Planning a 5K, 10K, half marathon, walk or marathon is a complicated event planning process. From getting permission from local officials, taking steps to ensure runner safety, decorating on the day of the run, and actually recruiting volunteers and runners to participate, planning a walk or run is all about the details. How you plan those details, and execute them can mean the difference between a successful run or a mediocre one.
Set a finish line.
This is both physical and metaphorical. Set a goal for your run/marathon, just as you would if you were a runner: number of participants, amount of dollars raised, etc. Be realistic with your goal, especially if this is your first event.
Don’t be remiss about your event finish line either; your runners’ goal is to get to the finish line so make sure your finish line is memorable with a warm reception and memorable run décor. Recruit volunteers to cheer your runners in, and create a memorable finish line with fun decoration, water sprays, or other creative touches.
Recruit groups of people.
Set up your run registration so you can register teams, or groups of people, easily. This simple move boosts your registration numbers, gives your runners an incentive to run together, and gives them a running buddy (or buddies) to pace with during the run. To get more groups to register, contact local running clubs and gyms to promote your event.
Set an ambitious promotion plan.
Create a calendar of deadlines for promotions, and stick to it. Reach out through as many channels as possible, such as social media, radio, posters at local businesses, through sponsors, and through any other outlet you can think of. Ask other runners to join your planning team, and have them serve as recruiters as well. Provide your participants with the tools they need to recruit as well, such as social media graphics, posters, and pins. Give participants incentives to register early (such as a discounts or 2-for-1 deals) so you can boost numbers early.
Make your 5K unique.
Latch your run onto a theme or holiday, and play it up in your promotions and event decorations. For example, if you’re doing a fundraiser for heart health, design your invitations around your heart theme and buy balloon decorations with your event colors, such as balloon bouquets, heart sculptures and balloon archways—or ask your balloon company for a unique suggestion just for your event. For a patriotic run, display your flag uniquely, outfit your registration table with red and white tablecloths, and get balloon decorations that fit with your theme. Make sure all your decorations are weighted down at your event so they hold up in the case of rainy or windy weather.