and loud cheering. The Bull Run stampede, started very late, was very dark through the woods, poorly marked and nearly impossible to complete without risking life and limb. While I was 5th across the line in Centreville and 3rd in Richmond, I will not be doing the Northern Virginia event again, while I am planning on recommending the “Tacky Lights” event. That a first year event should sell out so fast and outperform a veteran event was unfortunate, but gives me a “teaching moment.”
1. If you are going to have a race at night, make sure that the roadway is illuminated for the runners, not just those lucky to be following the lead car. In Richmond, strategically placed police and volunteer’s vehicles had their lights shining on the road where there were no overhead or holiday lights.
2. Have separate lines for “pre-registered” and “race day registrants,” otherwise, folks who have prepaid wait in long, cold lines, with little children, for no good reason.
3. If you see that you are going to be lucky enough to have a full race, reserve adequate volunteers for registration, marshaling turns, waters stops, mile markers, and not just the finish line. Make sure that there are sufficient police and port-a-johns, lest you have a riot on your hands.
4. If you advertise a warm waiting area &/or bonfire to keep families warm, have a safe warm place for them.
5. Have your starting line wide enough to accommodate the size field you have collected money from, and clear instructions as to the pace expected towards the front of the event. Having elves with signs was a wonderful touch at the “Tacky Lights” run !
6. Bag drops at big races, especially those that hold themselves out as “family friendly,” makes parking close by the start/finish line less of an issue.
Stay tuned next week for race reports from both of these seasonal events.