behind the Scenes

As a runner there are elements about a race that makes it really memorable and elements that I feel can be improved upon. But honestly, as a race participant I am quite critical in a positive way. Why is this? I race because I love to run and races are invigorating! But I also feel like I am a secret spy benchmarking the best practices in races since I work for an organization that hosts an annual run maxing at a half marathon. Although, I would love to see them host a marathon one day!

I am sure you all know this but I can tell you a lot of work goes behind preparing for a race from legal logistics, to time spent prepping materials, to choosing awards and goodie bag items, to organizing volunteers, and the list can go on forever!

I work at Pacific Whale Foundation and I want to tell you about why the Run and Walk for the Whales is awesome. And although I work at this organization, I am not being paid to promote this run. I am doing this on my own accord and these are all my own personal opinions.

With that said, let's go!

Prior to race day:
Permits, permits, permits. Planning, measuring, ordering, planning, headaches, and more. Reviewing the course, picking the price, finding awards, medals. Ordering bibs, timing logistics. Did I mention permits? Securing a location. Police, police, police. Organizing volunteers, training volunteers, tracking down lost volunteers, answering a million questions. And this year, the race director is trying to do something extra special for the walkers and aiming to get the course certified.

Race day:
Up before the runners. Our race director is out placing cones and making sure everything is good to go. Volunteers start showing up to do their duties and hopefully everyone is where they are supposed to be. And hoping for good weather and enough food for all the hungry runners. Accidents do happen even to the most organized race director and even in the largest, well-known races.

After race day:
Clean up, clean up, clean up. Just because you are done running doesn't mean it is all done. There is so much to be taken care of post-race --- getting pictures available, getting results online or published, answered post-race day questions. And at this point, the volunteers are gone and by the way, the race director has a whole other list of events to be focusing on in this case.


  1. I admire the people that put on races. I can only imagine all the work that you have to do. That is one reason when I am running a race I always try and think the people at water stations or volunterrs along the course. These people go above and beyond in these races. Great post.

  2. I am always so thankful for the people who are willing to organize, orchestrate, and volunteer at races. It makes the whole experience wonderful for the runners/walkers who participate. Thank you for the interesting insight!

  3. You ladies rock and yes, the people behind the scenes really do appreciate your gratitude!


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