How To Host A 5K, 10K or Half Marathon in North/South Carolina

Apr 19, 2023

In over 20 years of serving clients and hosting our own events we’ve learned the secret formula of hosting successful races. Hosting a running race can be a big undertaking, but with careful planning and preparation, it can be a rewarding experience.

The key things to consider include:

Your Goals

The Race Course

Race Registration


Sport Event timing and managment

Permits and Insurance

Promotion and Marketing



Post-Race Activities


Race Checklist

Your Goals: The most important question you can ask before you decide to host a race is “...what do I hope to accomplish by hosting this race?...” Many times it’s not obvious until a client has a conversation with one of our race professionals.

Race Course: Choose a safe and accessible course for the race, and ensure that it is properly marked and measured. Consider factors such as traffic flow, terrain, and weather conditions.

Race Registration: Set up a registration process for runners to sign up for the race. This can be done online or in person, and should include information on the race fees, deadlines, and any required waivers or medical information.

Volunteers: Recruit volunteers to help with various aspects of the race, such as registration, course marshaling, water stations, and finish line management.

Timing and Scoring: Determine how the race will be timed and scored. This can be done manually, with stopwatches and paper records, or electronically with chip timing systems.

Permits and Insurance: Obtain any necessary permits and insurance for the race. This may include permits from local government agencies, insurance to cover liability and medical expenses, and any necessary waivers or release forms for participants.

Promotion and Marketing: Promote the race to potential participants through various channels, such as social media, local news outlets, and community organizations. Consider offering early-bird discounts, referral incentives, or other promotions to encourage signups.

Logistics: Plan for logistics such as parking, transportation, and equipment rentals. Make sure that all necessary supplies and equipment are available on race day, such as water, food, medical supplies, and safety equipment.

Communication: Keep participants informed of race details, such as start times, course maps, and any changes or updates. Provide clear and concise instructions to volunteers, staff, and participants to ensure a smooth and safe race experience.

Post-Race Activities: Plan for post-race activities, such as awards ceremonies, refreshments, and entertainment. Consider sending out post-race surveys to participants to gather feedback and improve future races.

Budget: Develop a budget for the race, taking into account all expenses such as permits, insurance, equipment rentals, supplies, and staff. Consider sources of funding such as sponsorships, donations, and entry fees.

Race Checklist: Use this checklist for your own race, keeping in mind that not all races require all of these steps.

Race Flyer Information

In the modern era races use online registration and we encourage all clients to use that method. However if you want to have a written entry form it should include the following information:

  • Date of race
  • Start time
  • Start and finish site(s), directions, transportation, parking information
  • Race distance
  • Course description (include terrain, landmarks, mile markers, elevation)
  • Course map
  • Course certification number (optional)
  • Sponsoring/assisting organizations
  • Municipalities recognition
  • Sponsor/contributor recognition
  • Age groups/Awards
  • Awards/Prizes (with depth in each category)
  • Club/corporate team categories/prizes (team rules spelled out), if applicable
  • Time/Location of awards ceremony
  • Amenities (Tshirt, etc. and when they need to register by)
  • Tshirt/package pickup information
  • Race information contact/address/telephone number
  • Entry fee (spell out nonrefundable!), entry deadline, check payable to...
  • Number pickup information
  • Mailing address (on the application part to be mailed and on the information part kept by the athlete)
  • Race limit, if applicable
  • Refreshments
  • Clinics and other related activities

Entry Form
  • Name, address (street, city, state, zip), telephone, email, social handles
  • Age and date of birth, sex
  • Where applicable: Special category and team/club designation, estimated finish time
  • Signature (parent or guardian if under 18) acknowledging Waiver of Liability


  • Distribute the entry from through mailing, running stores, gyms and other races
  • Posters
  • Press announcements (calendar listing) to local newspapers, running magazines
  • Television/Radio public service announcements
  • Press releases
  • Neighborhood flyer
  • Assign race photographer
  • For participants photo’s (sales) and
  • For documentation and future sponsor presentation

Pre Race

During the months preceding the race, the following tasks should be accomplished:

  • Parade Permits
  • Certificates of Insurance
  • Course measurement and certification
  • Course miles marked
  • Signage prepared for course and race site
  • Police Liaison/details arranged
  • Fire department notified
  • Hospitals notified/Ambulance services arranged or notified
  • Press/Course vehicles obtained
  • Tshirts/other giveaway items obtained
  • Race numbers/Safety pins obtained
  • Entry forms filed in alphabetical order and entry fees deposited

Volunteer committees established and captains appointed for:
  • registration
  • publicity and promotion
  • sponsors and donations
  • timing and scoring
  • medical
  • aid stations
  • course security/marshals/communications
  • results posting and distribution
  • awards
  • refreshments/cleanup

Runner's information prepared for distribution and/or posting on race day:
  • Medical/weather information
  • Timing/starting lineup information
  • Course map with mile markers and aid stations
  • Clothing/check in/changing facilities/showers
  • Results posting

Race Day

Final details for a smooth running and safe race:

  • Course/informational signs posted Volunteer/Official area assembled
  • tables/chairs/signage posted
  • coffee/refreshments
  • Tshirt/Official identification
  • Instructional briefings prepared

Preregistered runners area
  • list/printout posted
  • number pickup
  • tshirt/packet pickup

Registration area setup
  • entry forms/pens/pencils
  • race numbers/pins
  • race packets
  • cash box/change
  • Trouble table setup
  • Police briefed
  • Course officials/marshals briefed
  • Start/Finish officials briefed
  • Official photographer(s) briefed (provide with shotlist)
  • Press/Course vehicle drivers briefed (someone very familiar with course should serve as guide in each vehicle!)
  • Trailsweep vehicle driver briefed (provide vehicle with water, cups, blankets, firstaid kit, etc.)
  • Official starter equipped and briefed
  • Start/finish banner(s) mounted
  • Start/finish review stands assembled
  • PA system(s) bullhorns functioning

Start/Finish line equipment in place:
  • pace/seeding signs
  • finish tape
  • chute materials (stanchions, rope)
  • digital clock
  • timing system
  • computer system (working)
  • recording sheets, clipboards, pencils for timers, select timers, bib number recorders
  • tables/chairs
  • electric power hookup (generator)
  • water station setup
  • Restroom facilities in place
  • Clothing checkin in place

Medical area setup

  • isolated, covered area near finish line
  • supervising MD and qualified nurses, EMT's
  • communications
  • ice, IV's, hot and cold fluids, cots, blankets
  • immediate triage capability

Water stations materials in place:
  • water on course
  • electrolyte replacement fluid at finish line
  • cups
  • pitchers
  • tables
  • barrels/trash bags
  • rakes (for cleanup)

Course material in place:
  • mile/kilometer markers
  • directional arrows
  • water/aid station markers
  • communication equipment/personnel (ham radio volunteers)
  • stop watches for mile split callers

Results area functioning:
  • isolated area close to finish line
  • tables/chairs
  • electric power hookup
  • computer and printer
  • preprinted awards/results sheets

Refreshments area functioning:

  • tables
  • ice
  • knives, forks, spoons (depends on foods available), napkins
  • trash barrels/bags

Awards area functioning:

  • tables/chairs
  • podium/announcing stand
  • PA system
  • awards display area, with awards arranged in order of distribution
  • results posting board/area

Post Race

  • Cleanup accomplished (course, start and finish area, locker rooms, etc.)
  • Press release with results
  • Post race stories/photos to press
  • Post race mailing to participants
  • Thank you's to sponsors, volunteers, contributors, municipalities, facility owners
  • Postrace evaluation meeting with organizing committee
  • Volunteer/Officials party

So now that you know what it takes to host a 5K, 10K or Half Marathon you have some options: host it yourself (and use the information in this blog post as a reference point) or hire professionals.

Areas Of Service

Since 2000 Epic Sports Marketing has been providing the best prices for professional event timing, race management, timing services, event production services and online marketing in the following areas:

  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • Charlotte
  • Raleigh
  • Greensboro
  • Durham
  • Winston Salem
  • Fayetteville
  • Cary
  • Wilmington
  • High Point
  • Concord
  • South Carolina
  • Columbia
  • Charleston
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Rock Hill
  • Greenville
  • Summerville
  • Sumter
  • Goose Creek
  • Hilton Head Island
  • Florence
  • Spartanburg

Our clients include:

  • 540 Interactive
  • Adidas
  • Advanced Concepts in Medicine
  • Advocare International
  • Avalon Park Associates
  • Baker Spa Manufacturing
  • Base Camp Cancer Foundation
  • Central Florida Sports Commission Inc.
  • Central Florida YMCA
  • Century 21
  • Chick Fil-A
  • City of Statesville
  • Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce
  • David’s World Cycle
  • Disney
  • Emerald Coast Events Commission Inc.
  • Event Marketing & Managing Inc.,
  • Exclusive Sports Marketing Inc.
  • Florida Sports Commission 
  • Inc.
  • Florida Basketball and Volleyball Association
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Footworks
  • Gatorback Skates
  • GeezerJock Magazine
  • Gold’s Gym
  • Homevest Realty
  • Hurley Rogner
  • Inland Volleyball
  • Junior League of Greater Orlando
  • Leroy Jefferson Williams Foundation
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Minute Man Press
  • MS Society
  • National Triathlon Training Center
  • Nike Inc.
  • Pangea Racing
  • Polk County Sports Commission
  • Seminole County
  • Special Olympics
  • State of Mind Sports, Inc.
  • Sunrise Rotary
  • The Villages
  • TLC Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine
  • Track Shack Inc.
  • Travel Country Outdoors
  • Valencia Community College
  • Wekiva Wilderness Trust
  • Winter Park YMCA
  • Z to A Creative

To learn if we can help you check out our services page

or you can schedule a meeting below.