There are several things to take into consideration when planning a road race, with the main two priorities being participant safety and enjoyment. The key essentials should be to ensure that you have a good venue and the date/time of the event are suitable.  

There are also a few small things that should be taken into consideration at the actual event that could make a big difference:  

Planning a Road Race


1. Pick a good date and time: when planning a road race check the local running calendars to see what other events are on at the same time and try and avoid competing against large well established races. Consider what the weather might be like, will it still be light? Allow enough time for people to get there after work etc.

2. Set your course and race distance. Runners expect an accurately measured course check with your local governing body for athletics for a list of course measures. A flat course will be attractive to runners looking for PB potential. You will need to ensure you have permission to run the event, speak with your local council or police.

3. Are you properly insured? When planning a road race the governing body for athletics in your area can issue you with a permit for your event. Having a race permit will ensure your event appears on the local race calendars and will give you a comprehensive insurance policy. Local Councils and the Police are likely to ask for this.

4. Medical facilities such as St Johns Ambulance should be on site during the event. A risk assessment should be done to try and plan for emergencies. Can you get an ambulance to all parts of the course?

5. The registration process should be easy to use. Avoid asking too many questions on the form try and do most of the registration online as this will give you a better idea of numbers. If participants need to pick up packs/bags, ensure that they are organised in an efficient manner.  

6. How are you timing your event, most road races are now chip timed to ensure speedy accurate results.

7. Adequate parking facilities should be provided for participants. If you are unable to provide this at the venue, organise parking at a nearby facility and provide shuttle busses for the participants to travel to and from the event. This will help to avoid parking backups which lead to delays and unhappy participants.  

8. Ensure that there is a sufficient amount of facilities for participants to use and consider providing kit storage.

9. Are you providing a free T-Shirt or Race Medal – do you have enough and will they arrive on time.

On The Day

1. Get everything setup early it can take a long time to setup barriers and start finish gantry’s etc. This should all be done before your participants start to arrive.

2. Ensure you have enough helpers and volunteers to help marshal the course, help with sign up on the day, manage kit storage and help people after the race. These people should wear high viz jackets to help

3. The course itself should be obstacle free. There should be no element of the course that could potentially cause harm or injury to a participant. First Aid stations and emergency medical responders should be scattered throughout the race in the chance of an injury occurring.  

4. Depending on the length of the race water and sports drinks / gels should be provided through-out the race: this water should be clean drinking water and stored appropriately.  

5. Track your runners throughout the race – consider using a sweep to go at the back of the field so you know were the last runner is.

6. Ensure everything is cleared away and rubbish picked up after the event takes place.


1. When planning a road race post-race is just as important as before and during the race, ensure that the timing is accurate and that results are posted in a timely manner.  

2. Ensure you create online feedback forms. These gather feedback on how the participants found your event, things they liked and things that you could improve.