• Martin Spierings

3 Basic Jobs of the Triathlon and Running Event Race Director

This article is not to suggest that the task of organizing a running or triathlon race is an easy one. But I do feel, with all the bells, hashtags and plastic medals of the modern event, that the basics can get lost and a reminder on the fundamentals are in order. These are the three most important things to get right. The rest is fluff.

1. Measure the course

We're all checking our Garmins anyway, you could argue, but as we know they can be inaccurate and confuse things. It's even more important now than ever to have confidence in the official distance, especially at the longer distances. See this marathon that got it wrong not once but twice. Infuriating.

2. Time each person on the course

Mordern chip timing is great when it works. But there's no one who competes regulary who hasn't experienced it NOT work at least once (a season!). We seem to forget that you can actually achieve close to the same thing with a couple of volunteers a pen and stopwatch. I presumed that's why we're covered head to toe in numbers in the first place. I sometimes wonder how much effort is put into a backup plan.

3. Penalize cheats

As some races more closely resemble parades than competitions it may be a surprise that a significant proportion of racers still enter events to compare themselves to others. They can't do that fairly if the rules aren't being followed. Everything from entering the wrong waves, drafting, cutting the course needs to be thought about beforehand to be able to prevent and catch competitors messing up the results inadvertently or otherwise. Someone has to be nominated as race official and train volunteers to watch out for rule infringements and how to report them. 

There, I feel better now.

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