Memo to Race Directors

TO: Race Directors
FROM: Runners
RE: Things we wish you knew


You’re doing a great job, and we understand it’s often a thankless one. We really appreciate the months of preparation and long hours you put into organizing the races we run. But in the spirit of constructive feedback, we have some concerns??we’d like to share with you.

1. Bananas should not be green

Notice the difference?
Notice the difference?

Please have enough bananas that are not green. Nothing sucks more than coming over a finish line after you???ve been dreaming about your beautiful post-race banana, only to find that they are all green and you need to leave it in your car (and hopefully not forget about it!) for 2 days before you can eat it! As every minion knows:??crunchy, bitter bananas are??despicable.

2. Don’t forget the back of the packers

We know that the fast people aren???t going to wait around for us back of the packers to finish and act like they are happy for us taking twice as long as them. But you guys and your volunteers should be!

Please make sure there is enough water and food for us on the course and at the finish line. Nothing worse than giving your best effort only to find the water stop closed because it ran out of cups. Except maybe finishing the race and finding all of the food and drink gone because the faster runners and their families??took it all.

And for that matter, maybe even have an award for the person who comes in last. Chances are, their energy expenditure is at least two times greater than the guy who came in first!

3. Porta potties

Your royal throne awaits!
Your royal throne awaits!

Why are porta potties always an issue? Please make sure there are enough. And if you’re not sure there are enough, trust us, there aren’t. And if you’re confident you have enough… you probably don’t.

We???ve been seeing more races with “Porta Pottie Ambassadors.” These are volunteers who stand at the beginning of the lines and help direct the masses into available porta potties. You see, runners are stupid. We tend to get in one line for every three or four potties, and we can never figure out??which one is ours. Modern Queueing Theory suggests that the most efficient process is to have??one line per potty, but we can’t figure out how to do this on our own. WE’RE STUPID. We need your help.

Oh, and please remember to cut off the zip ties before race day.

4. Race descriptions

A few race directors need some reminders of the difference between hilly and flat. Despite your statements to the contrary, this is not flat:

This is not flat. This is hilly.
This is not flat. This is hilly.

Don???t lie to us. Don???t tell us that there are a few “rollers” when the course is all uphill with a minor downhill for the last 0.1 of the 5K. We may be stupid, but we’re not idiots.

5. Basic race etiquette

Please announce, re-announce, remind and then re-re-announce that all walkers are to start at the back of the pack! We love and encourage participants of all abilities, and there is NOTHING WRONG with walking. But when runners??are trying to get into a groove early in the race, we’re often forced to dodge and weave around tribes of fanny-pack-wearing, four-or-five-abreast-walking men and women doing their Disney Balloon Lady approved 16 minute mile, it’s really unsafe for everyone.

6. Have (good) beer

Fact: Runners love beer
Fact: Runners love beer

Runners are stupid, and we like beer. So naturally, we want to drink beer when we’re done racing. Yes, we sort of understand that it’s only 9:30 am, but in our minds it’s always beer o’clock. So please have beer, but please have good beer. We??might even??pay a higher??race entry fee if your event features a unique craft brewery.

Not all runners are beer drinkers, so how about some alternatives? Vodka is an excellent choice as a post-race refreshment. It can be paired with many nice re-hydrating beverages. Margaritas are also the perfect electrolyte replacing post-race drink: salt and sugar… excellent!

7. Different medals for different distances

If you are going to offer two races at the same time, like a 5k and a half marathon, please have different medals for each race. The longer the miles, the bigger the medal. It’s not cool when you???ve just completed 13.1 long, grueling miles, and you are wandering around in a post-race daze/buzzed state and you see a completely fresh-looking 5K runner wearing??the same medal.

8. Character stops are always welcome

A Pac-Man photo opp would be awesome!
A Pac-Man photo opp would be awesome!

Many runners skip character stops, even at runDisney events. Others (including most of Team Shenanigans) would LOVE to stop??for a picture with Swiffy the Wiffle Ball at mile two! Either way, we all love to see him out there on the course. It breaks up the run with something different and interesting to look at. Keep it fun and if you are going to have a theme, own it. Who??wouldn’t??want a picture with Pac-Man and a Ghost at an 80???s themed run?

9. Mark obstacles well

Runners might take notice of this. Or possibly not.
Runners might take notice of this. Or possibly not.

Runners are stupid. We would turn the wrong way off a 400-meter track if you didn’t post volunteers waving??construction flags??reminding us to go left. Please mark??obstacles in the road well. Maybe have someone drive??the course in the morning to make sure it is clear and OK. It sucks to run by, over or through road kill or having to quickly dodge some other major obstacle??that cropped up since you set up the course.

10. Medals for all races

What do we want? Medals! When do we want them? NOW!
What do we want? Medals! When do we want them? NOW!

Watching kids run their own event is amazing. If you haven’t spectated a kid’s race, you really should. Seeing them cross the finish line after 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters or a full mile, and receiving their medal??is inspiring.??But it also inspires feelings of jealousy! Why do they get a medal for running halfway around the track, but we??don’t get medals for running 3.1 miles. It’s not fair! We’re not suggesting that you take medals away from the kids. But give them to us “bigger kids” too!


These are the items we’d include in a memo to Race Directors. What would you add? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, on Facebook or??Twitter.

Caryn Vita

About Author:

Caryn has been running since March 23, 2013. She always wanted to be a runner but it was hard and she kept quitting. It???s still hard and she still wants to quit, but seems to keep signing up for races and showing up for some reason. She spends most of her weekends driving all over Connecticut to complete races so she can be crowned Queen. She is known for her commitment to finding the perfect training plan - for what no one is sure since she only plans to train. When she gets with her fellow Team Shenanigans teammates, you can be sure the mischief will ensue.

3 thoughts on “Memo to Race Directors

  1. Thanks Andy! We had a lot of fun writing this one! Great team effort! You should have seen what didn’t make the list!! LOL!

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