By: Tim Skjellerup on October 31, 2015
So! You have made your decision and you’re going to sign up for a long distance relay race (LDR). However, if you have not been invited onto a team, you may decide to be a team captain and start your own team. You begin to think to yourself ”Where do I start?” Who should I ask to join? What are the logistical issues? How much is it all going to cost?” “Oy! On second thought maybe I’ll just find a team to join.”
HOLD ON!! Not so fast…Although being a Team Captain does take a little bit of work and some planning, it’s not the daunting task that it seems. In fact, from my experience the benefits far outweigh any perceived down side.
Here are 10 tips that will help you form and organize your first LDR team and have the ultimate relay experience.
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Race
Take 20 minutes and read up on the race that you are interested in running. Learn the ins and outs of how LDRs function and are run. Look at the rules, regulations, and team requirements. Having a good grasp of the race ahead of time will enable you to explain it to potential team mates. For more information on how LDRs function click here: P2B Relay Overview
2. Find a Partner
Find a partner or co-captain that is just as excited as you are that can help you form and organize your team. If you are going to have a standard 12 person team, recruit someone that will be a captain for one of the two vans. Now each co-captain will only have to find five runners, instead of you having to locate eleven on your own. Don’t be afraid to delegate some of the responsibility; this will save you a ton of time.
3. Be Clear About the Team’s Goals with Everyone
Make sure your entire team is on the same page. If van #1 wants to finish in the top five, and van #2 is just out there to have a good time and doesn’t really care about their ranking, you’re going to have some internal conflicts. Nip this in the bud early by making it clear to everyone ahead of time what the team’s main purpose is.
4. Be Prepared for Things to Change
The team that you originally get commitments from will most likely not be exactly the team that you show up with on race day. People get injured, pregnant, and invited to weddings… In other words, things come up and life happens. Sometimes people have to drop from the team. When this happens don’t freak out. Let the remaining members of your team know that you lost a runner and have them help you put the feelers out for an extra runner. It doesn’t hurt to have a list of potential runners on standby for these types of situations. You could also send an email to your local running club president or fitness center and let them know that your team is looking for a runner.
5. Let People Know What’s Going On
Keep your team up to speed on any race communications. For example, start times, start line locations and other logistical details need to be relayed to help things run smoothly. Work closely with your co-captain so you know when and where you will meet up during the race. It is a good idea to have a team contact list that gets distributed to everyone on the team for good communication on race day and before.
6. Take Advantage of Early Registration and Save Everyone Some Money
As soon as you have made your decision, register your team early in order to take advantage of early registration promotions. Remember, you don’t need to have your entire team formed in order to register. Lock in the savings early because everyone likes to save money. It also gives you more time to organize your relay team.
7. Don’t Forget the Volunteers
Remember that most LDRs have a minimum team volunteer requirement. Often times your team will have the opportunity to pay for volunteers, and the money that you pay for each volunteer will go to a charitable organization that provides volunteers for you. If you choose to do this don’t forget to calculate the added cost of volunteers into the overall team price.
8. Get your Transportation Early
Lock on your team’s transportation early. This is another way that having a co-captain can be beneficial. Instead of having to secure two vans yourself, you each only have to locate one. Make sure you check with team members to see if they have an authorized vehicle that your team can use for the race before you go and rent one. Also, don’t forget to agree on how much everyone will chip in for fuel cost ahead of time.
9. Get Everyone’s Accurate Pace
Events of this scale take an enormous amount logistical planning and coordination on th
e part of the Race Directors. Start times are carefully set up based on team paces in order to accommodate local municipalities and medical support staff schedules. If a team’s pace is not accurate, your team runs the risk of being too far ahead or behind schedule. This could result in a team being held back at an exchange or having to skip ahead on the course. In order to keep your team moving along the course at a steady pace, make sure you have the most accurate pace information possible for all members of your team.
10. Plan the Return Trip Home Ahead of Time
Make sure you make post-race plans ahead of time. If half the team wants to spend the night where the race finishes and celebrate, and the rest of the team wants to head home and get some sleep, make sure this is communicated ahead of time and arrangements are made for each group of people.
Follow these simple guidelines and your team will have a fun and well organized relay experience. To sign up your team for the ultimate relay experience go to: P2B Registration