Enthusiasm, Energy & Zeal Carry Participants A Long Way
By Paul Peavy
I was at a 5K race in July when I heard a voice saying, “I’ve got your shirt! I’ve got your shirt!” No, it wasn’t anybody from the wild party I had been to the night before. It was Judy Bruneman Alexander, the race director from a race I had run in April. She sent me an e-mail the week after the race asking where she could drop my T-shirt off. I had failed to reply but since I usually try to do a run or a tri in the area every week she figured she would just see me out and about and give it to me then.
When I said that it was my fault, and that she shouldn’t have to hunt me down to give me my shirt, she just stared at me blankly for a couple of seconds. Then, she finally said, “As the race director it’s my job to make sure that each runner and fan has a completely great experience!” There were close to 1,000 runners in the Springtime Tallahassee 5K and 10K run. So, Alexander was personally concerned for each of the 1,000 runners and their friends and family? Apparently, she really felt this sense of responsibility to each and every athlete.
Do you feel that much responsibility to each of your participants and their friends and family? If so, how does it show? If we are looking at beginning-to-end coverage, this one went way beyond the usual “end.”
The parking attendants did their jobs with ease. The people pointing you to registration were accurate and friendly. The people at registration were helpful and efficient. The volunteers on the course were helpful in directing runners, blocking cars, and lying (“Looking good!” was the major mistruth I heard them say to me toward the end of the race.)
I believe Judy’s enthusiasm, energy and zeal were passed on to each volunteer as they saw her buzzing around so early in the morning with such passion and a smile with every reply. Besides passing on such energy, I think there was another successful component to such success. Quantity.
Yes, the quantity of volunteers made space for the quality of the volunteers to rise. She recruited scouts, police, students, local running club members, and probably even some stray dogs to make sure she had everything covered.
When you have quality and quantity, boy, does that make an event successful!
But, remember what Judy did. She treated each participant and friend as a customer—an individual customer whose individual experience mattered. If you have that attitude at your next event, you are sure to have a dynamic event.