Choosing a date and location for your Walk, Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10K, or 5K is an important first planning step. The date and location can make or break the success of your run. Here are 10 tips for helping you choose the best date and location for your event:
- Choose a date that is at least 6 months out to allow enough time for planning, raising money, advertising, and recruiting runners. Check the typical weather for the dates you are considering and take that into consideration when choosing your date.
- Check run calendars such as http://www.active.com, http://www.marathonguide.com and http://www.halfmarathons.net to choose a date that is free of other runs in a certain mile radius.
- Check local event calendars to choose a date that doesn’t compete with local festivals, fairs, or major sporting events.
- Choose a manageable distance. If this is your first race to plan, you may want to start with a half-marathon, 13.1 miles, and then perhaps work up to a marathon. The longer the distance, the more resources you will need…workers, tents, water stations, port-o-potties, etc.
- You may choose to have a Fun Run, or shorter distance run, in addition to your main run. If so, when choosing your location, decide whether you will use the same route, with staggered start times, or a separate route, and allow for this when choosing the space you will need.
- Choose a location centrally located and close to a large portion of the runners you wish to attract. Availability of quality lodging is also a consideration, depending on the size of your event.
- Make sure you check local ordinances for fees and requirements in your potential locations by contacting the Permits department of the local government offices.
- Decide on the terrain you want. Many runners will prefer an even terrain, without hills, or with a gentle downward slope, but you may choose to provide a more challenging experience for your runners by offering a course with changes in elevation. Whatever type of course you choose, try to make your run a unique experience for your runners, either in terms of setting, scenery, course, or theme.
- The safety of your runners is of utmost important, so make sure your course is free of dangerous terrain or obstacles and allows plenty of room for medical tents, port-o-potties, and water stations to insure the health and safety of your runners.
- Consider the start and end location of your course…a loop or out-and-back course will cut down on the necessity of transportation for runners. Helpful tools like Race Entry’s free race map creator can help you find the best course for your race.
Choosing your date and location are your first steps on the road to a great event. Use these tips, and you will be on the path to success. Keep calm, have fun, and enjoy the ride!