One day last fall, while walking toward the Carriage House entrance in our little gated community, a gal stopped me and asked if I was the person who ran all those marathons. She said others told her about me and wanted to know if I'd be on her committee for an upcoming event. Turns out she was planning to stage a little fun run in our neighborhood in the spring and wanted my help and input.
Sure! Why not?? The event was going to be in April and was only for our CountryPlace residents. It was truly going to be an event for all levels of fitness, with a 1/2 mile course, a 1 mile course, and a 5K course. The Committee had decided to name the event C.P.R., a fun double entendre.
I attended on of the early meetings and offered my graphic design expertise to the event. I told the other committee members that I'd be honored to design the race logo for the shirts and put together the design for the event publicity posters.
|The race poster I designed for this event.|
I contacted my local silk screen vendor, got a price quote, and got to work on the logo itself so that the event chairperson could share it with others who'd need it for banners, newsletter advertising, and the registration forms. Then we waited as the registrations began to roll in. By the end of March it was a sell-out!
I placed the event shirt order 3 weeks before the event and had to add a last-minute supplemental order just to keep up with the registrations.
My plan was not to register for the race but instead to be a "balloon lady," a back of the pack "encourager," something that a lot of other races do as a way to bring up the rear and at the same time let the race organizers know where the last runner/walker was on the course. I would cross the start line with the back of the 1/2 mile pack of runners/walkers, bring them to the finish line and then run back out onto the course to find the 1 mile back-of-packers and bring them in. Then I planned to run back out and find the back of the 5K (3 mile) pack and bring them in. So as the race date neared, I thought about where to buy some helium balloons.
Then I had a better idea. I'd wear some kind of super hero costume. At Amazon.com I found a Super Ninja Turtle costume for $5! Cape and mask and it would be perfect! Then I found some really cute little toy turtles with great detail and only $12 for a pack of 25. I could hand these out to the back-of-pack participants!
Race day morning was absolutely perfect weather-wise. I walked the short 1/2 mile from my home and already the start line area was teeming with participants and volunteers in their blue race shirts.
No aspect of the race detail was overlooked. The Event Chair did a really great job assembling a committee of people who, while none had race event experience, certainly had general event organization experience!
The Communications Committee had recruited a number of residents with golf carts which worked out really well for on-course communication with the base station at the start/finish line.
We even had a resident who set up a DJ station at the start/finish line to keep the music going.
Several residents with medical training and background staffed the First Aid committee. They had stations set up at the start/finish and along the 5K route.
A local Independent Living facility donated bottled water to the event. They had a table at the start/finish line and stocked the first aid stations and the roving golf carts with water for the participants.
The start of the 5K distance. They were turned loose first, followed by the 1 milers and then the 1/2 milers. I stayed back until the 1/2 milers started and then brought in the last walker before heading back out to find the last walker for the 1 miler.
The last walkers in the 1 mile distance.
|One of the cute little turtles that I handed out to the back-of-the-pack finishers for|
all three distances; 5K, 1 mile, and 1/2 mile.
Folks were talking about the event for days afterward! Even now, 2 months later, I spot the occasional resident wearing his or her C.P.R. shirt.
There will definitely be another C.P.R. event next year! In the meantime, never in all the years I've been running on these neighborhood streets have I seen so many walkers out there early in the morning as I was seeing in the months leading up to this event! For getting folks out of the house and getting some walking in, this definitely did the trick. Here's to next year's event and to hopefully doubling the number of registrants as neighbors hear about the event and see the shirts out and about.