Guest Column - July 2008
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On the Road

10 Components to a Successful Race

By Mark Balsan and Peter Titlebaum, Ed.D.


To improve the race, you need the participants' and spectators' opinions. To obtain these, develop a system to collect feedback. Provide an Internet site for a survey or distribute surveys in the refreshment area after the race. These surveys are crucial to discovering the strengths and weaknesses of the event.

Analyzing the data will be a tedious process. If the data show that something was strongly negative to most people, you will need to analyze the situation and see how you can improve. A follow-up survey with alternatives to the problem might be a great idea to gauge what will have the most impact.


Coordinating your race with the police and emergency medical services will be extremely important. Police need to be contacted for road closures and to control your course and traffic, during and after the race. The police should be contacted as soon as possible to discuss the course so they can evaluate it and the type of force they will need. Emergency medical services will need to be contacted to have ambulances or personnel on site to treat participants or rush them to the hospital if needed.

Acquiring insurance for your race can provide protection for your race and the organization. USA Track and Field provides race insurance for any race that receives their sanctioning.


A reliable timing system is necessary for any race. The timing of a race can be a major make-or-break for your participants. Timing errors can cause participants not to come back to a race. Whether you use an all-electronic and chip timing system or just have a finish clock and use bib tags to identify runners, participants work hard during these races and expect their time to be accurate and correct. The finish line needs to be organized and structured for all to come through with ease and receive accurate times.

These 10 components are crucial to your success, but need to be tailored to fit your race. Don't sacrifice any of these areas when planning. By implementing these components in your race, you can take it far beyond your wildest goals.


Mark Baslan is a recent sport management graduate from University of Dayton, with four years of experience in the sport and event industry.
Peter Titlebaum, Ed.D., associate professor of sport management at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, has more than 25 years of experience teaching and coaching. He speaks and writes on areas of networking, organization and personal development, educating audiences to be their own advocates.