Thursday, 6 August 2015

Musings on entering races

I've written a number of draft blogs over the past few years about entering races; as in where people just don't get it. The posts have been a bit of a rant, written in frustration and irritation. I've used them to let off steam and then I've left them sitting on the server as 'draft' posts.

I'm entered for Dawn2Dusk at the end of this month. It's a 12-hour circuit race where we run as many one-kilometre laps as we can in 12 hours. My arm hardly needed any twisting as I had a really good 12-hour circuit race experience nine years ago.

The race director, Gerrie, seems to be quite a card. His emails and race instructions are exactly what I want to say to my race entrants; only I've been too 'polite' to do so.

Prior to going away for a few weeks, Gerrie sent us an email (1 July). In it he writes:
The most important rules for the moment are as follows: 
  • Do not ask me any further race information at this stage – it will be sent to you in due time (see below)
I will be away from 3 – 22 July and no communication will be possible. For any silly and senseless questions from your side, come back to me after 22 July.
He also mentioned that he'd send complete info and rules on his return.

For this circuit race I know the lap is one kilometre in distance, it is run at a school in Pretoria and the duration is 12 hours. There really isn't anything else that I need to know now and I have confidence that I'll be sent times, overnighting information and such at a later stage as this isn't available on a website.

I put race information of all of my events online so there should be no need to contact me. Just rock up ready.

In his email sent 30 July, with complete rules and info attached, he writes:
I’m back and it is all D2D planning and preparing – so far everything runs smooth, so don’t you mess it up for me.
Attached, in the meantime, is the golden document of D2D, that is the arrangements and rules.
If you do not read this carefully I can guarantee you problems and difficulties, and I will do my utmost best to add to your miseries.
 If, after reading this, you still have questions, please don’t call me, I will call you
On my event websites I put times, directions, maps and I also send out a pre-event reminder with these details directly to entrants... and still 30 minutes (or even 1 minute) before the start - often while I'm out running around putting out flags, I've got people phoning me asking me for the address of the venue or whether they can enter!

I'm a big 'Gerrie' fan. He's funny in his emails but he is also serious too. I can so relate. Event organising is a tough task and it is generally entrants who don't read what they're sent or those who arrive late and unprepared who cause all the hassles and can very much upset a perfectly balanced apple cart.

For organisers there is so much to juggle on race day from equipment and catering to volunteers, media and other people. If entrants want a good event then it really is their responsibility to read the event information, comply with requests, rock up on time and arrive prepared.

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