Make Your Race Stand Out

Planning an endurance event is a lot of work!

And we know you’re working hard to make your event amazing. Runners have a multitude of race options to choose from these days, so how do you make yours attractive to new registrants and memorable enough for repeat participants? The same things that attract runners tend to attract great volunteers. What elements of an event make it a positive experience for everyone? Take a look at the categories below for a little inspiration.


Sometimes separating yourself from the pack is as simple as giving away great stuff. (I’ve personally decided between two races based on the design of the medal received at the end. Shallow, I know, but hey! Whatever works!) Look at your budget to decide if there’s an area or two you can spend some extra resources on great take-home items for your runners and volunteers. If you always give away a t-shirt, perhaps this is the year you spend extra on a softer or better fitting shirt or on a higher quality design for your apparel. Or maybe you’d like to branch out from t-shirts and include other branded items such as socks, bags, or towels.

Think of these items as an investment in future races. The more your runners and volunteers use their freebies, the more your race stays on their minds!


Many runners like making their miles count by joining a race that has partnered with a charity or local non-profit organization. Giving back to their community or to a greater cause helps motivate them in their hard work. The same goes for volunteers! How you can you incorporate some meaning into your event? If you have an existing partnership for the event, how can you further integrate it into your planning?

Think specifically about pre-race or post-race activities. Perhaps you can show a video telling a story of someone impacted by your partner or your organization. Or create a display for participants, fans, and volunteers to interact with during down time. A race is a great opportunity to communicate the importance of your mission.


At the end of the day, both runners and volunteers want a well-planned race with a fun atmosphere. Revisit your logistics each year to keep improving how you serve your participants, fans, and volunteers. By anticipating their needs and making their experience simple and enjoyable, you keep building their positive memories and the desire to come back.

These areas surely don’t cover all the ways you can make your race stand out, but use these topics as a starting point in your brainstorming! No matter what length of race you’re planning —3k, 5k, 10k or longer—you can create a memorable experience that keeps your people coming back.




Anne Summers

Anne Summers is a staff writer at VolunteerLocal. She loves good food, great people, and volunteering.