To spectators, a marathon looks like gruelling work, a task suited to only a brave and resolute few, but they haven’t even seen how tough it is behind the scenes. As hard as a marathon is to run, it’s equally difficult to organize, and there are several steps to getting it right. If you’re planning a marathon this summer, check out these helpful tips – you can make your marathon a “runaway” success!


First on the list is understanding why you’re organizing a marathon, and for whom you’re organizing it. The majority of marathon are organized to benefit a charity, so the first thing you’ll need to do (if you haven’t already done it) is decide which charity, or charities, you will be raising money for. The branding can follow from there. If, for instance, you’re running for a children’s cause, you’ll want the logo to reflect that.

Creating The Course

Mapping out a course for your marathoners is very important. Create a course that allows for spectators to watch, and that doesn’t put your runners at any risk. Further than that, choose one that has at least some interesting sights – you don’t want your marathoners running through only drab, industrial roads in the city, as that can get disheartening very quickly.

Getting The Permits

In tandem with the last point, you’ll need to get the proper permits for hosting the event, as well as road closures, etc. Get a jump on this now to make it for the summer season, as many authorizing bodies require at least two months’ notice.

Making Your Runners’ Packages

This is part and parcel with branding as well as advertising. Plan ahead for the runners’ packages by contacting printers that do custom t shirt printing and athletic wear printing, and have a paper printing shop mock up bibs for the runners. In addition to giving the marathoners something they can take home and cherish after the race, custom apparel also advertises you and your sponsors. It pulls double duty.

The Day Of

On the day, make sure your runners have ample access to fresh water while running the course, and that you have rain ponchos and tents on hand should the weather turn. Speak with security (often the police) about the upcoming event to make sure everyone is on the same page. Set up a table (or a few) for registration and ensure that everyone queues properly, so as to process everyone quickly and efficiently.

Following Up

After the event, send out thank you notes to sponsors, donors and runners. Let everyone know how much money you raised, because, at the end of the day, that’s the real reason for your marathon. Finally, let everyone know that you look forward to seeing them next year!

It’s not easy to run a marathon, nor is it easy to “run” a marathon, but with these helpful tips, broken down into steps, your summer event should go smoothly. Remember to give your marathon event a real sense of identity, and to make sure that everyone – the sponsors, runners, spectators and volunteers – are well taken care of.