Registration, goody bags, course marshals, water stations, volunteers, decorations, DJ, t-shirts, snacks, timing, awards. After being a runner for 12 years, I finally got to see what it’s like on the other side. Recently, I was the race director for a 5K fun run at my college, Brigham Young University. The race was a fundraiser for student scholarships. I realized how much work it takes to plan a successful race and also learned several valuable lessons.
1. “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” -Oprah Winfrey
There are many details that need to be considered when planning a race. I spent 4-5 hours a week for several months in preparation for this great event. I got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to organize an event and gained a greater appreciation for those who so diligently host races. Each detail, from mapping out the course to recruiting volunteers to ordering t-shirts and supplies has to be meticulously arranged and managed. Other details like race promotion and participant registration must be considered. A thousand decisions must be made and each decision impacts the outcome of the participant experience. Race directors know that if they put all they can into the planning and preparation, they will produce a quality event.
2. “It just felt so good to be here for a cause other than just running itself. I feel like I am helping somebody by doing what I love.” -Ashley Brasovan
Running for a cause gives us an elevated sense of motivation and purpose. When we run in support of a cause, our focus is not to PR or win a medal, but to raise awareness or contribute to a noble cause. As I prepared for this race, I gained a greater appreciation and connection to my cause, assisting students who could not otherwise afford to attend BYU. Many races support excellent causes, such as Susan G. Komen Run for a Cure, Wounded Warrior Project Run Series, and JDRF Walk to the Cure Diabetes. Find something you are passionate about or personally connected with and register!
This video shows how much fun they had putting together this run the first year.
3. “I don’t run because I love the feeling of running. I run because it makes me love the feeling of living.” -Bonnie Pfiester
When I was younger and racing competitively, I was always too focused on the next important race that I rarely ran for fun. Sometimes, we just need to run for fun and for the love of running. When we run for fun, we do not have to worry about our time or our pace. We can just get together with friends and renew our love of running. Many times, fun runs give us the opportunity to have other unique experiences. For the event that I directed, in addition to being a fundraiser, we also incorporated the theme Choose to Glow. Runners wore white shirts that glowed in the dark. The run was at night and we provided glow sticks and neon body paint for the participants to spray on themselves. After the race, a black light dance gave the participants a chance to glow. It was a blast! In the community, there are many opportunities for fun runs such as Color Runs, Dirty Dashes, Mud Runs, and Turkey Trots. Get some friends and do it together!
Don’t be afraid to do a fun run or a run for a cause! Don’t worry about your time, just relax and have fun! Because I run, I was given the opportunity to use my 12 years of racing experience to organize a race. Because I run, I was able to support a cause, help others attain a brighter future, have a fun time (and hopefully a greater love for running as well!)
This is our logo for our fundraiser, Choose 2 Give (C2G).
These are the girls who were on my committee and helped the event become a success!
These are some other leaders in the organization I was helping out with, they can’t contain their excitement!