8 Ways to Throw a Kick-ass Obstacle Course Race

BY Julia Ryder

06 Mar, 2017

8 Ways to Throw a Kick-ass Obstacle Course Race

BY Julia Ryder

Obstacle course races have exploded in popularity since 2010. Companies like Spartan Race and Warrior Dash hold successful races year after year that challenge avid athletes with their vigorous courses – and we give them a lot of credit! Organizing and starting your own race series takes a lot of work, so if you’re thinking about creating your own, get ready. From determining the location of your event to event engagement, we’ve come up with eight ways for you to throw a kick-ass race!  

1. Determine a Theme That Connects and Resonates With People

It’s important that your attendees connect with your theme as much as you do. Talk to other event directors of races that you’ve enjoyed and gain some insight on the type of event you want to hold. Figure out the goal of your event. Are you looking to raise money for a non-profit? Provide a healthy activity for your community? Settling on a goal will help you remain focused on building a successful event.

2. Location, location, location!

Every town and state has different rules, so before you get started take a trip down to your town hall and explain what you’re looking to do. You want to avoid any violations with the township ordinance because you’re uneducated in the matter. Make it a little easier on yourself and consider a 5K or Zombie course that has been used previously.

3. Decide on a Date

Believe it or not this is one of the hardest tasks. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure because you settled on a date that conflicted with other local events. Get ahead of the game and retrieve a list of other planned events during the month you’re thinking about. Scope out for possible conflict like holidays, athletic events or concerts and festivals (really anything that might compromise attendance).

4. Partner Up

When you start your race planning career, you may have to rely on a charity, organization or sponsor to bring in registrants and volunteers in order to be profitable. But you can also find a way to include your city in on the action. Contact the Department of Parks or your mayor’s office to encourage them to support and expose the event. Ask them questions like, “Can the mayor endorse this event?” The more local support you have the better off your event will be.

5. Contracts and Insurance

Make sure to include all of the legal and safety details such as insurance, getting permission to use a location, and registering participants. If you’re renting space, whether it’s a farm or a recreational field, make sure you have a written contract.. The contract should include all of these details (i.e., when you set up and breakdown). Due to the risk of mud runs there are very few companies that will insure this type of event, so be prepared to do some research!

7. Find Staffing

Make sure that you find a group of reliable people to work your race. If you need twenty people, scout out forty. You can never be over prepared. From checking in attendees to handing out swag, Jobblers are a great way to get the job done and make your life less stressful. Before the big day, hold a few staff meetings to go over their responsibilities for the event.

8. Increase Engagement During the Event

Be interactive with your attendees and keep them constantly engaged. From water stations to T-shirts to bandanas, there are a ton of supplies that you’ll need for a run. Offer something unique to the runners participating in your event. Add even more fuel to the event buzz and create a unique hashtag so attendees can share their race-day swag! For the attendees that go above and beyond, have some sort of rewards system in place for their social media contributions.

Ready, Set, Go!

Sometimes the challenge of planning an event is just getting the ball rolling. With these tips you’ll be on your way to executing an adventurous obstacle course that the entire country will be raving about!

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