Ideally, your staff and volunteers will show up on time and do the jobs they’re scheduled to do. But where does that leave you? As the person in charge, there are a few things you’ll want to do on race day to ensure that your event goes off without a hitch. Here are eight things to take care of before, during, and after your participants are running the course.
1. Show up ready to answer and delegate. Even at the most organized event, people are bound to have questions. Be the first person on site, be ready with confident answers to questions, and if something needs to be done, know where your trusted helpers to help with the task. And of course, be ready to pick up the slack if you need to.
2. Check the weather! Even though you have zero control over it, the weather will largely dictate how the rest of your day goes. For example, if it’s very hot, you may need to move some more volunteers to water stations and keep emergency personnel on high alert for heat-related health issues. If it’s cold, crank up the warming tent if you have one. And if it’s raining, be ready to handle tasks with volunteers who decide they don’t want to help out in the rain.
3. Grab your checklist. Just like a pilot has a checklist, you’ll want one too. Don’t rely on your memory to make sure everything gets done as that’s a surefire way to forget something. Instead, a few days before the race, create a day-of checklist of everything that needs to be done. On race day, keep it with you and consult it often.
4. Check the starting and finish lines. You’ll just want to make sure everything is set up and in place for your runners.
5. Check the entire course to ensure its safety. Road hazards, like a fallen tree, a downed power line, or a new pothole, can arise overnight. You’ll probably want to do a quick drive through to make sure the path is clear. If you’ve got a marathon course, you might consider having some trusted staff members check the course in segments so you don’t have to spend an hour of your morning doing it all yourself.
6. Give off good energy! You’ll likely be making a few announcements before the race gets underway, so you’ll want to be ready to rally the troops, so to speak. Your smiles and positive vibes will spread to volunteers and participants alike and will help everyone have a great day at the race. A smile and a good attitude will also help if something goes wrong. They’re reassuring to people directly affected, and you’ll be in a better mindset to deal with problems.
7. Expect the unexpected. Even though this is part of organizing the race, be ready to put contingency plans into action if something doesn’t go as planned.
8. Take charge of clean-up. You probably have a staff members or trusted volunteers in charge of clean up. However, you will still want to be present to help get the job done efficiently and thank volunteers as they leave.
It’s easy to rely on adrenaline, nerves, and caffeine to propel you through race day. However, there’s no substitute for a positive and well-organized race director. By doing these eight things on race day, you’ll be more likely to have a successful event, feel less stressed, and even enjoy yourself at the same time.