One of the greatest assets or downfalls of an event can be their course. Accurate and clearly marked routes will insure your participants travel the correct way and distance. In this blog we will go over what proper procedures to take to insure all athletes stay on route and happy!
One of the hardest aspects of events can be finding enough volunteers. Especially if you have a course that requires a lot of volunteers. When I started Crossroads Events I realized this became a constant issue for my events and my client's events so that is when I decided to begin what I call "directionally impaired proofing" your event. Meaning we mark our courses so incredibly clearly at every single possible turn or ambiguous section of the course that you would have to literally be blind to not go the correct way. We have seen that this helps to greatly reduce the amount of course volunteers needed on race day.
How do we do this? At every single turn or ambiguous pathway we clearly mark it 2 ways.
1. Ground Markings - Usually this means duct taped arrows since we can rip them up and leave no trace of our event being there. If it is a grass or dirt surface we will use spray paint or spray chalk.
2. Signs - To pair our ground markings we also place a chest level turn sign at every marked section so if the ground markings are not seen they would definitely see the sign. We have created a lot of chest level stands for our signs so they are clearly visible to participants.
It is also important to place these markings and signs in the direct middle of the path / route if possible and not off to the side to give your participants the greatest possible chance of viewing them. I personally like to say my participants will have to step on the markings and run over our signs before they could possibly go the wrong way.
As long as you've marked your course the proper way you will have vastly cut down on the amount of course volunteers needed. However it is always wise to have a couple volunteers placed at strategic locations on course for safety reasons, at aid stations, and at any area of the course that cannot be properly marked.
The last method you can put in place is to have a last minute course checker. This should be someone who knows your course in and out to run, bike, or drive your route right before the event begins to ensure there has not been any course vandalism to your signs, markings, or aid stations. Unfortunately on the rare occasion vandalism does happen and this is a last minute course check you can do to make sure you have set your route up for success!
If you follow these simple steps you should set your event up for an extremely well marked course which makes for happy athletes!