Races and endurance events are exciting. People train for months to compete in these events, and when race day finally arrives, they’re full of energy. As a planner, you’re probably experiencing just as much adrenaline. Finally, you’re ready for everything you’ve been putting together to finally bear fruit. What can go wrong? Honestly, a lot of event-day issues can arise even after weeks or months of planning.
In a perfect world, everything would run smoothly. All the planning you’ve put into your race would mean that the event goes off without a hitch. Unfortunately, that’s just not how things work in the real world. Exercise events can run into significant problems, even on the big day. Your job as the coordinator is to keep the race running smoothly and resolve issues as quickly as possible.
Luckily, in the weeks and months leading up to a race, you can prevent most problems that might pop up the day of the event. Here are six of the most common endurance event-day issues and the strategies you can use to avoid them.
1. Legal Problems
One of the biggest event-day issues any public race can face is a lack of legal recognition. If you’re planning an in-person 5K or marathon that uses public roads, you need to get appropriate permits from the municipality. Be sure to secure these permits well before the race to ensure that the local government can protect the route for you.
If you don’t have the proper authorization, you’re in for problems on the day of the event. Roads won’t be blocked off, and your participants will be in danger. Even worse, you could face legal penalties if you try to hold the event anyway.
You can prevent legal complications like this by doing your research in advance. Every town has its own process for granting street use permission to event coordinators. Reach out to city hall officials to learn about local regulations. They’ll help you get the paperwork you need and design a safe, convenient route.
As a rule of thumb, contact government officials at least four months before your event, preferably six months. It should be the very first thing you do for your event. If you discover problems with your permits down the road, be proactive in getting them fixed. Solving issues with permits on the day of your event is nearly impossible, so it’s better to prevent them entirely.
2. Inefficient Registration
Whether your event is entirely in-person or has a hybrid element, you need to figure out registration. The biggest roadblock to getting your show on the road is getting all your participants registered and ready. Registration procedures for endurance competitions need to cover things like:
- Collecting the participants’ names and contact information
- Gathering liability waivers
- Receiving emergency contact information
- Accepting participation fees or donations
- Offering instructions for how to participate in the race
- Providing participants with race numbers and merchandise
That’s a lot of moving parts. If you don’t have an efficient registration process, you’re going to face long lines, unhappy racers, and serious delays.
Giving participants an online registration option will make the day of your race much simpler. Both live and online competitions can make use of online registration. The right digital registration portal can help you collect participant information, payments, and waivers and give people important safety information in advance.
With online registration, the only thing you need to do in person is check people off a list and give them their race number. If you mail numbers and supplies in advance, then you can trim that prep work even further. By setting up your digital registration platform in advance, you can save yourself a ton of headaches on the big day.
3. Lack of Volunteers
Races and endurance events cover a lot of space, so you’ll need a lot of help. l It’s important to have people running registration, managing the crowd, handing out water along the route, and setting up and tearing down your booths and course.
It’s normal to lose a few volunteers due to forgetfulness or emergencies, but generally speaking, the more help you have, the better.
The real problem arises when you show up at your location and realize that most of your volunteers have failed to show up. Every event has a bare minimum number of helpers required to make it happen. If too many people fail to show, it simply won’t be safe or even possible to hold your event.
You can avoid volunteer attrition by giving your helpers the same attention as your participants during event planning. Remember, volunteers are doing you a favor. Give them recognition for their work, and make it as easy as possible for them to help you out. Ways to make sure enough volunteers show up include:
- Recruiting more volunteers than you need to counteract attrition
- Sending volunteers multiple reminders before the event
- Offering volunteers benefits for helping out, like VIP status for the post-race event, free T-shirts, or free meals
- Allowing volunteers to swap shifts and locations so they don’t just drop out
4. Poor Communication
You can plan the best event on the planet, but it won’t matter if you don’t communicate the details clearly to all participants. Just because you know what’s going on doesn’t mean everyone else does. Poor communication can cause people to show up at the wrong place or at the wrong time, or simply miss the event entirely.
If you want people to attend the event, you need to communicate effectively during the planning process. Information you need to share includes:
- How to register
- The route
- Where to park
- Where to check in
- Any clothing requirements
- Any race-specific information
- What to expect before and after the race
- Rules for the event
All of this information should be on your competition’s website. Still, you should send it directly to participants, volunteers, and your team, too.
The easiest way to make sure everyone has quick access to key event information is to use event management software that includes efficient communication features. Events.com offers a wide range of communication products such as customized confirmation emails, emailing active attendees, and an integration with MailChimp. An event management platform like Events.com can help you streamline your communication with attendees before endurance events.
5. No Backup Plans
If you’re organizing a race, it’s easy to get caught up in your primary plan. You’re focused on setting up the event you want to occur, and you may not think to design backup plans. This can become a big problem if something goes wrong.
Outdoor events can face plenty of problems. Bad weather can make it too dangerous to hold the event, while illness can force you to cancel in-person gatherings. You need to have plans for these worst-case scenarios to make sure your event isn’t canceled.
You can and should have several backup plans for different scenarios. Your procedure for bad weather may not look like your plan for an emergency COVID-19 lockdown. Questions to consider include:
- Do you have a backup date in case of severe weather?
- Is there a way for you to quickly communicate with participants and volunteers?
- Do you know how long you can keep the roads blocked off?
- Do you have a plan for converting the competition to an entirely virtual event if gathering is dangerous?
Events.com offers a platform called Events.com EveryChallenge™, which allows you to sell tickets for virtual endurance events, market your event, and share virtual results, among other capabilities. If you’re struggling to come up with a plan for a virtual event, you can check out these creative ideas.
6. Too Many or Too Few Participants
Part of the joy of an endurance-based event is the energy of competing with other people. You want to make sure that enough participants show up to give everyone a good time. You also want to make sure you’ve reserved enough space and collected enough supplies for everyone. That means that you don’t want too many people to show up.
To walk that line, encourage people to register in advance. Advance registrations online give you a clear idea of how many people intend to show up. Collecting donations or participation fees upon registration ensures that your registered participants are serious about showing up. By taking these steps, you can gain a better sense of your attendance so you don’t overestimate.
You should also make it clear that you have a maximum participant limit and limited on-site registrations. If you hit your capacity, either close sales or find a larger venue. This way, you can avoid overwhelming your volunteers and stressing your suppliers with on-site sales.
You also don’t want too few people to show up for your event. To ensure a good turnout, you should market your endurance events effectively. If people don’t know about your event, they can’t choose to sign up. Events.com offers an array of event promotional tools to help attract more attendees and sell more tickets, including promo codes, affiliate programs, and refer-a-friend, to name a few. Additionally, tapping into an automated event marketing platform, like Events.com EveryAd™ can help you advertise your event and sell more registrations through digital marketing ads.
Solving Issues Effectively With The Right Event Management Platform
The best way to keep things from going wrong at your race is to plan for them in advance. Event management for races and endurance events is all about preventing problems with permits, registration, attendance, and volunteers before they occur. You can solve problems before they start by using the right tools.
Events.com has the tools you need to plan a successful race. From organizing your race with event management software to planning backup virtual fitness challenges by using Events.com EveryChallenge™, Events.com makes it easy to prevent problems. Learn more about how Events.com can help you plan your next endurance event from beginning to end in order to create a more memorable experience for your attendees.