The Ultimate Race Day Checklist used by Top Race Directors

Manas KasliwalEvent Day, Event Management, Event Planning, Races & Marathons

Race day checklist

This Complete Marathon Planning Guide has two sections:

  1. How to Plan a Marathon
  2. The Ultimate Race Day Checklist Used By Top Race Directors (you are here)
The Ultimate Race Day Checklist! The Race Day & Post Race Activities.

If you’ve already read our blog on planning a marathon, the next step is for you to be fully prepared for the day of the race. We’ve curated the ultimate race day checklist used by top race directors. This definitive race day checklist will help you keep on top of all your to-dos before, during and after the race.

There are a million things that you as a race director/organizer must keep in mind when planning and organizing a marathon race. Therefore, having a standard race day checklist will help you in two ways. One, it will help you take care of all the minute details making sure you’ve covered everything. Two, it will help you see the bigger picture so you understand how all these elements fit together. This will then help you to better delegate and assign tasks to your team.

Let us get you started with a structured race day checklist with a proper schedule to keep you planned and prepared. This checklist covers everything end-to-end including obtaining BIBs, race day planning, and post-marathon clean-up. Let this be your bible to plan a successful marathon!

The checklist has three main sections that’ll be covered in detail:

3 DAYS BEFORE THE RACE & BIB EXPO

To begin with, it is better to carry out Bib expo one day before the marathon event. (For large events, the Bib expo should be of two days rather than a single day). The Bib expo is primarily for runners to collect their Bibs and goodie bags, verify their timing tags and get their queries resolved with respect to the race.

3 DAYS BEFORE THE RACE
  1. Obtaining BIBs with timing chips
  2. Obtaining T-shirts and other giveaways
  3. Preparing information packet for runners (goodie bags)
    • Course route with appropriate markets for water aid stations
    • Start and finish information
    • Medical aid details
    • Check-in information
    • Results information
    • Other important details of the race like where to assemble post-race, washrooms, parking arrangements
  4. Handing out goodie bags and race kits to corporate registrations and large groups before the Expo
ONE (OR TWO DAY) DAY BEFORE THE EVENT: BIB EXPO & DISTRIBUTION
  1. Setting up BIB collection counters
    • Signage/banner for each counter
    • Tables, chairs, stationery, tent
    • Laptop for checking in the runners
    • Internet
    • Volunteers
    • BIBs and safety pins for respective counter
    • Assembling goodie bags behind each counter
  2. Setting up spot registration counters
    • Signage, tables, chairs, banners, and tents
    • Blank BIBs & Goodie bags
    • Laptop, internet, card machine
    • Cash box and other stationery
    • Volunteers
  3. Setting up Verification and help desk for verifying the timing chips/runner details and helping runners with their queries
  4. Setting up stalls and stage for Expo
    • Stalls for Partners, Sponsors, and related businesses
    • Expo Stage for some relevant sessions or entertainment of runners
    • Material needed: tents, signage, banners, tables, chairs, backdrop, PA system
  5. Distributing of Race Kit/Goodie bags

RACE DAY

You’ve made it to the event day! This is it! In other words, most of the effort is behind you – but the bit everyone’s showing up for is just about to get going. The race day is the most crucial time for you. From setting up timers to prize ceremony, everything should go smooth. Make sure you’ve got the following items ticked to avoid trip-ups on D-day! And you’re all set!

ON THE DAY OF THE MARATHON
  1. Setting timing equipment with necessary support, clocks, and volunteers
    • Computer(s)
    • Internet
    • Connection cords
    • Power Source
    • Table
    • Tent
    • Mats
    • Chairs
    • Digital Clock
    • Recording sheets, pens, clipboards
  2. Doing a dry run of the route
  3. Post all direction signage
    • Route – flags, cones, barricades, delineators
    • KM signs/markers
    • Parking, restroom, assembly area, medical facilities
  4. Traffic arrangement (in coordination with local authorities)
  5. Parking arrangement
  6. Assembly Area Checkup
    • Timers and digital clock
    • Ribbon/break tape at start and finisher line
    • Start and finish banners
  7. Installation of
    • Stage/Podium & Backdrop
    • PA System
    • Prizes Display
    • Screens
    • Gates at starting point and splits
    • Results posting board/screen
    • Tents for water booths, medical area, refreshments area, etc.
  8. Stalls for post-race ceremony
    • Reception & Prizes
    • Baggage counter
    • Resting area with snacks
    • Water Booth
    • Food Canteen
    • First aid, Physiotherapy & Injury Management
    • Selfie Point – I AM A FINISHER
  9. Medical area
    • Ambulance & Medical Team
    • Physiotherapy
    • Sponges & Ice-cold water
    • First Aid Kit and energy drinks
  10. Water Stations set-up for the race: at every KM/split
    • Water 200 ml & 20 liters Jars (Ground & Route)
    • Sports drink/Energy drink
    • Cups/containers/bottles
    • Dustbins/Trash bags
    • Table
    • First Aid Kit
    • Signs
  11. Ensuring all communication is flawless
    • Briefing all stakeholders involved (timing partner, police and other authorities, volunteers)
    • Ensure that the PA system (public address system) is working
  12. Warm up and Cool Down exercises
  13. Flag-off gun/whistle
  14. Entertainment along the route and post route
  15. Pacers team management
  16. Mobile Toilets check
  17. Sound & Lighting Arrangements check
  18. Lighting arrangements
  19. Comparer for the post-race ceremony
  20. Photography & Video Recording
  21. Trail sweep vehicle(s) to ensure that no runner is left behind
  22. Catering and refreshments area
    • Welcome Drink before the marathon
    • 2-3 nutrition stations en route: Water, Sports Drink, Fruits & Nuts
    • Main Nutrition Station/Refreshment area at endpoint or post finisher line
    • Healthy and Light breakfast
    • Water, Sports Drink, Fruits & Nuts
    • Tables, trays, dustbins, utensils, napkins, and ice

POST MARATHON

The work for you doesn’t end with the winner crossing the line. There’s a number of things still to do to ensure the event is safely and responsibly wrapped up.

This is also the time when you’re starting to engage for next year’s event (or your next upcoming event) by leveraging the publicity and recognition your marathon generates.

  1. Cleaning of ground and route after the marathon
  2. Sending information regarding race photos, results and timing certificates
  3. Thank you note to all the stakeholders
  4. Collecting feedback from runners and volunteers to improve for the next event
  5. Press release with results
  6. Publish Race Report
  7. Financial Analysis of the event
  8. Post-race regular follow-up stories on the website and social media to engage for next year’s event
  9. Set a tentative date for next year
Race Day Timeline

In a nutshell, make sure that you’ve set up and obtained BiB chips 2 days before the marathon. On the day of the event, make sure you have set up the necessary equipment and ticked off everything from the above checklist. Your work doesn’t end here. After the marathon, remember to clean the ground. Also, gather feedback from participants as that’ll help you to improve.

The race day checklist ensures that you do not forget anything from Bib Expo to marathon completion and beyond. 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.