Posted by: Karen | July 16, 2009

Behind the Clock Part I

At some theme parks curious visitors get to go on “behind the scenes” tours. This is a “behind the clock” look at the Robert Hamilton Race we held last weekend.

Way back in November 2008 we decided to try new date for the race and changed it on the Calgary Roadrunners calendar. We’d struggled to get enough volunteers in August, when many regulars are on vacation. With the Calgary Marathon moving to May this year, we decided to try July.

We mapped out a new course, then used it in our application for the City permit. We obtained an Athletics Alberta sanction and a copy of the club’s insurance. We put up a registration site and ordered customized socks (not t-shirts). We booked Jim-the-Timing-Guy and the Roadrunners finish line equipment. We updated the trophies with last year’s times. We made new course marking signs. We ordered porta-potties, approached sponsors, and advertised. We recruited volunteers. We kept lists on Excel spreadsheets.

Two weeks before the race my co-director and I biked the course to discuss course marshal and sign placement. The weekend before the race I baked five dozen gingerbread men for Age Group award medals. Just before package pick-up Jim labeled 100 bibs for me with special bar codes.

Then suddenly race weekend was upon us. I wrote this update to some friends the Friday morning before the race:

“This is it, we’re into our final prep for this year’s RHM race and I’m feeling a whole lot better about directing it this year than I did last year. It’s nice that Jason’s taken over the course and helped share the load on other tasks. Dawn’s gonna have a car full of prizes and supplies to bring on Sunday morning, and we’re going to have fun together at package pick up tomorrow.

On my to do list I still have

  • 48 awards cookies to decorate and be-ribbon,
  • ~100 race bibs, info sheets & pairs of socks to distribute
  • 3 tables to find/beg/borrow/steal/arrange to be brought to the start & one water station
  • groceries & water to buy
  • cash awards to extract from the bank and NOT LOSE
  • a list to make, of sponsors and other stuff to announce on race day
  • one more volunteer to assign to a post (they’re just emailing in – I’m happy to see them)
  • one more last-minute sponsor to confirm

Just a few things left. Good thing I’m off today.

I have to admit, most of this year I’ve looked forward to just getting this race directing thing over with. Now, as it’s finally coming together, I think might actually enjoy the event.”

Package pick-up went well. Neasa, one of the organizers of the Calgary Women’s Run organizers helped me out on Friday. Jim made sure we were filling out the in-person registration forms correctly. Dawn helped me on Saturday and we enjoyed shopping a little at Gord’s Running Store during lulls in registration traffic.

Late Saturday we loaded up our cars with stuff. Jason had signs and chalk and a water table  and his bike. Dawn filled her car with prizes, snacks and juice boxes. I picked up fresh muffins, fruit and water at the grocery store, and piled it in with 3 folded tables, 4 trophies, the race banner, award cookies, socks, registration papers and other various supplies.

Jason sent me an e-mail around midnight to let me know the course was marked and ready to go.


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