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What is the ideal toilet to runner ratio in a marathon race?

Portable toilet hire is vitally important to race organisers as runners consume large amounts of liquid refreshments throughout a race. This helpful guide has lots of advice for event organisers.

Marathon races attract hundreds of entrants of every calibre, from the elite runners and professional athletes, to the fun-runners and the first timers, but they all have one thing in common, and that is the need to go to the toilet during the course of the race. For event and race organisers this poses the questions of how many portable toilet units to hire, where to locate the portable toilets, and what type of toilet unit to hire.

How many portable toilet units do I need for a race?

Opinions can differ wildly on this and, while our article How many portable toilets do I need? discusses numbers for the construction and events industries, running races are slightly different. Some sources recommend one toilet unit for every 50 runners, while others state a ratio of 1:10 is preferable as racing events will see higher repeat use of facilities, with over three quarters of participants going to the toilet prior to the race start. As an example, the organisers of the London Marathon of 2016 welcomed 40,000 runners and hired 1600 portable toilet units comprising 1200 toilets and 400 urinals. This equates approximately to a ratio of 1:25. To discuss how many entrants you are expecting and how many portable toilet units you will need, our experienced staff are happy to help and advise on your particular requirements.

Where to locate portable toilets

Where runners have to queue for the toilet prior to the start of a race, their legs will be subject to unnecessary pressure which can lead to early fatigue so a large proportion of your units should be positioned close to the start. Arranging them in a U shape, enables participants to see more of them which will avoid any that are out of sight from going unused. Similarly at the end of a race, queueing is counter-productive to the stretching and rest that is advised. Any race of half marathon distance or further, should have portable toilet units positioned at regular intervals along the course.

At JB Event Facilities, all our portable toilet units need a level surface and where separate water and electricity supplies are required, we are able to arrange additional mains connection and generator hire.

What type of portable toilet unit do I need?

A range of portable toilet types should be available for participants, and where organisers need large volumes of units but are working to strict budgets, our standard toilet hire range is ideal. Our single event toilet is perfect where economy is a consideration and multiple units can be installed for large-scale events.

Urinal hire is also important as it reduces queueing and speeds up the flow of male participants through the facilities, freeing up cubicles for females. The 6 Man Urinal is a versatile unit suited to events of all sizes. No mains water or electricity is required, allowing the unit to be positioned anywhere with level ground.

Vacuum portable toilet pods are an innovative alternative to traditional portable toilet hire. Ideal for high volume usage, vacuum toilet pods are eco-friendly, reducing water usage by up to 90% and require no downtime when being emptied, leaving them in service constantly. Available in all-male pods, all-female pods and urinal pods, they also help suppliers to reduce our own carbon footprint by reducing the number of trips required for delivery. Our article Vacuum portable toilet pods has more information.

As experienced event contractors and suppliers, we can advise race directors and event organisers on the quantity and type of portable toilet for running races. To discuss your requirements in greater detail, call us on 01280 851200 or email at info@jbeventfacilities.co.uk for a no obligation quote.