In 2004, I got speaking to a couple of runners in Neilston about the Neilston Pad Race/Run, a 4.5-mile athletics race which used to be an integral part of the Neilston Agricultural Show, but hadn’t been organised for many years. I realised I could re-establish this event and also promote healthy living and raise a lot of money for good causes, which it did. I also managed to hand it over to The Neilston Development Trust. Visit their site if you’d like to enter the next time it runs.
Reflections on the Neilston Pad Race
If you are organising a race, it’s better to make the route for your course mostly off-road and in the shape of a loop as this minimises the number of race stewards and water stations you will need. Also, use a company like Running Imp to get medals and race numbers for your participants. Try to make sure your entry fee covers the cost of organising your event as this makes your event sustainable in the long-term; you can’t always guarantee on continued funding by public bodies.
Whether you decide to set up an athletics event, or some other kind of outdoor event like a cycle race or a walk-a-thon, it is an amazing way of building community spirit and can raise a lot of money for local good causes. After all, many national charities host these kinds of events to raise money. Of course, if you get 100 people taking part in your event and each person raises £50, you could generate a windfall of £5000 for local groups in your area. Now, that’s something worth thinking about.
Measuring the success of an athletics race
How you measure the success of your event is going to be subjective, but if you have 12-300 people taking part in your event and or you cover your costs, you are doing well because small-scale athletics events are more likely to be attended by those that live locally rather than further afield. If you decide to pursue this kind of community project, let me know how you got on and if the downloads I put on my website were helpful.