Thu - January 17, 2008

Tips for Race Organizers: Timeline and Checklist

In the previous post, Scott Mansker summarized his experiences from running two Missouri River 340 races in 3 tips for race organizers (1) Keep it simple, (2) Be true to your concept, and (3) Get help. Today, another guest post on this subject from Marsh Jones.

Missouri River at Kaw Point

One of the most important tools for a race organizer is to develop a timeline and checklist for their event.  This seems almost too obvious, but regardless of sport, is one of the most common contributors to success/failure.  Things like selecting the course, determining the event type (relay, ultramarathon, sprint, etc) is the easy part.  The hard part is all the paperwork, logistics, etc.  

  Items to include:

  • Sanctions, permits and insurance
    Determine who is going to sanction your event (USCA, ACA, etc)
  • Permission
    Determine who controls the waters you plan to use.  If US Coast Guard is involved, allow up to 6 mo extra time.  Each agency will most likely need to issue a permit or letter, and will need to be covered on your insurance binder.
  • Safety
    This will be, in part, determined by your sanction.  Are you certain that the safety you have in place is adequate for the weakest competitor in the race, or the worst weather condition you can imagine.  Do you have enough safety boats, checkpoints, that you can sleep soundly?  And then ask one of your risk averse friends if you have enough.
  • Facilities
    Make certain you have adequately covered things like shelter, porta-potties, etc.  No park wants you peeing in the bushes, and the requisite beer after the event may not be permitted in some parks.
  • Promotion
    Decide what promotion you will use, who is responsible for designing, printing and mailing.  Determine when it needs to go out.
  • Registration
    Who is handling on-line registration, mail-in, and on-site.  Almost every competitor expects results to be posted on-line by the time they get home.  Determine how you plan to manage that.
  • Transport
    Who is responsible for getting competitors to the start/finish, getting boats where they need to go.
  • Awards
    Who is responsible for ordering ribbons, making plaques, etc? 
  • Course/venue setup, teardown, cleanup.
    Unless you are a crew of one (fool) make sure you have people in charge of setting buoys, banners, and picking up trash afterwards.

Lots of other little things that need to fit into the timeline, but these are some of the larger bullets.

Marsh Jones
New Brighton, MN
Huki S1-X, Lancer ICF-K1, V1 C2-pro

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Posted at 12:03 AM    

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