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8248 Views 24 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2011 9:49 AM by AngieNewRunner 1 2 Previous Next
1974mom Pro 102 posts since
Feb 15, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 28, 2011 11:15 AM

I have questions about the logistics of race day....

These may be dumb questions but honestly they were things that I never thought about before and wasn't sure where to find the answers!

I am running my first 5K in less that 2 weeks and I just wasn't sure how things go pre-race. It's so silly, I think I am more worried about how this all works than I am about actually running the thing!!

1. You don't get your actual bib until race day right? I have my registration confirmation with my number on it. Do I bring that the day of the race or will they already have record of that and I don't need to bother?

2. Keys. I will obviously need to drive to the event but what do I do with my keys when I get there?

3. Money. I couldn't think of anything that I would need money for at a race. Will I need it?

4. OK, I need to undertand chips. The website said that only the first 5000 runners to register will get a chip (my bib number is in the 1400's so I am assuming that I will get one). From what I gather these are so that there is a proper, digital timing to your race and not just a shot-gun to finish line time? Is the chip on my bib? If not, how do I attach it to myself?

I know these are all trivial questions but I have never seen them talked about here and you guys are my only real support system for this new running thing in my life!!!

I think I will feel a lot more peace about the upcoming event if I kind of know what to expect. As you can tell I am very new to this. Thanks for any input, experiences or advice.

(I am now wishing that I would have thought to make my first run a smaller event, not one that included 5K, 10K, 50 mile bike race, wheelchair race, kids run, pasta dinner, pancake breakfast and overall super-crowded 2 day event.....eeek,)!!!

Registered for my first 5K...coming up on 4/10 (hoping to finish in under 40 minutes)!

  • DadtoTwins Pro 55 posts since
    Mar 17, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Mar 28, 2011 11:32 AM (in response to 1974mom)
    Re: I have questions about the logistics of race day....

    First of all, there are no dumb questions. Second, here are my stabs at answers, but others may have better answers:


    1. Usually all you will need is your ID to get your race bib. Check if the race website has any information about it. You can always carry it back to your car if you don't want to carry it with you during the race. That could be a good warm up for you.


    2. Get an extra key made for your car. Leave all your keys in your car except the one key that you need to get back in your car. You can put your extra key in a zippered pocket, or you can unlace your shoe, string it through your key, and relace it.


    3. Money. Shouldn't need any during the race. If you do, leave it in your car and go get it after the race.


    4. Timing chips are sometimes attached to your shoelaces, but some races are now using chips that are permanently attched to the back of your bib. If you get a shoe chip, they will give it to you at the race and give you little zip ties to attach it, or you might have to use your laces. After the race, someone at the finish line will be there to collect the chip. The bib chips you do not have to return.


    Hope that helps. Others may have more to add.



    Run the Quay 5k, 6/4/11, 24:34

    Tobacco Road Half Marathon 3/20/2011, 1:52:19

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Mar 28, 2011 12:30 PM (in response to 1974mom)
    Re: I have questions about the logistics of race day....

    #1 Some races have a pick-up location the day before the race at a local store.  If it does you can pick up your stuff the day before.  Most all 5K's have race day pickup.


    #2 Keys always a problem, I hide mine on my car, not advised.  As stated above you can tie it on your shoe string or put in a pocket.


    #3 Money if you have paided for the race no need for money, leave it in the car.  If you have not paid you will need to, leave the rest in the car.


    #4 Clips come in different ways, tie on your shoe or it could be in your bib #, you don't need to worry about it.  Just ask who you get your bib number from and they will tell you what you need to do.


    #5  Have fun, don't go out to fast!

  • Sikan Amateur 28 posts since
    Jan 13, 2009

    Hi 1974Mom! Great questions, I've been having them as well more than worrying about the actual race! I too have the key issue and unfortunately my key is not as simple as going out and having another made. BUT, I have noticed at various running stores and sporting good stores that if your running attire does not include a (safe) pocket to store it in, there are little pouches you can lace onto your shoe for your key & id (in case there is a post celebration where you need to be 21) or even wristband like pouches. The two races I've signed up for have day before race pick up option for the bib ()w/chip on the bib)!


    See you on the other thread and thanks for asking those questions!

  • KIRK_T Legend 279 posts since
    Jun 25, 2010

    On the key & other items question.

    There a also small waist belts with small secure pockets.

    On the longer races that is what I put my ID, cash cellphone etc in, since I am usually traveling & don't have a car with.


    Now go have a great time at your first event!

    Kirk: Started running again at 50.

    2010: 4-5K 1-3.5 mile 2-Half Marathon

    2011: 3-5K 1-3.5 mile 1-8K 1-10 mile 16-Half Marathon 1-Marathon

    Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon 01/15/2012 3:28:33 PR & BQ

    F^3 Lake Half Marathon 01/28/2012 1:48:34

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    Rockford Marathon 5/20 4:08

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    Run for the Zoo 5K 6/03 19:57 PR

    13.1 Chicago 6/09 1:50

    North Shore Half 6/10 1:46

    Rock 'n' Roll Chicago 7/22

    Chicago Half 9/09

    Fox Valley Marathon 9/16

    Chicago Marathon 10/07

  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009

    1. If you did not receive a Bib just pin your confirmation email to your shirt.


    2. Keys -- just leave them in the ignition of the car. No one will touch it.


    3. Always bring some money while you run. It is a USTF rule that 5K routes must pass at least one bar. If you are having a bad race then you have a place to stop and get a cool drink.


    4. Chips -- pin them on the back side of your waistband.


    5. April Fools (almost)

  • Sikan Amateur 28 posts since
    Jan 13, 2009


  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    I can't really add anything except to reiterate what the others have said.


    As far as picking up your bib - it depends on the race.  Some races mail them to you (larger races), some have you pick them up on race day (smaller races), and lots of them have a place you can pick up your bib and race packet a day or two before the race OR on race day.  The race should give you that info when you register.


    What do you usually do with your key when you run?  There are many different ways to stash it:  tie it to your shoelace, put it in a key pocket on your running shorts, put it on a D-clip and clip it somewhere on your clothing, put it on a band around your wrist,  use a key wallet that attaches to your shoe (found in running stores), etc.


    Money:  don't need it.  Drinks and snacks are provided at the finish line


    Chips:  yes, they will show your actual time from crossing the starting line to crossing the finish line.   (If they call out splits along the course, keep in mind that that is gun time)


    My best advice for a first time racer is to make sure you line up at the starting line according to your pace.  In smaller races there aren't starting waves or corrals - the runners just have to sort it out themselves.  Put yourself near the middle of the crowd if you run a 8-10 minute pace, and adjust yourself accordingly if you run slower or faster than that.  But unless you run a sub 20:00 5K, don't even think about starting anywhere near the front or you will get crushed in the stampede.  Folks who are walking the race will usually bring up the rear. 


    Hey, don't worry about this being a big event with a lot of hoopla.  You will get caught up in the excitement and have a blast.  Good luck!

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    A little more about "chips".  Most these days are either "D-tag" or "B-tag".  B-tags and D-tags are usually disposable and do not have to be returned.  Here's a video that shows how to use a D-tag:

    The B-tag is attached to the back of the bib.  It requires some extra care in handling the bib.  Basically, "DO NOT BEND, FOLD, OR MUTILATE"  Doing so can break the chip.  Attach the bib to the front of your shirt with safety pins (provided).

    Some races use the Championchip, which is a round plastic disc about the size of a half-dollar.  This is the one usually attached to your laces with zip ties.  Here's a link to a picture.

    Championchips often have to be returned.




  • ECRunner1 Rookie 1 posts since
    Mar 28, 2011

    The amount of cushion time you should give yourself on a race day really depends on how many racers are participating in the race and how anxious you may get before the race. Take into consideration the amount of traffic and parking availability there will be too. Depending on how anxious you may get, i would say arrive around 1 to 1:15 to allow yourself some time to park, check-in, warm up and possibly meet new runners. Good luck!

  • NancyLFreeman Legend 243 posts since
    Feb 17, 2010

    Skypilot77, you forgot the ID for the bar!

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  • camcat82 Pro 67 posts since
    Mar 2, 2011

    I've still got a while before my first race yet but some of this stuff I'd been curious about also. Thanks for asking/starting the thread 1974mum, and thanks for all those who took time to answer Less stuff to wonder/worry about now

    Busy mum, but loving it

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    - Every day I'm reminded that perfection doesn't exist, and to strive for perfection will only defeat you. I want to be better than I was today and not as good as I'll be tomorrow -

    First race entered 4.5K on May 22nd - looking forward to it!

    Currently doing C25K - W4D2 completed

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