The Art of Race Management
Bloomberg Square Mile Relay is a global series which has 13 stops across different continents. 1 mile equals to 1609 metres. 10 runners exchange the baton lap after lap for 10 times. Pacing varies from 3:30/km to 8:30/km. Winner edges by split second.
To organise a race, safety is the utmost concern for any race director, which makes the route or layout design per se very scientific, requiring lots of measurement and calculations. Typical questions we have to answer while designing a route may include:
What is the exact distance, width and angle of turn?
Which part of the route is lacking of lighting (if a night run)?
Which part of the route is uneven?
Which turn is too sharp?
Which passage is too narrow?
How about public crossings for pedestrians?
How quick can the medics attend to an emergency case?
Are the signages clear or confusing?
Do we need water stations?
In order to build one safe running route, the race director and team may need to revisit the route as many as over 30 times and fine tune every possible detail of the turning plan and signage plan.
Safety aside, photo-friendliness is another key element for races nowadays. Runners like to be captured by professional photographers while they are sprinting towards the goal line, by which they can review their postures and keep a record of the race for performance improvement. Not less importantly, they can share the race photos on social media for the positive vibe, inspiration to others, influencer brand building, and so on.
Now comes another set of questions:
Where are the best spots for taking runner photos?
Will it be safe enough for the photographer to stay there?
Is the lighting good enough for a nice photo?
Will the runner be able to show a natural running posture and facial expression at that camera angle?
What will be in the background of the image?
It’s true that we are now in an era of sportainment and sports tourism. Much like days way before that, however, there are countless aspects to take care of in a race IF you want to make it professional, a benchmark or a breakthrough. For example, location selection, volunteer management, sponsorship liaison, runner experience, on-site crowd control, enquiries response time, and media monitoring. It’s always a mix of scientific and artistic perspectives when it comes to participant experience and there is no definite formula to the success of a race. But with meticulous, logical and systematic planning, and a touch of creativity, the sky’s the limit to how you can better race management.