How to Organize and Plan a Sprint Triathlon

By Gwendolen Akard

Sprint triathlons, which draw both competitors and spectators because they are more accessible than longer races, have the potential to raise money for charity. But there are many considerations when it comes to planning and organizing these events.

Pick a location. Unless you plan to use a pool, you will need a lot of space near water for the transition zone, where participants will keep their bikes and running gear. Keep in mind the terrain, including potential locations for water stops. There is no defined length for each leg of a sprint triathlon, but they generally include a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike and three-mile run. Exact distances are usually determined by the geography unique to the race area.

Obtain insurance and permits. You can’t just have a triathlon wherever you want. The authorities in your area will most likely require insurance and permits.

Hire race timers and a manager. These companies measure the course, time the competitors, keep track of scoring and provide necessary equipment.

Organize a committee and volunteers. These groups will plan the pit stops, sponsorship, marketing and other details. You can’t do everything yourself, so it is important to have a dedicated team of people to take care of things, particularly on race day.

Look for sponsors. Local businesses like to participate in events that raise money for charity. A T-shirt company might provide free shirts if they can have their name on the front, for example, or an auto dealership might donate money if they can provide a pace car with advertisements.

Promote your race. Advertise online and in magazines like Runner’s World. Any freebies you can get are a great perk to get people interested in the race. Put up fliers in local stores and at busy intersections. Place a few ads in local papers. Be sure to advertise any prizes you are offering.

Purchase prizes. Rent tables, tents and buy any food and drinks you plan to serve after the race.

Double check that everything is ready. The volunteers should man the pit stop stations. Everyone should meet before the race to go over exactly what needs to happen on race day.

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