These days, charity races are commonplace. Thousands of people will congregate in an outdoor space to push themselves physically to complete a challenging long distance run in order to raise money for charity, which can involve months of training and getting yourself into peak physical condition. With so many people racing and even more spectators, how on Earth do you go about making sure it all runs smoothly?
Firstly, you need to make sure you have some sort of route set out. Make sure it doesn’t incorporate any unstable or difficult terrain which might not stand up to the vast number of runners crossing over it. If possible, go for a tried and tested running route which has already been vetted to make sure it’s suitable. Once this has been sorted, set up either signposts or some form of barrier either side of the course to make sure everyone knows where they are going.
At the start and finish of the course, set up some plastic fence barriers to make sure the zones are well protected and to prevent people from accidentally or deliberately crossing into the path of the runners. You will also need the extra reinforcement of the barriers to keep away anyone who might want to get close to the runners to take photos at the start and end of the race, which could be distracting and dangerous.
Place tables along the edges of the track with bottled water which can be handed out by volunteers to prevent the runners from getting dehydrated. You could also provide chairs in case any of the spectators find it difficult to stand for long periods and would prefer to watch the race seated. If the race is particularly long, also keep foil blankets at the end if the runners want to maintain their body temperature.
It is crucial that you get a first aid team on site, and make sure there are first aid trained individuals stationed along the length of the course. At the very least, get someone stationed at both ends and in the middle to help anyone suffering from blisters, sprains or general aches and pains.
Finally, make sure you have lots of branded material so that everyone knows exactly what is going on. For example, balloons, banners and posters can be used to make it more of an event, and to ensure that everyone knows what the event is in aid of. This way, you can raise awareness and money and have fun decorating to make the course look great.
Peter Ordant has been organizing outdoor charity events for over ten years and offers his advice to those looking to put on their own activities for charitable causes