Dear RDs: 5 things runners want from you

If you could talk to a race director, wouldn’t you like to tell them what you want from your race?

This Friday Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run, the brains behind the Friday Five Linkup, gave us free reign. But I decided to keep it in the 5 things format.

Because all runners have scratched their heads, wondering why race directors do the things they do. And if you’ve ever directed a race, feel free to weigh in!

Let us transfer bibs or defer!
Transferring bibs just seems like a win-win to me, so I’m not sure why more races don’t allow it. My guess it it’s a logistical headache for the race crew, but wouldn’t the goodwill it incurred be worth the extra work?

I like to sign up for races early, but I rarely do. Even though I don’t have an incredibly busy life, I have elderly parents. elderly animals, a husband who travels for work sometimes, and let’s face it — sometimes craziness or illness happens and that race you signed up for at the beginning of the year becomes a burden instead of a joy.

I love races that allow you to defer! Not that I’ve run one yet, but I’ve been eyeing a few. I love the possibility of signing up early but having an escape hatch just in case.

Enough water and food for everyone
I have run more than one half where there was no water left for us back of the packers. And once there were no cups.

How expensive are cups and water? Get too much. Do you really want people complaining all over the Internet about how poorly your race was organized?

And then there was the race that promised chocolate milk fresh from the cows. I’m not even a chocolate milk lover, but I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately it was available to both the public and the racers and I bet you can guess just how much I got.

Lower price option for no tee or medal
Just how many race tees can you wear? I do wear mine: I like to train in them, to remind me of the races I’ve already trained for and run; and I walk the dogs in them and cross train in them too.

There comes a point, though, when enough is enough. When I’d rather pay less for the race and skip the tee. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this one.

And those medals for shorter races? Kind of cool, but quite frankly, I don’t have the emotional attachment to them (all two of them) that I do to my medals from my halfs (and you can also read my musings on medals for everyone, too).

Useful swag instead of the Tee
And speaking of race tees . . . one of my cherished possessions is my beer glass from Runnin’ of the Green (even though I don’t drink, it’s a nice size for smoothies). The socks from ZOOMA Annapolis were much appreciated. The insulated bag and coffee cup from Redding Road Race.

All things that I use and remind me of the race. I’d much rather get something useful than a tee. Or another RoadID discount.

For God’s sake, have it end flat or downhill!
I know I’m not alone on this one!

Austin. Montreal. ZOOMA Annapolis. Heartbreak Hill. Just some of my halfs that have have had monster hills at the end of the race.

Actually, ZOOMA didn’t have a monster hill at the end, but there was a small hill, and all the heat, humidity, and relentless hills before that definitely made a mountain out of that mole hill.

And yes, I signed up for it at Heartbreak Hill.

Even so, I’m sure we runners agree (and that running survey that has been floating around definitely agrees) that we would prefer to run the hills in the beginning, not at the end).

 What would you like to tell or ask a race director?

29 thoughts on “Dear RDs: 5 things runners want from you

  1. I’m with you on the t-shirts and medals. I have so many t-shirts many end up being cut into rags for me to clean my bike. Alternate swag is definitely nice, but I’d prefer a less expensive entry fee and no swag to cheapo swag (I got a cheap duffel bag from Escape from alcatraz tri – there was no strap adjust and it ripped after 3 days of my son trying to use it)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know it can be a logisitical nightmare to do bib transfers. But I’m with you on that one! I don’t even need to be able to transfer or defer 24 hours before, even if the cut off was a month before I would be happy, especially with races that are incredibly high demand, where I know they’d be able to find a racer to take my spot if needed. I am with you on the hills too, it doesn’t matter how steep it always feels like the worst one!

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    1. I’ve never had to DNS or defer, but I have come close a few times. It would be sooooo nice to have that option. And yes, especially for the higher demand races!

      Actually our local half/full is a higher demand and apparently they DO allow it (I’ve never run it).


    1. I do wear a lot of them — not too many to run in, only a few are good for that — but they work well for walking the dogs.

      In fact, I’m sitting in one right now because it’s what I walked the dogs in this morning!


  3. I found your post through the Friday Five Linkup.

    I love it when races offer a no shirt option and I will take advantage of it. Unless the shirt is a fitted ladies tech tee I really don’t want it. I’m super small and the shirts just never fit so I started getting my mom’s size and giving them to her because she walks each day. I have 2 big reusable bags of race shirts I don’t wear!

    I’ve never understood why races didn’t allow transfers, at least in advance because day-of the race they are very busy. It’s super easy for the timing company to switch the names out. I’m friends few timing company operators and race directors and know just how easy it is…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I use a lot of my race tees for walking the dogs. They actually do come in really handy for that — otherwise I’m stuck in cotton!

      I guess I should have clarified on my post — I meant before the day of the race transfer.

      I didn’t know it was that easy — so that just begs the question why are they so anti-transfer?


  4. I agree on the swag. I rarely use the race t-shirts because I never like them. I don’t like the tech-tee fabric, and they never fit me quite right. But I love when the race gives out something different, like socks! I have the best socks from 2 different races – Garry Bjorklund Half (part of the Grandma’s series here in MN), and the Minnesota Mile. They’re great!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m OK with hills but how about in the first half of the race? Disney’s half marathon has an on ramp up to the road going back to EPCOT, and it’s at mile 10. They want me to run up it?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree on all your points. I think that every race should have a sports drink instead of water. That’s just me. I think all races should be hill less. That’s just me. I think all races should require runners to wear deodorant. That’s just me. Oh and one last thing. I think all races should have a beer/margarita option at the end. Not everyone loves beer!!!!!.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We have a fee local races that offer a discount if you don’t get the shirt. Usually it’s only $5 or so but still it’s nice to have that option. I agree w having something extra at the end. J&A race series in VA Beach always ofFer great swag. I’ve gotten hats, beach towels, tumblers, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I do not like an uphill finish either. We have one locally that has an incredibly steep hill at the end. Everybody walks it. By the way, using Rafflecopter is not required for the giveaway hop. I didn’t even use it the first I participated! I’ve learned to use it since.

    Liked by 1 person

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