Fun runs are a highly anticipated school event and even if your school is virtual, that doesn’t have to change. You can still rally your community and enhance the school spirit while getting the students and teachers active. Whether it is your first time planning a fun run, or your first time planning one virtually, have no fear, we have some tips for you.
Introduction to Fun Runs
Fun runs are a sporting event but their primary goal is to help the school with fundraising. Students are encouraged to gather donations. Donations can be a flat amount, for each lap or for hitting a set distance. Students typically get prizes for performance and/or hitting certain donation levels. The school will usually have a fundraising target and will share how much was raised in the race. Sometimes the school will get sponsors from the local community to donate, or match in order to increase funding.
Planning a Fun Run
To make the fun run successful, organizers have to plan the following elements:
- A route
- Volunteers and helpers to mark the route, provide directions, provide water/snacks
- Donation Methodology
- Event Setup
This year things are a little different as many schools are having to plan a virtual run. But have no fear, we will share how to plan two types of fun runs that follow current guidelines on social distancing. We call these two methods the Traditional Fun Run COVID-Style and the Fun Run with a Virtual Twist
Traditional Fun Run, COVID-Style
A traditional approach to fun runs is pretty simple. In a traditional approach, it will just like a normal fun run, but while maintaining social distancing. To guarantee everything goes smoothly, you need to add some precautions. Also note that before planning this type of activity, please make sure you are following your state’s and county’s current guidelines.
Here are some general considerations:
Picking the Route
You need to pick a route away from pedestrian traffic. Your route should be wide so that people can maintain 6 foot distance from other running/walking groups.
Based on your route’s size/width, you will most likely have to divide your runners in to groups. The number of groups will depend on the size of the space. Be sure to have enough groups so that runners and walkers can maintain a distance of 6 feet even when passing each other. Distribute the group numbers to people well in advance so that people can be prepared.
As for volunteers to guide the students and the parents in the right direction and to ensure people are maintaining social distance all the time. You need to provide them with necessary safety equipment like gloves and face masks.
During this time,your typical sponsor list may need some updating as some businesses are struggling. Focus on online businesses or local businesses that may have been able to remain open.
Your event should be set up in a way that there is no overcrowding. Families should be given different start times, based on their Group number (see above) and after the laps are completed, the participants should head home directly.
Make sure you have access to technology. Have the principal pre-record opening and ending remarks and ask families to watch them before and after their specific race times.
Fun Run with a Virtual Twist
Our recommendation is to take on this new methodology for your 2020–2021 school year. This method is more profitable and much more comfortable with today’s uncertainty. In this method, you don’t need volunteers, to create groups, or to set up a physical event. The participants will be running in a fun run, but everyone performs it at their own convenience.
Arranging the Route
In order to ensure similar distances for every participant, we still recommend setting up a route. This time, however, you can have people complete the event on their own timeline and report their results virtually.
To add some extra fun, you could actually make it a scavenger hunt fun run. Instead of informing the parents and the students to lap around the particular area, give hints to find city-related items around the town and send in pictures. Once a student/parent has completed the task, ask them to upload a picture to the social media platforms. In this way, other people will get excited about the event and want to participate as well. Donations can be based on the number of items found.
Spirit Wear to Boost Morale and Fundraising
Create a special fun run spirit wear shirt and have everyone wear it while they complete their fun run. You can host the shirt on your online spirit wear store so that parents can order and receive directly. Again, have them post pictures online to get others excited about the event. Having the shirts be a fundraiser as well allows you to boost your fun run fundraising results.
Leverage Social Media
The key move in organizing a virtual fun run is to get the audience active. Share as much as possible on social media. This includes families taking photos and videos of their own participation. It should also include opening and closing remarks by the principal. You may also want to have a “special guest” do a video and post commentary on people’s uploads. This could be a favorite teacher or staff member. Finally, allow your sponsors to be active on social media as well since they won’t necessarily get the benefits of an in person sponsorship opportunity.
Create a Playlist
Recreate the loudspeaker experience by sharing a playlist for people to listen to while they run on their own. This will make the experience even more cohesive despite the fact that not everyone is together.
Fun runs play a very important role in our school culture. It is a source for charity and provides the student with a sense of sympathy and forgiveness. With the tips above you can make sure your fun run is successful despite the changes that face schools in the 2020–21 school year. Whether you choose a traditional or a non-traditional approach to the fun run, make sure your community doesn’t forget the most important part: FUN!