If you have never held a fun run before and/or aren't sure how to organize your actual fun run event day, here is some information to help your fun run planning.
If you either don't have the time, resources, or the will to organize a fun run on your own, consider hiring a company. Usually you can find a company to manage your run day from $500 - $1500 depending on the number of participants and the structure of your run. For example if your run incorporates obstacles or other kinds of setup or equipment. Usually the types of companies that can help you are companies that run after-school fitness programs, day camp programs, birthday parties, etc..
Depending on how you organize your run, it is usually helpful to have some volunteers. Volunteers can be parents, teachers, administrators, or even students from the older grades. Some of the tasks you may use volunteers to help are; securing a location, monitoring students, monitoring an obstacle or station, distributing water, fruit or frozen yogurt, distributing certificates of completion. Sometimes, your school's physical education teachers and coaches can be a great help.
Most schools hold their fun runs during the day, although some opt for weekends. Depending on the capacity of your location, you will almost certainly have to schedule a class or a grade at a time. You'll need to stagger the start so that not too many participants are on the course at one time. Usually, the entire school can be included by scheduling one or 2 grades per period. If you're holding your run outdoors, don't forget to create a “backup date” (and/or location) in case of rain or other unforeseen circumstance. A rain delay can sometimes mean an extra week of fundraising for your campaign. If you are delayed, take advantage and raise even more.
You can hold a Fun Run in any location such as in a gymnasium, a track, a field, or a park. Ideally it should not be held on hard surfaces such as pavement or cement, but any flat smooth or soft surface like grass will do. Most schools either have a suitable location on school property or one is available very close by, such as a park. A fenced or closed area is easier to manage from a security perspective. If you're holding your event in a public open space, assign volunteers to monitor the students and to ensure they stay in the assigned area. The ideal location should be easy to monitor with good sightlines, and have no traffic or road crossings. If any kind of crossing is required, recruit a volunteer to act as a crossing guard. Make sure the course is well marked and clear of any obstructions. It's a good idea to have a backup location (and date) in case of bad weather. A gymnasium can be a suitable indoor location.
The length of the actual course can vary. Consider the age of the participants, time constraints, space constraints, safety and security, etc... Fun Runs should be a maximum of 3 miles for high school-aged participants and half that length for elementary school aged participants. If your event will be outdoors covering a large area, cell phones or other mobile communication devices can be useful to facilitate communications between organizer and monitors. If the course is narrow with a limited capacity, make sure to throttle the traffic to avoid bottle necks and jams.
Your Fun Run does not have to be just a run. You can make it more exciting by adding fun obstacles. Any type of obstacle that is safe will work. Some ideas for basic obstacles are; running through tires, going over an obstacle, going under an obstacle, crawling, etc... In addition to obstacles, you can add stations that require the completion of a task before moving on to the next station. For example, a student has to carry or drag a weight, throw something, etc. You can be creative and make it fun. Consider having teams of 2 students tied together at the ankle complete the course while attached together.
Create excitement and buzz for the event. What can you do to make your run day even more fun? Consider using your school's cheerleading squad, dancers, Music/DJ or band. If there are students waiting to start or who have already completed the course, encourage them to cheer on the other participants.
After students have finished the course, have teachers and volunteers congratulate the students for completing the course and for participating in the fundraiser. This is a great time to instill pride in the students and for positive re-enforcement for a job well done. Have a volunteer issue the “Certificates of Completion” to all participants who have completed the course. Try to provide plenty of water and healthy snacks like bananas or oranges if possible.
Fun Run is a very safe low risk activity. As with gym class or anytime when we are responsible for a group of children, especially off school premises, it's a good idea to be prepared for anything. Therefore we recommend you take some standard basic precautions. Ensure that each participant has the necessary medications they may require such as asthma inhalers, Epipen for allergic reactions, etc... Ensure you have or have access to a first aid kit in case of any minor scrapes or bruises. If outdoors or away from the school, make sure that someone has a cellular phone.