Fun Run

Organizing Your First Fun Run

This is going to be the first time you and your team will be organizing a fun run. At the first planning meeting, the goal is to share ideas about how to make it successful. Good and crazy ideas are welcome. “Let’s invite a big celebrity!”, says one. “Why don’t we get one of those trailers with water tanks used in fighting small bushfires and turn it into sprinklers for the runners?”, says another.

As a leader, every comment makes you excited. But you know that focus is necessary to get things done properly. Good ideas will be considered, and the crazy ones will be set aside. So how do you separate the good and the crazy? Here’s a guide to help you.

The Big Questions

Students of journalism are immediately taught about the five Ws and H of news writing or reporting. You need to start with these as well, particularly the “why?” part.

Fun runs are typically organized around a purpose, like to fundraise or to do an information campaign (e.g., goals of an organization or educating people about social issues). It’s also organized around a specific theme. The theme is the personal connection of the runner to the event. Jim joins the “Color Run” because it’s an annual event where he met his wife. Anna runs a 5K because she believes in the weight-loss campaign of an event.

The “what?” will be the kind of race you plan to organize. Is it 5K and 10K, plus a half-Mary (21K)? The “who?” will be the runners and the supporters, like sponsors and local authorities.

Understanding the Running Community

Nearly 57 million people joined running events in America in 2017 compared to 39 million in 2006. That’s a 46% increase in participation. This indicates how popular organized races are. This number should inspire you what number you should aim for in your race.

Another clue that should guide you in successfully organizing your fun run is understanding why people do it in the first place. UK veteran runner Roger Robinson explained the running boom that began in the 1970s with this statement, “It happened because runners loved running.” Organized small running events attracted running enthusiasts, and the numbers began to grow.  Today, thousands of running events are organized every month. More than 30,000 races were organized in 2016, and of these races, 17,000 were for the 5K distance.

Planning and Executing

Plan well and execute even better. You’ve painted the broad picture by answering the big questions. It’s time to dive into the details. Make a list of all the items that you need to tackle from the budget (including sponsorship and marketing activities) to logistics like materials for the race (e.g., timing equipment, water stations, race bibs, singlets, etc.).

Make sure that you have enough time to plan. Some suggest a minimum of six months is necessary. You will deal with sponsors, local authorities for permits and other organizations like church-based organizations and businesses that might be affected by your run.

Reach out methodically to your target audience. Set up registration pages where people can register online and donate if you’re running a charity event. Take advantage of social media when making announcements.

Know why you are doing it. Understand the running community. Plan well, and make the runners show up. These will help you organize a successful fun run.