Confessions from a Course Official

This Race Review comes from a point of view you may never have had a chance to see: A race organizer's perspective!  I played the role of course operations this weekend at the Pride Run 10K/5K.  In a nutshell, while everyone is out setting up the start/finish and the festivities there, I was in charge of getting the course set up for the runners (ie, cones, volunteers, water stations, signs, etc.)

This was like a 1/4 of the cones.  My dreams were full of these things
all night afterwards! lol
How did it go?  It was chaotic, it was stressful, but we pulled it off without any major hiccups!  And this was the first time the Phoenix Frontrunners had used this course (which is USATF certified too!).  The biggest issues were the things from the city we had asked for (cones, etc) were not there on time.  It's a good thing I work in news, so I'm used to cutting it close to extremely tight deadlines. 
Nevertheless, it's a learning experience for all sides. 
The hardest part was getting the right equipment where we needed it on time. All those orange cones and signs might not SEEM like much to a runner, but think about what you'd do if they just weren't there or were in the wrong spot... you would't know where to go!! 

What many runners don't realize is it takes a lot of work to ensure everyone knows where they go, including the volunteers!  We are all out there before the sun rises, and are still there working while the runners are racing off to enjoy a post-race breakfast!  It makes me appreciate everyone who puts on these races and I'll be sure to thank them all the next time I'm on the other side, pounding the pavement. 
my selfie with the race directors

The Phoenix Frontrunners did pull out all the stops on this one though!  The start/finish line festivities were great!  Food trucks, a live band, vendors, AMAZING finish medals, and professional photographers.  Makes me wish every 10k/5k were like that!

Another note to this weekend, the Phoenix Frontrunners organized a Pre-Race Pasta Party atop the Clarendon Rooftop!  $25 for dinner and drinks was pretty great, and I always love the view from atop the Clarendon.  I definitely hope this stays in the race plan because it was an amazing time with everyone that I wish I could only have stayed longer!

These guys helped me pull off magic out on the course last minute! I owe them and all of my "course crew"!

I asked runners afterwards if they had any trouble out on the course, and they said not at all!  So our hard work paid off! So if you want to come run or help out on my side next year, you should definitley do it!

The volunteers were great, the runners extremely enthusiastic and excited, and everyone really had a great time. All in all, the race was successful and I can't wait to help out again!  Maybe one day I'll be able to take on the role of Race Director for a race in the distant future. It's definitely itching at the back of my mind, and give me a few more years as course operations and I'll be ready!


  1. Looks like a race with some amazing energy! Love the bling!!

    1. Bling AND Shirts were very awesome! I'm super jealous I didn't run it! LOL

  2. I LOVE those medals! Way to have a positive outlook on what I'm sure must've been a high-stress day. This sounds like a super fun race!

    1. High energy is always the best kind! Beautiful weather too! And If *I'M* helping with it... of course it's gunna be SUPER FUN! ;-)

  3. what a fun perspective! As a former event planner I love seeing what goes into every event. Though this has made is really hard for me to simply volunteer for things because I get the urge to over-help. I was definitely on one too many planning committees last year...

    1. I used to be a media coordinator/event planner (including for a few races) so I know just what you mean. It would be hard for me to just step back without needing to over-help either. LOL. But always great to put in time and help out on the other side as needed! :)

  4. Replies
    1. It was! My new goal is to help out at races at least once or twice a year. Kind of a way of "giving back".
      I'd like to continue being a course official for this one in years to come as well.


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