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FEBRUARY 2019

chicago athlete ENDURANCE SPORTS AND FITNESS

MAGAZINE

Race

Directors ISSUE DESIGNING YOUR MEDAL: TIPS FROM PROS

PLANNING YOUR TIMELINE: STAY ON TRACK ORGANIZING VOLUNTEERS: BEST SETUP

[FROM START TO FINISH] BUILDING YOUR R ACE ROUTE


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• Event Marketing: Web, Email, Print, and Social Media • Registration: Online and On-Site Registration Management • Logistics: Equipment/Food/Beverage Staging Area Layouts, Course Setup/Take Down, Course & Staging Area Clean Up

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EVENT

TIMING SERVICES

EQUIPMENT

Live results posted on-line as athletes finish.

QR codes able to be placed on bibs for fast results lookup.

Results kiosks and receipt printers available.

Results available to be sent via text, Facebook and Twitter.

Online registration services available.

Site and course equipment to include barricades, truss structures, visual display clocks, stages, tents, tables, chairs and more.

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CHECK OUT THESE

GREAT ILLINOIS TRIATHLONS REGISTER FOR ALL 4 AND

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SEPTEMBER 9, 2019

MAY 5, 2019

Come join us again at Lake Mattoon for a Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon on Labor Day! Course flat and fast

Join us in Effingham, Illinois at the Workman Sports Complex on May 5, 2019 for our first ever Sprint Triathlon!

APRIL 14, 2019

We are adding a Duathlon distance. So lets get in shape early and build this event back to what it was in the day !! DISTANCES: DUATHLON: 2K Run, Bike 12.40 miles and Run 2 -5k TRIATHLON: 400 yards in Sullivan civic center pool, Bike 12.40 miles and 5k run

This is a great opportunity to experience Triathlon first hand and enjoy Effingham’s pride and joy the Workman Sports Complex. Great for Beginners and Experinced Triathletes. USAT Certified. DISTANCES: 400 Yard Indoor pool Swim, 12 mile easy rolling bike course and 5k Pancake flat run course.

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217-218-7777

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JULY 14, 2019

The area’s premier USAT sanctioned Olympic distance triathlon will continue its’ tradition in Lake Zurich with the ET Lake Zurich Triathlon Sprint and Olympic event. The event has grown to over 1000 participants and is one of the area’s top Olympic distance events.

DISTANCES: Open water swim wave start distance 400 yards wetsuit will be worn if USAT rules permit. Duathlon will start with a 2K run Bike course will be the same for triathlon and duathlon 12.40 miles out and back Run will be 5k out and back flat course quiet country roads

DISTANCES: Olympic: Swim 0.93 Miles, Bike 24.8 Miles and Run 6.2 Miles Sprint: Swim 0.25 Miles, Bike 12.4 Miles and Run 3.1 Miles

www.Championchip247.net/Our-Events


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TRICIA MARKS

“I started running in high school in the early 1980’s, and ran at the University of Iowa in both cross country and track, and have continued to run (on and off) ever since. My life work, family, raising two sons, etc - has kept me running all these years both as a stress reliever as well as to just stay in shape. I love trail runs, and I’ve done so many 5k and 10k’s over the years, I’ve lost count. I’ve also completed a few triathlons, some duathlons and half marathons, but no plan on a full marathon. I don’t run the times I used to, but I don’t care; I just enjoy the competition and having fun. I’m currently an assistant cross country and track coach at Fenwick High School, which helps me bring my love for running to younger people.” Tricia’s PRs 5k: 17:32 | Half Marathon: 1:27

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LEE JARVIS

“I didn’t have much of an athletic background in my youth; I played the occasional game of soccer, but I didn’t run at school or compete in any sports at college. I started running regularly around the age of 28 and signed up for some races just for fun. I spent a few years discovering that I loved being active and outdoors, and when I decided to take athletics more seriously I soon found my competitive side! I trained for Olympic distance triathlons for several years and now have my focus on long-distance running. I’ve been lucky enough to place well at a variety of distances and the last 12 months have seen a decent string of podiums at trail ultras around the Midwest. I’m looking forward to progressing further with my training in 2019 and exploring new trails and adventures!”

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Lee’s PRs 5k: 17:31 | 8k: 29:29 | 10k: 37:35 | 15k: 57:52 | 13.1: 1:19:59 | 26.2: 2:56:03

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editor@mychicagoathlete.com

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Race Planning Timeline

As a race director, there’s a lot to get done; from the moment you decide to host a race, the list of things to do can be seemingly never-ending. We created this timeline to make sure you get all of the big stuff done in time, and feel organized and confident throughout every step in the process. Good luck!

Determine location/ distance/date of event Start brainstorming ideas for course Contact city/town officials involved to propose route and event details, fill out any permits, get approval.

START

PLANNING

Look for volunteers

YOUR RACE

Share accommodation info (local hotels, restaurants, parking, etc.) Ramp up marketing efforts

Look for potential sponsors

1

YEAR

8

MONTHS

Start advertising event online/social media Announce registration date, costs, etc. Open registration Get insurance information

8

FEBRUARY 2019

MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM

START

MARKETING

YOUR RACE

FIND

VOLUN

FOR RACE

6

MONTHS


Load up all equipment to bring to site

D

NTEERS

YOUR E

PREPARE

Put out signs on course notifying community of event

COURSE & VOLUNTEERS

Mark the course so can put up signs easily on race day

FOR YOUR RACE

Assign duties to volunteers

2

MONTHS

Arrange packet pick-ups Have all materials ordered or have order date deadlines from suppliers (shirts, medals, porto-potties, etc.)

ARRANGE

PACKET PICK-UPS

FOR YOUR RACE

1

RACE

WEEK

DAY

Put up signs: (start, finish, mile markers, etc.) Check timing system is functioning

PUT UP

SIGNS

AND

CHECK TIMING

MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM

FEBRUARY 2019

9


BY: H O LLY PE TROVI CH

When looking for volunteers for a race, it’s easy to go to local schools and running clubs to get big groups to come out. You may also have family members and friends, or other people who like to be involved in the community. You’ll probably end up with a big range of people, from young to old and runners to non-runners. So the question is, where do you put them to get the most out of their abilities? MaryAgnes Zellmer from Chicago Race Management says she has a few rules in terms of organizing volunteers: “Young people are a great resource for volunteers, because most high schools require volunteer hours to graduate. The problem with young people, though, is

they need to be supervised,” Zellmer explains. “You’ll get a good group, maybe 20, and they’re good to use as course marshals because they have good energy.”

had one fall asleep before! If possible, put a runner or someone who understands the importance of their role at these spots, as participants really depend on them.

However, Zellmer strongly advises against putting younger volunteers at important parts of the course, such as intersections where runners need consistent direction; often times, high school students get bored, and start goofing around with their friends, so putting them on a straightaway where they can simply point is ideal. Also, many of them might not have their drivers licenses, or are not experienced motorists to handle traffic safely.

“Young people are always great at finish lines and handing out water, too,” Zellmer adds.

Older volunteers, on the other hand, aren’t great course marshals, as Zellmer has

Joel Feinberg from Universal Sole events recommends placing experienced volunteers in all areas as captains so they can help teach and oversee duties. “Never put new volunteers or people that have not worked with your event in areas where it is critical for the race i.e. course crossing at major intersection or turnaround points,” Feinberg reiterates.

“Never put new volunteers or people that have not worked with your event in areas where it is critical for the race i.e. course crossing at major intersection or turnaround points.” 12

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MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM


Host a volunteer

orientation for each duty.

In terms of registration or packet pick-up, Zellmer always suggests directors look for local town organizations, as they typically follow an organized structure in their regular jobs. Once you map it all out, let your volunteers know of their duties before race day, so when the event comes, they know where they’ll be. On race morning, Zellmer and Feinberg both recommend hosting a volunteer orientation for each duty, and be clear on start and end times so they don’t leave early. “You need to communicate emergency protocol, because if it’s a street race, we try and have that route blocked off, but in the suburbs it might not be possible, so you need an emergency plan,” Zellmer says.

“Young people are always great at finish lines and handing out water. — MARYAGNES ZELLMER MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM

FEBRUARY 2019

13


Jon Scott SALES M ANAGER OF M A XWELL MEDALS BY: HOLLY PETROVICH

How did Maxwell Medals get started? Was there a need in the community? A Well, I’ve been here for 23 years, but Maxwell can really go back. We just finished up our 40th anniversary in 2018, so we got started in 1978. The founder (Tom Rochford) was a high school wrestling coach, and thought there was a need out there for affordable awards. He looked into doing that with plaques and medals, and it eventually evolved into doing some custom medals. Because we’re in Michigan, we had a few road race customers like the Detroit Free Press Marathon, which we still do today. Q

When I came along in 1995, we were still fairly small, and I really put my efforts into the road race market. I discovered that many races, especially marathons, were giving medals to every finisher. So I really started concentrating on marathons at the time, which happened to be a really good time because that matched up with the running boom in the mid 90’s. Over the years, it went from a marathon medal being a commodity to all of these half marathons giving medals, and then 10ks and now any distance giving a medal to finishers. It’s gotten bigger and more colorful and more elaborate, as they became part of the event marketing. 14

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Scott works with a designer on a medal in the Maxwell Medals office in Traverse City, Michigan.

Q Describe the process of designing a medal; what do you need from race directors in order to be successful? A We have to have something, like a sponsor logo or a landmark; they have to give us some direction and feedback. Sometimes people want us to do it all, and that’s hard if they don’t give us any direction and we can have completely different ideas. Some events work with a graphic design company for marketing materials and logos which is helpful. Q What’s your role in the process? A We have a sales staff and an art department. I’m the sales manager, and the sales people work as the liaison between the customer and the art department to ultimately get what the customer wants. There’s usually some back and forth in that process – it’s pretty rare to get it on the first iteration. Q Any common mistakes/ design tips race directors should know? A One mistake is people often get too caught up in their branding. If they have a title sponsor of a bank or hospital, they want to include that, but there’s nothing more boring than a corporate logo; runners don’t want a medal that looks like a bank logo. I would encourage them to be more creative in terms of using cityscapes, landmarks, or something more interesting.

Also, these days, a lot of races or event management companies have a series or a challenge, so if you run these four races you get all these medals, and they want them all to go together. If you do that, you end up making four medals that by themselves look incomplete, and not everybody is going to run all four events. In fact, the percentages of people that complete those challenges is in the 10-15 percent range. So now you’ve made an uglier medal and spent more money. In my opinion, the best way to go about it is to have one separate medal for challenge finishers. Finally, race directors often get too caught up in the fine details in designing a medal. Metal is different than printing on a shirt,

and certain little details can’t always come out. When they’re really close to it, they get hung up on it, but frankly, not a single recipient is going to notice. Q How early in advance of the event does a medal need to be designed in order to be ready on time? A It’s more about how early you do the artwork and design; the medal has become such a big part of the marketing plan that a lot of races want to do a medal reveal because they know a good medal will help drive registration. It could even be done six months ahead of time when registration opens – it’s never too early.

If you have 500 people, you should order 600-700 because you definitely can’t come up short. From a production standpoint, there’s no secret that most of this is produced overseas. Medals are heavy, we want to be able to import them via ocean rather than flying them in. We’d like to have the design process complete and finalized and ordered a good 12-14 weeks prior to race day.

We can do it in less time, but you are dealing with shipping and customs and shipping again domestically, and stuff happens. The earlier the better, but it’s hard to know exactly what your numbers are going to be ahead of time. One of the things you have to figure into your budget is you’re going to have medals left over, and if you have 500 people, you should order 600-700 because you definitely can’t come up short. Q So you recommend ordering extra medals; is there a way to recycle the extra medals? A Our medals, like the majority of race medals (including Chicago, Boston and New York marathons) are made of diecast metal; diecast metal is a sink-based metal with electroplating to make them gold, silver or bronze, and then some enamel fill. Some races have their own materials made from local artists, but diecast is the most common. Anyways, every town typically has one metal scrapper. PADNOS is a national chain, and they will take the medals from you, usually give you about 40 or 50 cents per pound back, and scrap it. You won’t make a ton of money back, but it’s a responsible thing to do and a way to clear out extra medals, especially after several years.

MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM

FEBRUARY 2019

15


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FROM

START TO FINISH P L A N N I N G YOU R R ACE ROU T E

START

BY: HOLLY PETROVICH

INITIAL CONSIDERATIONS

FINISH

SO, YOU WANT TO HOST A RACE? WHERE AT? WHAT DISTANCE? What time of year? All of these are the first and most important questions to ask yourself when you begin planning an event. While many race directors may be intimidated at the thought of having to construct an entire route from start to finish, MaryAgnes Zellmer from Chicago Race Management assures that it’s not as complicated as it seems. “Ten years ago, it was a whole new industry, and some cities had never held a race,” Zellmer says. “Now, I’ve never come across one that hasn’t. They know what to expect.”

MEASUREMENT PROCESS

GETTING IT APPROVED

MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM

FEBRUARY 2019

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START TO FINISH Initial Considerations

There is a lot to consider when planning an event, and while the participants are the priority, Peter Starykowicz, owner of All Community Events, says keeping in mind others who will be effected by the event is crucial. “A city’s first priority is always their citizens, so whenever we’re trying to propose a course, we look at how it’s going to be great for the participants as well as the citizens,” Starykowicz explains. “We want to make sure we’re not blocking churches, or looping around a neighborhood where there’s no way out for residents. Community impact is key.” Starykowicz also encourages directors add some diversity to their routes; for longer distances especially, keeping the participants interested and challenged is what will make them want to come back next year. “The Bolingbrook Half marathon is one of our best courses because we go through commercial areas, residential areas, and parks so the runner really gets a tour of the town,” Starykowicz adds. “They get diversity on the trail as there’s always something new being presented.” Accessibility is another important factor to consider when planning your event. Joel Feinberg from Universal Sole says many of their events take place on the lakefront path because it allows for minimal street closures, and has ample space for parking and other facilities. For his trail events, difficulty and distance are even more important, as trail races offer a totally different challenge to begin with. While Starykowicz says that both hilly and flat races are appealing for different reasons, it’s crucial to determine the type of race you’ll advertise early on. Zellmer suggests finding a running store or club in the area the event will be held, and asking them to run the route and give you feedback. “You’ll be amazed at how different a map is to the actual route,” she explains. “I had a client recently who wanted to change their route, so I sent out groups a few weeks ago and I got really interesting perspectives; they told me about a big incline and a potential muddy area, especially if its rainy, something we wouldn’t have known.” 18

FEBRUARY 2019

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As a runner himself, Feinberg will run the routes too, just so he is really familiar with the course and can see first-hand any potential complications. “I also have my Garmin tracking the route with mileage, and then download the course and see the route on the satellite view as well,” he explains.

Getting it Approved

Once you have a basic route drawn up, it’s time to present it to the town or city it’s taking place in. Every town is different, and who needs to be involved might depend on if it’s in a forest preserve, crosses county lines, or goes through the park district. Make some phone calls, and figure out what that town’s process is, then set up a meeting to propose your plan. Zellmer also encourages contacting USA Track & Field [USATF] certifiers in the area and giving them a heads up of the route. Often times, they can create a rough draft map for you to bring to the town, and then whether it’s approved or changes are needed, it will be easier to move forward. When it comes to construction or other complications that may arise in the area, Zellmer says you have to be persistent. “Communication, communication, communication,” she says. “Construction plans can change quickly, so even if you think you have clearance for race day, you need to check every other month leading up to the event for updates.” In terms of beginning the entire application and approval process, Zellmer says it should be done at least six months out. “I actually recommend a year in advance if you want to start a race, but definitely at least six months,” she adds. “You can’t really get it all together and advertise your race to the public in less than six months.”

butt and ensure participants will get what they registered for. Just because your fitness tracker or web tool says the route is the exact distance, there are often fluctuations that maps don’t pick up, so having it officially measured and certified is essential. Winston Rasmussen is an official USATF certifier and course measurer in the Chicagoland area, and has been for nearly 18 years. He’s measured over 500 races, so he’s got the process down to a science. When working with a race director, Rasmussen says he will take a look at their route online, double check with the city for approval, and then set up a time to measure the entire course. In order to do this, Rasmussen uses a Jones Counter, that goes on the front tire of his bike and it counts wheel revolutions. Once the bike is calibrated for the course and distance, Rasmussen will ride the entire course marking different mile points and turnarounds, until two good measurements agree within a tight factor. “You have to ride on the tangents of turns for accuracy, and it’s best to do it on a nice cloudy day with no temperature change so the wheels aren’t affected,” Rasmussen explains. “Even if you lose a little tire pressure, you have to start over.” After two precise measurements are acquired, an official map is created. While a course technically only has to be measured and submitted the day before the event, it’s best to do it earlier to avoid weather or other obstacles. However, remeasuring right before race day is not unusual, especially if the path needs to be rerouted to accommodate construction or another path obstruction. “Some of the bigger races have measurers on site that morning anyways, so if something happens where they need a detour they can be there,” Rasmussen adds.

Feinberg recommends having a couple of backup routes when proposing your plan to the town, in case it doesn’t get approved. This will allow for a smoother transition.

If you do run into a problem that requires a last-minute change in the course, Zellmer assures race directors to not worry, as most runners are adaptable and reasonable.

The Measurement Process

“Be upfront with them, most runners are okay with it then,” she says. “Just get out there as early as possible and make the changes very clear.”

You received the town’s approval, have announced it to the public, and opened up registration, but now you need to cover your


This Time It’s Personal

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your personal race calendar

The event calendar you can share with your pals

www.myracepal.com www.myracepal.com

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