Resources for Events Directors related to COVID
What can Event Directors do?
Communicate with your runners / customers / event partners and community.
Be open, be honest. You may not have all the answers yet, but let people know that you are working towards one. If you are in the window (May 30), make a plan to cancel or postpone. If you are outside the window, make a plan to cancel or postpone.
If you are thinking of postponing, consider the other races that are already in the calendar. What would you do / feel if someone just moved on to your date? The fall season was already very busy, your municipality / venue may not let you, vendors may not be available.
Check in with your current vendors and event partners. Registration companies are great resources of knowledge, they are working with a number of events on solutions at the same time. Check in with your timer, a number of them like SportStats and Startline Timing are creating tools to offer a virtual run and event swag fulfillment to your runners.
Let your sponsors know your plans (call them, before you announce) and see what they can do to support that decision. Also see what you can do to help your sponsors communicate their messaging to your registrants / followers. How has the current situation affected their business?
Show your event sponsors the value you have delivered to them outside of race day. Pre-event emails, social and the follow up with participants that is carried on throughout the year.
Ask other Event Directors what they are doing? Find partnerships on how you can move forward and thrive with other events.
Whether CANCELLING OR POSTPONING, consider:
- What will your refund policy be? How much? How will you process? When? Talk with your registration provider.
- What are the costs that you have already incurred?
- Are you going to defer entries to next year? Are you able to? What will the budget impacts be next year?
- Review with your registration provider the procedures / best practices for Charge Backs.
- How are you going to communicate this to the runners? How will you manage the feedback?
- When are you going to make / announce this decision?
- Have your permit holders approved? Do you have a date?
- Are your sponsors on board? Will you have staff / volunteers available? Does your sponsor have another event that you will impact?
- Are all of your service providers available? Can you get a timer, portolets, volunteers?
- Messaging to runners, can they refund? Can they defer?
- What other events would I conflict with? Ones that already held that slot in the calendar and other ones that are postponing. How would you react if someone came onto your event date?
- How long will the current restrictions be in place? Currently restrictions are in place until May 30th, but some estimates have this going well into summer. Will you need to cancel / postpone your event again?
Please let us, at BC Athletics know if you are cancelling or postponing, so we can update our calendar of events.
When you have made that decision, communicate it clearly in an email to your registrants, through your social and on your website. Remember to suspend your registration process.
Continue to share positive messaging on your social media channels.
Studies (and sidewalks) are showing that people are still running and getting out for a run. See this study on Run Repeat (and Canadian Running).
- Check with you suppliers, some may be able to assist you with a virtual run component. Many timers have created this option.
- Update your waivers to include a virtual event. Here are some recommendations from the Road Runners Club of America. Always best to check with your legal consultants on waivers.
- Here is a sample waiver (consult with your legal representation before using).
- Be wary about recommending a specific route. It may overwhelm that route and not allow for proper social distancing.
- Don’t hold an in person packet pickup. Always consider the warning of the health departments, the safety of the participants and your staff / volunteers.
- Here are some considerations from Race Directors HQ (United Kingdom) on holding a virtual event.
- Do you really need to put on a virtual event right now? See editorial by Greg Lactot on the American Trail Running Association website.
- Remember virtual events need to have insurance coverage too! Check with your insurance provider to see if you have or can have coverage.
- Always use a waiver for entry. Here is a sample waiver (consult with your legal representation before using).
Here are some resources that we’ve found this week to help Race Directors move forward.
Subscribe to Industry newsletters – we’re all in the same boat and all working on solutions and patches.
- Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) Canada – information on Canadian Sport.
- Endurance Sports wire – daily newsletters and blog. Triathlon, Cycling and Running.
Some specific articles and sites to check –
- BC Race Directors Summit – Here are the speakers and presentations that were covered at the BC Race Directors Summit on March 7.
- Running USA – a membership organization for Event Directors.
- 2020 National Runner Survey (paid content), looks at all the trends of runners in 2019.
- All of the COVID resources can be found on one page – upcoming webinars, statements from other races, past webinars, USA Official Guidelines
- Remember regulations are different, country to country and city to city. Always best to check with your local event stakeholders.
- Running USA Virtual Race Camps and Event Director Campfire Series. Every week there has been a great webinar on a variety of topics. Things Event Directors can do to make it through this time, keep sponsors engaged, and thrive when events resume.
- IAmAthlete – a number of webinar series
- Had a great webinar about Event Cancellation – here is the recording of it and here are the slides from the webinar.
- Here you can find a number of articles and useful webinars they have hosted to help Event Directors.
- Race Directors HQ (United Kingdom)
- A guideline on holding a virtual event.
- FREE COURSES on
- How to market your race organically on Facebook
- How to grow your race with Facebook Groups
- RunSignUp – A US based registration company that often posts a number of resources and learning opportunities across a variety of topics.
- Page of COVID resources for events.
- RunSignUp.com blog posts and newsletters.
- The T1 Agency - The impact of Covid-19 on sponsorship budgets
- Race Roster
Other messaging to share with your followers – to help with the question of why and the understanding -
- The Shakeout Podcast - Behind the startline: The challenges of race directing in the age of COVID-19
- EventManagerBlog.com – What is going to Happen to All Postponed Events?
- Slowtwitch.com – Why can’t I just get a refund?
- MapMyRun – Your Goal Race Is Cancelled, Now What?
- Triathlete.com – A Race Director Answers Your Questions About COVID-19 Cancellations
- How MultiSport Canada is handling their refund and deferral policy
- The Impact of COVID-19 on Sponsorship Budgets from SponsorshipX
- NY Times Article on the “What will endurance races look like when they come back?”
- Run Denver / Colfax - Running Event Guidelines
- City of Vancouver - Event Proposal Risk Assessment V8
- Running USA Epidemiologist Guidelines - April 28, 2020
- State of Maine Mass Gathering Guidelines
- Japan Athletics Study on COVID-19 Transmisstion in Athletics - Nov 10, 2020
- The Irish Times - Outdoor Tranmission Accounts for 0.1% of COVID-19 Cases - Apr 5, 2020