Category Archives: Race Directors

2014 Race Rankings

What are the best local races to include on your calendar? According to the recent Runners Survey most people find races to run based on recommendations from other runners. Now you can get those recommendations without having to actually ask your running friends because I’ve saved you the time! You can use your long run to discuss politics, the best shows on The Food Network or the flaws of the college football playoff system. You’re welcome.

I got responses from just over 100 runners and they were asked several running related questions and the final section asked them to rate 17 local races. I didn’t include every single race in town. There are a bunch of races that are just fun-runs and don’t even claim to be a race. There are tons of “One Hit Wonders” that appear for a year and then never happen again. I tried to select 16 races that had at least two years of successful running and met a basic level of race organization. If you are a race director of an event not listed and want to know how your race scored or you want to be included in next year’s survey, let me know!

Now for some nerdy statistical stuff. I asked for runners to rate the race only if they had run it in the last two years so each race had about 20-30 actual scores to get their average. You’ll notice the scores are pretty darn close! I ranked by the percentage of runners who scored the race “Good (4 stars)” or “Excellent (5 stars).” I also listed the average number of stars for each race which would shuffle the ranking slightly. However, that isn’t really the point here. Is the #1 race MUCH better than the #7 race? Nope. I listed the best scoring events to recognize the TOP events in town. All of these are really well-done races and easily worth the cost of the entry fee. A difference of 0.5 on the average star score is not statistically significant. The spread between all of the races below is 0.66 so all of these races were highly rated by the runners who did the events and the scores are extremely close.

Me with Bobby from Lloyd Clarke Sports. Bobby has three races in the top 7, including #1- Newnan's Lake!
Me with Bobby from Lloyd Clarke Sports. Bobby has three races in the top 7, including #1- Newnan’s Lake!

Race                           %  that scored the race 4-5 Stars         # of runners                 Average stars

Newnan’s Lake 15K 90.26 261 4.49
5 Points of Life Half Marathon 90.25 681 4.44
LGAA 5K at Ironwood 86.2 385 4.21
Season of Hope 5K 81.81 339 4.18
Turkey Trot 10K 81.8 565 4.32
Flatwoods 5K 78.58 167 4.43
Trail of Payne 10K 75.68 244 4.16
5 Points of Life 5K 72.73 354 4.14
WOBtoberfest 5K 70.37 172 3.93
Season of Hope 15K 68.42 102 3.84
Payne’s Prarie 5K 66.67 166 3.83
Haven Hospice 10K 66.67 146 3.83
Haven Hospice 5K 65 514 4.00
Race the Tortoise 5K 64.71 247 4.06
CHEERS! to all the top ranked races! We appreciate the hard work it takes to put on a race!
CHEERS! to all the top ranked races! We appreciate the hard work it takes to put on a race!

For reference, here’s the link to the 2013 survey:

A note for statistical comparison from last year to this year- the survey site I used changed how the 5-stars system and blended averages are calculated. Last year’s ranking was based on the average stars metric expressed as a %. Confused? I was too for a while. The bottom line is this: If you want a baseline score from last survey to compare directly to this year, I can do that for you. I’m not sure there is a huge benefit to that unless you’re a nerd but if you want it, I can do it!


Why run a 5K wearing Leder Hosen? Well, the better question is: Why not?

Many of us take our running pretty seriously and strive to get optimal performance out of our bodies each race or workout. Some of us use all sorts of products to enhance our performance or at least make it more survivable. GPS watches and heart rate monitors to zero in on optimal pace, special compression clothing to enhance muscular endurance, sweat wicking fabric shorts and shirts to keep cool and of course shoes with the latest lightweight foam midsole that will propel our feet faster than ever. Don’t forget the leder hosen and Alpine hat.

WOB pic 1

My friend, Kevin Love and his band or merry men and women known as the Running Tabs put on a race worthy of German costumes and post-race beer consumption. A course winding through Town of Tioga and ending near World of Beer isn’t a bad way to get in a race. The course was well marked and accurate so those who started drinking before the run didn’t get lost. The race registration included a nice pint glass and tickets for beer. The awards were fantastic. (Thanks Lloyd Clarke’s and Oakley!) Atmosphere after the race included a kid’s game area, music, and of course beer. The whole event struck a nice balance of a well-run, competitive race and a lot of fun.

Racing is serious business!
Racing is serious business!

Since Kevin and his crew set up a good balance, I decided to strike my own balance for the race. I ran hard, competed and took the running part seriously. I also wore a costume, had a beer with friends and completely enjoyed the whole event.

Race Results:

Here’s my note to Race Directors: Set the stage for the runners to have the full range of accomplishment, fun, competitiveness, social enjoyment and a unique atmosphere. If you hit all the bases well, you expand your audience. This race was a first time event and it was not run on a big budget. You don’t have to be a big event to pull it off. You don’t have to be an experienced race director to make it work. A lot of work is involved and having good teamwork with your core volunteers is essential. Gather your vision for an event; get some key people to buy into your event vision and then make it happen! I bet if you showed up at one of Kevin’s group runs, he’d be happy to log a few miles with you and give you his tips! The word is you can get priceless race director advice from him for the cost of a pint of beer.


Hat tip to Kevin Love
Hat tip to Kevin Love
WOB pic3
With Dan Stoner (2nd Place) and John Davis (ran 2 5Ks that morning!)
WOB Pic 5
Ann Elise the fastest Lady!
WOB pic 4
Team Lloyd Clarke and future Team Lloyd Clarke members

WOB Pic 6 WOB Pic 7 WOB pic 8

Minimal Race Requirements

Minimal Race requirements:

Course Measurement & markings

  • Accurate total distance for race
  • Accurate mile markers on course- Make it obvious.      Use a colorful sign, line on the road etc.
  • Clear marking on ground at every turn- flour      arrows, spray paint, signs, flagging tape, cones, etc.
  • Confidence markers at a minimum of every 100      meters
  • Volunteers present at major turns
  • Appropriate traffic control (Police or      volunteers)
  • Avoid turns for the first 100-200 meters and the      last 100-200 meters
  • Manage the finish chute- Don’t let it back up and      have a long enough chute for the fastest runner not the average runner

Complete course safety checks

  • Appropriate course maintenance completed before      start of race
  • Cutting low-lying limbs
  • Removing debris along running route
  • Flag potentially hazardous spots- roots, uneven      pavement
  • Completing one ‘run through’ of the course before      the actual race


  • Accurate times (rounded to nearest second for      hand timing or nearest 1/10 of a second for automatic/ chip timing) logged      for every runner- may use chip timing, pull-tags and computer or hand      timing (for small events).
  • Results including times for each runner and age      groups posted online within 24 hours
Chip timing is how you get results up in a timley manner!
Chip timing is how you get results up in a timley manner!

Water stops

  • One water stop approximately every 2 miles
  • No ice
  • Paper cups
  • Adequate volunteers to hand out water
  • Gatorade available for      races over 6 miles
  • Clearly identify Gatorade stops separately from      water stops

Other organizational requirements

  • Punctual Race Start
  • Available bathrooms- at least 1 “seat“ per 100      runners
  • Minimal recognition / ribbons for 5 yr age group      awards (9&Under, 10-14,15-19,20-24 etc)
  • Have a medical plan in place and some level of      medical staff on site: Doctor, nurse, EMT, or other trained first      responder