When planning your event, there are a ton of things to think about - how to find athletes, how to run your online race registration, what to put in your schwag bags, what permits you need to apply for and where the heck you’re going to find one of those ginormous balloon arches for the starting line (or for your backyard… you know, whichever).
But you also need to be thinking about what happens after the race.
That’s right, put your party pants on… it’s time to talk about the post race extravaganza!
Here are a few things to consider to make sure you give your athletes the post-race party of the year.
Know Your Audience
There is no hard-and-fast formula for an epic post-race party. It’s totally dependent on your audience - what’s their idea of a good time? How are they going to want to unwind after your event?
Example: Having a DJ and a dance floor is an awesome post-race activity for a glow-in-the-dark 5k. Grab your glow sticks and boogie down!
On the other hand, if you’re hosting an ultra-marathon, the dance floor is not going to fly. Your people just ran 50 miles! The last thing they’re going to feel like doing is busting out the cabbage patch. After that kind of distance, fun definitely involves sitting down. It would make much more sense to have massage therapists on hand so your athletes can take off their shoes, relax and get a rub down for those aching arches.
Know your athletes and what fun means to THEM.
Get Your Eat On
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’ll never meet a hungrier group of people than athletes. Seriously, the amount of food that we can consume is impressive (I'm sure you know this).
After a race? Forget it. Food is about the only thing athletes can think about.
Always, always, always make sure you have food at your after-race party. You can do bagels, breakfast burritos, tacos, pizza... whatever. Just make sure you have food.
You could even add a post-race food preference poll to your online race registration to find what your athletes really want to eat after the event.
If you don’t feed your athletes, they might eat YOU.
Don’t Forget The Kids
Yep, we're talking about the adorable little munchkins who come to cheer on and celebrate with mom or dad.
If you want a successful post-race party, you cannot forget the kids. Make sure the kids are having fun so their parents (aka your athletes) can have fun as well.
Get a bounce house, have a photo booth, do some face painting, have a mini-race for the 10-and-unders… there are tons of things you can do to entertain the little ones.
Just don’t get any clowns. Apparently, clowns are terrifying.
Make New Friends
Just like any cocktail party worth its salt, a post-race party is a great place for mingling. The best way that you, the event director or organizer, can spend that time is by making some new friends. Athletes will be riding that post-race endorphin high and will be feeling even friendlier than usual.
Walk around. Introduce yourself. Ask them how the bib assignment process was for them or how easy it was to sign up using your free online race registration platform. Talk to your athletes, thank them for their support and invite them back for next year.
It might seem like an afterthought, but you want to put as much thought and planning into your post-race party as you do the actual race. The party is the last impression of your event that your athletes will get, so make sure that they walk away thinking, “MAN… that was awesome!”
Remember that one party you went to high school? The one that went down in history as the most epic party to EVER hit Your-Town High?
Be that party.