I never thought that I would be the organizer of a fat ass run in my lifetime, let alone one that would get the attention that it did. Looking back, I had some great lessons learned that could apply to anyone hoping to plan a race/fatass run in the future.
- Know what you want the event to be like. Do you want it to be official? Do you want it to be a fat ass? Should there be shirts? Medals? What time of year do you want it to occur? Will you have help? How much will you charge racers, if you do? Those questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to race planning. I knew that for the Rocky 50k Fat Ass, I wanted an early winter fat ass run with no frills whatsoever (e.g. no bibs, race fees, shirts, medals, aid stations, permits through the city, etc.). I worked very hard to keep this the case, even with plenty of people asking for shirts, medals, aid stations, course markings, etc. In the end, there were a few minor complaints (as there always will be, see below), but most people said they loved how different it was compared to other races. I had a vision for the day and I was lucky that it worked out.
- Understand you won’t make everyone happy. Such is life, sadly. No matter how hard you work to make every runner happy, you never will. I aimed to put on the run that I envisioned while putting on the best experience for my fellow runners. Were there a few people wishing for more amenities at the run? Sure, but I can’t let that affect how I thought the day went. Haters gonna hate! 😀
- Utilize social media. Okay, so this may not be for everyone and there are plenty of awesome races that are very low-key in terms of technology (think Old Dominion). I used Facebook and Twitter as a means to help spread the word about the run and by the date of the run, there were over 1,200 people in the Facebook group. Of course, not everyone came, but instead of just me having to inform people, others were able to invite friends to the group and spread the word for me. I would note that if you want to get on Facebook, consider creating a Page and not a group as you’ll have more flexibility with it.
- Think of the runners. At the end of the day, you should be putting on an event that people enjoy and want to return to. This doesn’t mean that a race should be easy, but consider what you enjoy at races and runs when planning yours.
When you’re participating in a run/race, what do you look for in an event? If you’ve planned a run/race, do you have advice for aspiring race directors?