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Running USA Resources and Guides

As part of its mission to educate, inform and support the running industry, Running USA is continually working to develop content on a variety of race-related topics and issues. These content pieces are created both by our staff, which researches and interviews our members to draw from their expertise, and our Running USA Content Committee.

If you would like to contribute a piece of content to this resource library, we welcome your contribution. We also encourage those with expertise in all areas of race production to reach out to Running USA DIrector of Marketing and Communications Leah Etling at leah@runningusa.org to be a source for an upcoming content piece, offer to write an article for inclusion here, or simply to suggest a topic. 

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Add the documents you would like to read to your shopping cart. All content is free for Running USA members. After checking out of your cart, each article will be emailed to you within minutes. Not a member of Running USA? These resources are just one of our many member benefits. Learn more about the benefits and sign up here.

Race Production Guide
Race Production Guide
Putting on a road race, even a small one, can be a daunting challenge. There are so many important details to plan for before the runners can toe the start line – or enter the finish chute. Running USA has the collective industry knowledge of thousands of endurance event professionals and is pleased to bring first time race directors this guide to putting on your first 5K, with the help of our experienced members.
Non-member price: 50.00
Member price: 0.00
50.00
Running USA Case Study: Event Insurance
Running USA Case Study: Event Insurance
Austin’s Statesman Capitol 10,000 (Cap10K) is a committed advocate for liability and cancellation insurance. Find out why and what your event can learn from their recent experiences.
15.00
Government Relations Best Practices
Government Relations Best Practices
10 years ago, Patrice Matamoros and her team relaunched the Pittsburgh Marathon. Along the way, she learned a number of valuable lessons about the best ways to establish strong relationships with local government and gain support for endurance events. Find practical takeaways on government relations in this white paper.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
15.00
Attracting and Engaging Event Volunteers
Attracting and Engaging Event Volunteers
As a race director, you have to be on top of everything. Often, attention to volunteers sometimes comes late in event planning. But for best results from your volunteer program, you’ll want to have a strong organizational structure in place that begins with your staff team and branches out to a robust and motivated network of volunteers.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
15.00
Running USA Guide: Race Command Centers
Running USA Guide: Race Command Centers
Increasingly, especially due to yearlong extreme weather conditions nationwide, command centers have become absolute necessities for events of all sizes. They’re scalable in size, meaning they range from a single race director with an operations binder and a radio or cell phone (aka “walking command”) to a tricked-out operations command that could be confused for the control room for a NASA space shuttle launch. More than likely, your event’s command center will fall somewhere in between. Make sure you are following established best practices with help from this guide.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
15.00
Pitching to Win Sponsors
Pitching to Win Sponsors
Gain insights on how to nail your next sponsor pitch with this best practice guide featuring the experiences of Mascot Sports' Tim Cole in the Running USA Pitch Fest Presented by Brooks Running at the 2019 Industry Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Incident Case Study: Overcoming an Overturned Tanker Truck
Incident Case Study: Overcoming an Overturned Tanker Truck
Lessons in responding fast to an unexpected obstacle at the Corporate Dash 5K from San Diego Running Company, with key takeaways for handling a last minute emergency at any event.
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Event Marketing Questions Answered
Event Marketing Questions Answered
For this Running USA White Paper, marketing expert Andy Reilly, speaker on marketing at the 2018 Running USA Accelerator Series, answered the five most common questions he receives about event marketing on a regular basis. Andy is the founder and CEO of Eventgrow, a marketing consulting and production firm in California that works with many endurance industry clients and Running USA members.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
15.00
Kids Program Best Practices
Kids Program Best Practices
As running programs across the country look towards the future, many have recognized that one of the best ways to ensure a future generation of committed runners is to nurture them as kids. As a result, most large races have incorporated some type of youth running program into their organizational mission statements and priorities. Two extremely successful programs produced by Running USA members are the Cowtown Marathon’s CALF Program in Fort Worth, Texas and the Orange County Marathon’s Kids Run the OC program in Southern California. Learn what makes their efforts to get kids running so successful and how you can adopt some of their best practices.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Running USA Case Study: Starting from Scratch
Running USA Case Study: Starting from Scratch
Tes Sobomehin Marshall led the Atlanta-based Unity Collective to the start line for a half-marathon and 5K called The Race, celebrating community and diversity, in October 2018. Here’s what she learned from the experience of starting a brand new event based on an important mission: to celebrate and support the diversity of the distance running industry.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Running USA Guide: Medical Operations for Road Races
Running USA Guide: Medical Operations for Road Races
The medical care plan for road races can vary from simple to complex. Larger races are set up to deliver onsite care to reduce the patient load on the community medical system and have systems in place to respond to life-threatening medial problems. All races, including smaller races, should develop a medical plan for runner safety that has a written set of safety parameters. This comprehensive guide from Dr. William O. Roberts, medical director of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, covers the basics of race day medical planning and preparation.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Applying a Sustainability Lens to Road Race Events
Applying a Sustainability Lens to Road Race Events
Most road race organizers want to do right by the environment and be seen by their audiences as doing so, but aren’t always sure what that means in practice beyond putting out recycling bins next to the trashcans. There’s also a misconception that sustainability is something separate from existing operations. The Managing Director for the Council for Responsible Sport has relevant suggestions on how the running industry can improve.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Race Cancellation Case Study
Race Cancellation Case Study
In November of 2018, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation was faced with the challenge of cancelling a popular destination half marathon with less than 12 hours to start time due to California's most deadly wildfire of all time. Learn from their experience with valuable takeaways for anyone who is faced with a race cancellation situation.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Operations Tips
Operations Tips
With a robust portfolio of their own races and high volume of timing and consulting work for nearly 100 additional events on the Eastern Seaboard, Jerry and Amy Frostick of J&A Racing are well known nationwide for their event production expertise. We caught a few minutes of Jerry’s time to bend his ear about operations day musts. Here are some tips that are among his “musts” for a successful race production experience.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Sponsor Activation Best Practices
Sponsor Activation Best Practices
For new and up-and-coming races, finding interested sponsors and closing the deal on their support can be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face. But that’s not the only hurdle. There’s also something called “activation” – which is best described as how your connect your sponsor with the people they’re most interested in: your runners. Activations can be mutually beneficial, and for best results you want them to have value for everyone involved: your runners, your supporting partners, and you as the catalyst bringing them together.
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Runner Clinics Best Practices
Runner Clinics Best Practices
Should you offer a Runner Clinic at your event expo? Legendary race director Dave McGillivray weighs in on what it takes to make a participant clinic worthwhile and successful - here are the factors to consider before you add a clinic to your event. schedule
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Ambassador Programs Best Practices
Ambassador Programs Best Practices
There’s no marketing quite like word of mouth. Hearing about your event from a successful and satisfied past participant can be an exceptional way to find new participants, and all you’ll need to do is get your Ambassadors organized, motivated, and set up for success. Here are some tips for creating a successful Race Ambassador Program
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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When Weather Pushes Your Start Time
When Weather Pushes Your Start Time
A look at how the 40th anniversary Cowtown Marathon responded to weather conditions that threatened three of its six weekend events: and what you can do to prepare for adverse weather conditions that might affect your event.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers
Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers
Recruiting and retaining volunteers is often one of the challenges race directors stress out about. But at Cincinnati’s Flying Pig, a 20-year history of strong volunteerism has created a finely tuned machine of a volunteer program. Learn from the best practices of the Flying Pig, which brings in more than 8,000 volunteers for its race weekend each year.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
15.00
Sustainable Event Best Practices
Sustainable Event Best Practices
These days, you’re golden if you’re green. That’s certainly the case for the Cal International Marathon, a major Northern California race that takes place each December. In 2018, Cal International earned prestigious Gold Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, the endurance industry’s longstanding monitoring body and provider of guidelines and assessment for environmental race production practices. Learn how they did it and what you can do to improve your race footprint.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Reducing Race Day Piracy
Reducing Race Day Piracy
Experienced race producers are realistic about the reality that runners may try to swap or sell their bibs to others – and take proactive steps to address it. Most sign-up waivers include very clear policies that prohibit swapping or selling one’s registered entries. FAQs, website rules and policies, personal emails with race day directions and word of mouth are all employed as ways to combat bib swapping.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Website Best Practices
Website Best Practices
Within seconds, a visitor to a website makes a split-second judgment about a variety of decisions that can impact a race's bottom line financially. It is essential to know and follow website best practices that not only function effectively but also reflects an ongoing dialogue with the main visitor - runners. Here are three best website practices every race should have.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Race Day Announcers Best Practices
Race Day Announcers Best Practices
Having an announcer at your running event is a great way to get the crowd energized, keep everyone organized and headed toward the start line on time, and generally provide a sense of professionalism and excitement to the race day experience. Do you need an announcer? Industry experts concur that any race with over 500 participants should definitely have someone on the microphone. Here's how to pick the right person for the role.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Tech Platform
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Tech Platform
There are many providers of cloud-based endurance industry technology systems, which range from very simple services handling just one aspect of the race experience to comprehensive, soup-to-nuts platforms that include customized websites, social media integration, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. When selecting a technology provider for your new event, you’ll want to consider the following questions and participate in product demonstrations from the companies that best fit your needs.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
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Lessons for Running from the Yoga World
Lessons for Running from the Yoga World
At Running USA 2018, Kirsten Fleming was one of four panelists who took to the stage to discuss the most challenging issue faced by the running industry currently – the competition for runners’ time and dollars in a world where group fitness activities have become more popular and accessible than ever. Here are 5 things that endurance professionals can learn from the surging yoga business.
Non-member price: 15.00
Member price: 0.00
15.00