The Complete Marathon Planning Guide – How to Plan a Marathon?

Manas KasliwalEvent Management, Event Planning, Races & Marathons

Planning marathon

This Complete Marathon Planning Guide has two sections:

  1. How to Plan a Marathon (you are here)
  2. The Marathon Event Checklist Used By Top Race Directors 
How to Plan a Marathon? The Pre-Event Planning Guide and Activities

The definitive marathon planning guide to help you keep on top of all your to-dos before the race.

There are a million things a race organizer must keep in mind when planning and organizing a marathon race. Therefore, having a standard marathon planning guide will make you pay attention to the big as well as minute details so that you can cover things off your list, or better yet, assign some things to others.

You need a structured marathon planning checklist with a proper schedule to keep you planned and prepared. We have prepared the ultimate marathon planning guide for the race organizers that covers everything on how to plan a marathon event.

This guide covers all pre-event activities that you would need to organize a marathon event. Let this be your bible to plan a successful marathon!

Most of the work you’ll need to do for your marathon will be done before the event day.

  • From planning the marathon to making sure all your orders and permits are in at the right time.
  • Budgeting the event and promoting the event.
  • Lining up your race supplies to securing your logistics and recruiting volunteers, there’s so much to do.

To keep it simple, we have divided the marathon planning guide into four parts:

SETTING UP THE MARATHON
Race Basic Details & Choosing Registration Partner
6-8 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. Setting up the Race Committee and selection of Race Director
  2. Deciding race type – full marathon, half marathon, 10K, ultra-race, etc.
  3. Purpose and objective of Marathon
  4. Location and Event date
  5. Budgeting
4-6 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. Applying for Licenses and Permissions from concerned authorities (police, RTO, local municipal corporation)
  2. Choosing a Ticketing and Registration Solution – Use Townscript for your marathon registrations
GETTING THE WORD OUT
Promoting & Pushing The Marathon Event
4-6 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. Website Development
  2. Finding sponsors
  3. Advertisements & Promotions (starting from 4-6 months to 10-15 days before the race
  4. Press Conference/Press Release
  5. Getting listed on top marathon websites (like Townscript, Worlds Marathons, India Running)
1-2 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. Outdoor promotions through stalls at malls, IT parks, schools, colleges, gyms and fitness centers
  2. Organizing Promo Run(s)
  3. Putting up stalls/counters in big marathon events and other sports-related events
  4. Inviting race ambassadors or pacers for the marathon: top pacers attract the running crowd
  5. Involving Popular Runner Groups
PLANNING THE LOGISTICS
Race Supplies, Route Marking & Choosing Timing Solution
4-6 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. Setting up team including volunteers
  2. Route Mapping & Finalization
  3. Accurately measured and checked route
  4. Marathon Insurance
2-3 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. Choosing a Timing Solution (based on pricing, technology, accuracy) – Use Townscript Timing Services for your marathon 
  2. Signage for the course and race site
  3. BIB & Certificate Preparation/Designing
  4. Vendor selection for medals, trophies, T-shirts and other giveaways
  5. Caterer/Vendor selection for water, energy drink, and post-race refreshments
  6. Official Race photographer
  7. Zumba (and other warm-up exercises) instructor
  8. Certification by AIMS/Route Approval by Athletics Federation of India (AFI)
  9. Travel & Accommodation booking (in case of a race in a remote area)
15-30 DAYS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. Appointing AFI officials for race day visit (if you are based in India)
  2. Obtaining licenses and permits from concerned authorities
  3. Arranging for BIBs and supporting material
  4. Arranging for First Aid/Ambulance and other medical facilities
  5. Ordering for T-Shirts, Finisher Medals, Trophies, Big cheques
  6. Notification to police, traffic and fire personnel
  7. Securing tables, chairs for BIB expo day and water aid stations (and other stations)
  8. Arranging for internet and electricity for timing purposes and post-race ceremony
  9. Ensure changing area and restrooms availability (maybe even mobile toilets)
VOLUNTEERS/TEAM RECRUITMENT
Recruiting Team + Volunteers & Assigning Tasks
4-6 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. Promotion
  2. Offline Registration
  3. Coordinating with sponsors
  4. Communications & Security
2-3 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE RACE
  1. BIB Expo
  2. Timing and Scoring
  3. Medical & aid stations
  4. Results posting and Distribution
  5. Prize Ceremony
  6. Refreshments & Clean-up

Marathon planning

The marathon planning guide ensures that you do not forget anything during marathon inception. Accordingly, once you’ve defined your checklist and schedule you are ready to start the process to design and build your marathon event.

Interested in downloading the checklist? Fill this form and we would email you!

Disclaimer: Not all items in this checklist may apply to your marathon event. You may ignore some of them. Even the timelines covered are generalized, they could vary for your marathon race.

With Townscript Ecosystem, we provide the ultimate packaged solution for marathon organizers. A single integrated platform for the marathon events which includes ticketing/registrations, marketing, managing Bib expo, and timing services. Ready to setup your next marathon event?

About the Author

Manas Kasliwal

Curious by nature, asks a lot of questions and often has his nose buried in a newspaper, book or blog. He is always the first person to say, 'How did they do it' or 'Let's Google it.' His curiosity led him to pursue a career in the field of marketing. At Townscript, he combines his passion with interest to bring out the best for event organizers in India.