Getting Your Event to the Starting Line

What is it like to plan an event before the starting gun goes off?

Every event organizer has a first. I recently chatted with Judd Borakove, who planned and managed the Jayna Murray Foundation 5k in Bethesda, Md., the first time he organized an event of this size.

Tighe Flatley: What was the inspiration behind hosting your first event, the Jayna Murray Foundation 5k in Bethesda, Md.?

Judd Borakove: The primary reason we’re hosting this race is to honor the life of Jayna Murray, a friend of mine whose life was tragically taken too early. We wanted to create an environment where people could remember and celebrate Jayna’s life in a way that she would have wanted. Jayna was an avid runner, and we thought that the personal connection to the sport was a great way to honor her life.

TF: What are some of the goals for the event?

JB: We have a few things that we’re trying to achieve. Of course, we want to make sure that Jayna’s memory is kept in the front-of-mind throughout the day. We also want to raise funds for the Jayna Troxel Murray Foundation, so that people feel as though their interaction with our event continues to live on after the finish line. Lastly, we want people to have fun!

TF: You mentioned raising money for a foundation in Jayna’s name. Is there a charitable aspect to the event?

JB: Yes, the whole thing is charitable. All of the proceeds that we raise will be donated to the Jayna Troxel Murray Foundation, which was set up by the Jayna’s family. The money goes toward scholarships and programs in areas, such as athletics, that enriched Jayna’s life.

TF: How are you marketing the event?

JB: We’re definitely promoting through social media and online, but we’re also tapping into the local community in more traditional forms of marketing. Because this is a local race, with a local story, we have encouraged folks to talk about it with their friends, both online and offline. We’re looking for coverage from local newspapers and local online media outlets to further promote the race to people in the Bethesda area.

TF: This is the first time you’ve run an event of this size, with more than 500 people in attendance. What are some of the challenges you’re running into?

JB: One of the biggest things we’re coming up against is finalizing logistics when working with larger organizations, like local government or company sponsorships. Often times, these big groups work on longer timelines. We have to make sure that we stay on top of our project and remind people of deadlines if it’s starting to cut it close.

TF: What advice would you have for anyone taking on their first medium to large sized event?

JB: Do you due diligence ahead of time. Look at what you’re trying to achieve and make a roadmap before you do anything else.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and lean on people who have done this before, either. We ran our plan by one of our friends who goes to a ton of races, and he asked where he would be able to find the restrooms. It reminded us that we would need to secure those for runners and walkers for the event. Having a team and double-checking your agenda is necessary to make sure you have everything set to go before the big day!

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