Running is picking
up steam in India, with marathons and other runs being
organised in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi
and... Several shorter neighbourhood runs are also being
Planning and managing a
running event in India:
I have run across 6 continents and run in 41 marathons
including Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai,
but have been disappointed with many of the arrangements
by the organisers. More so because the enthusiastic
first timer gets put off. A few running
tips for organisers of major running
events, and also for participants of what
to expect and what to demand of the organisers are listed
below. Smallers events could use most of these basic
I have been to a few marathons in India where the excuse
for poor organisation is that this is the first time.
Give me a break! This is a the 21st century and we have
a wealth of information available given the thousands
of marathons that have been organised across the world
- both gigantic and very small ones.
sure it's planned and executed as a world class running
event else do not do it!
Its always best to have a non elite runner, who has
participated in a few runs, to be part of the event
management team as then the issues faced by the majority,
can be appreciated, and the details, better planned.
Should definitely have someone from amongst the organisers,
run in the event too, and get 1st hand feedback for
improvement over the entire process.
Pre running event basics:
Heavy publicity is required, and that
too, 3-6 months prior to the event
- it's an event for the whole city and not just for
a few runners. A marathon or half marathon requires
a lot of training on the part of the runners and requires
double the time of the organisers planning all the micro
details; definitely not something that can be planned
for in a couple of months. Give the event and the participants
the respect they deserve.
Provide information on basic running shoes and gear . Runners World magazine
is a great resource and the online
version can be accessed Need a good
website. The Chicago
marathon website is one of the best that
I have seen Provide information, running
schedules, information on running
shoes and running
tips for the beginner runner,
route maps with inclines, water stops, energy drink
stops, spectator and cheering squad stands and locations,
expected weather..... This should also have on-line
registration and credit card payment facilities, with
a swift response to questions posted on-line.
Have the longer runs start early -
7am or even 6am. 5 and 10k runs can start around 8am
but not later.
Provide timely and accurate registration confirmations.
Pre race expo
Proper organisation and signage on
where to pick up what. Plan for the crowds and do not
herd runners around like cattle and expect them to stand
in several lines for several hours. This is the time
when runners need to rest.
Have a few maps of the pre race expo layout at several places for reference of the organisers
and the visitors.
Have as many running and health related
companies participate - I have been to an pre race expo
with a real estate company participating. Give the runners
Hand out extra running route maps with
details on road closures and which roads to use, where
to park, and how to arrive at the start on Race Day.
Also hand out items to cheer with, charts to make cheering
Have a booth where participants can meet with an Indian
runner and get an autograph Posters, key chains,
T shirts and other promotional items in the goodie
bag for each runner
Traffic maps of
roadblocks must be provided to runners, be up on the
website, and run in press ads. Definitely need to include
routes that should be used. I have often found over
zealous traffic police personnel telling people that
the road is closed, but not letting them know, which
road to use.
Signage at the
start and finish area is critical and this is where
ALL events that I have participated in so far, in Delhi
and Mumbai, have messed up. Holding area, start
line, water, toilets...
Toilets are a big
problem in India. Need to plan for one toilet per 50
runners at the start, and a few every 2 miles along the way. These
toilets MUST be clean and have toilet paper or running
water or both, and some light (since many of these will
be visited before sunrise - at the start point). A few
stand alone portable toilets in Mumbai have been fantastic, but the 8-10 cubicle 'mobile' toilets
in Delhi have been a disaster!
Have a megaphone for announcements,
a proper start and finish line with chip mats, crowd
control barricades, starting gun. I have run in the
2006 Delhi marathon where there was no finish line and
Ensure proper holding areas pre start
During the race:
Mile or km markers with digital display clocks
No changing of the route for whatever reason on race
day as this can upset the runner's orientation and planning
be managed well. I have had to run along with traffic
Signage along the running
route must be clear and in abundance, especially
at traffic junctions
and energy drink points must be manned and
stocked till the last runner passes the point. I have
been at mile 24 (39th km) in a marathon with no
water at a water stop!
Medical stations should be placed along the
route, along with a few mobile units.
The organisers and crowd management teams must be acutely
aware that the event is over when the last runner
crosses the finish line and not when the 1st
runner crosses the line. At the 1st Mumbai marathon
I have had to wade through a crowd of dream run participants
and others, just to cross the finish line.
Professional digital photographers along the route and at the finish line and beyond, so
that runners photos can be uploaded to the event website
and ordered on line. Click
After the race:
Finishers should be given their medals (where
eligible) at the finish line and NOT later on
the runners timings should be posted in a timely manner
Announcements, bands, cheering squads... at several
points along the route add to the festivity and involvement
of the city, apart from providing much needed encouragement
to the runners expecially at the finish line
be put up on the website the next day
There are some races – very few, where there is some post race analysis which adds to the fun and entertainment of the race, enables runners to relive the race with their friends, and for the more serious or introspective runner, also enables post race analysis to see how he/she may be able to improve in the next race. Check out what we believe is the best in the business – Zum Run – which was developed in the US and used by us in our first full marathon in Gurgaon – this was the first time that Zum Run was being tested.
Check out some details at http://www.zumtri.com/races
Try them at your next race – contact them directly or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are anywhere in Asia, and we will help you bring great value to your runners, sponsors and to your event.
These are just a few of the basics - if you want to
know more and discuss anything at all for a small or
a large event, contact us at email@example.com and we would be happy to be of any assistance
or provide any information you may need.
For other events, running calendars and details - Click
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