5 Steps To Organize and Cheer Your Own Half-Marathon

Lauren wanted a goal to motivate her training, but there were no running events near her at a time that worked for her. So we hosted our own half-marathon for her! This post is about how we organized our own super-classy half-marathon race for less money than it would have cost to enter an organized event.

Step 1: Organize a fan base.
20 minutes on the telephone.
Lauren asked her good friend MacLean to run with her. My Ironman friend Jonathan volunteered to ride bikes with me to setup refreshment stations and guide the runners.

Step 2: Buy supplies.
20 minutes shopping time.
1- Cap gun & noise makers
2- GU hydration/gels & dixie cups. 1 gel + 2 cups per 45-minutes
3- Face sponges (not from the sink!) in discarded Chinese delivery food container
4- Chalk for making sidewalk cheers
5- Knee brace, just in case
6- Finish line: orange crape paper, collapsible tent pole, 72 balloons, scotch tape
7- Map of event, printed using Google Pedometer. Here’s our link.
8- Ice cream for post-race party
9- Replica runner “chips”, to mimic the RFID tracking chips used at organized races


Step 3: Build finish line

2 hours assembly time.
Blow-up balloons. Find a flexible pole that works (I used a tent pole from a Mountain Hardwear tent because it is light and has a natural bend at the top). Scotch tape balloons to the pole. The result is pretty fabulous and eye-catching.

Step 4: Start runners, guide runners, refresh runners and CHEER!

2 hours during the race.
The race began with a cap gun and a crape paper. Jonathan and I biked ahead and every mile or so offered refreshments and cheers. We had water and GU hydration juices. At mile 8 we offered GU and sponges to wash the salt from their faces. At the end of the race we held the balloon finish line and they broke through the crepe paper. It was all pretty rad.

Good Cheers: “Yeaaah Lauren & MacLean!”, “Looking good!”, “Yippee!”. The louder the better.

Bad Cheers (aka. cheers to avoid): “You are almost there!”, “Right around the corner!”, “Just about finished!”, “You are not going to make it!”, and booing, hissing, or cursing.


Step 5: Host post-race party
We kicked it Ben & Jerry’s style.

In the end… Lauren and McLean finished the half-mile with 9:24 minute miles, which is pretty fast! The whole thing cost around $20 ($35 including the ice cream), which is less than the entrance price for most half-marathons.

Do different… If I had it to do over again I’d involve music from a boom box and bib numbers.

Upside… It was almost more fun to host our own event than to participate in an organized event. Organizing our own meant we could pick the best route and the best weather day.

Full resolution images are here.

One thought on “5 Steps To Organize and Cheer Your Own Half-Marathon

  1. yes! I am an old geezer gal with a bucket list. some of the items are to: walk a half marathon and full, then to run a half and full. All the events near the end of training conflict with my time. Why didn’t I think of this???? It’s not the event it’s the fact that I do it and I have at least one witness! thanks so much for the info! My grandson will start the event with his cap gun!! my grandaughter will hold the finish line crepe streamer!!!