Jess’ How To…Host a Successful 5K!

Image courtesy of Gamma Man’s photostream.

On Your Mark…

Get Set…


Okay, it’s not that easy but you CAN pull off a successful 5k fundraiser and I’m going to show you how.  But first, let’s understand why you would want to hold a 5k fundraiser in the first place.  What are your goals? Typically, these races are held to raise funds for a particular cause.  This can be to raise money for a local sports team, to promote and raise funds for a Cancer Foundation or to support your local Farmer’s Market.  The reasons for a 5k Fundraiser are innumerous but important so ensure you know why you want to do this before you begin planning!  From here, follow these simple steps to ensure that you pull off the perfect 5k Fundraiser!

1.    Determine the specifics of your goal.  How much money do you need to raise? If there isn’t a specific number, perhaps you want to bring in X number of race participants.  Knowing these specific figures will help you understand what you need to do to promote the race ahead of time and what the cost will look like.

2.    Set the date and location.  If this is your first 5k race (or you just want to make this easy) use a course that’s already been designated prior in the year.  This saves you a lot of time and gives you a leg up with the volunteers.  Police, medical and other volunteers will already be familiar with the route and should require very little preparation.  Set your date and location at least two months prior to race day.  Failing to do so will ultimately result in a poor turnout.

3.    Line up your volunteers.  For a 5k, you should consider about 15 volunteers.  Volunteers will need to man the course, ensure participants stay on the right path, hand out water, direct runners to restrooms, and so on.  Volunteers are usually easy to find.

4.    Gear Up!  You’ll need a lot so start stocking away now so you are prepared for race day!  You’ll need registration tables, starting line tape, traffic cones to direct your runners, drinking stations, starting gun or horn, awards, and a sound system.

5.    Market your race! There are many ways to do this and to keep your cost down.

a.    Print off flyers.  They don’t have to be special, just simple to read and posted EVERYWHERE! Think about coffee shops, local schools, libraries, banks, churches, local businesses, your place of employment, gyms, YMCA, running clubs.  All of these locations are typically willing to help out, especially if it’s going to support their local economy!

b.    Set up your race online. is a great way to promote your race alongside all of the other local races. is one of the best, and most used, sites to map the route and allow people to start training and interacting with each other long before race day even comes.

c.    Get social.  You know it already, Facebook, Craigslist and e-mails are a great way to spread the word.  If you have a goal of 5,000 participants, include that message to increase the excitement from current and prospective participants!

d.    Press Releases DO work.  Make sure you send your message out to all the area media outlets.  They may pick up your story and could even offer you an interview!

When it comes down to it, your race can be as simple or detailed as you’d like.  If it’s your first race, make it simple.  Raise the funds, get your community’s support and have fun! The following years hold more potential and will bring back volunteers and workers who will be happy to help make it even better than last year!

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