Well, if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that being a race director is no easy job. I found out about Run At Work day last year and decided I wanted to bring it to my workplace. We’ve participated in the Corporate Challenge in years past, but our numbers were dwindling. People just did not seem into going to an event after work. So, I decided to bring the event to them!
Run At Work Day is a program sponsored by the Road Runners Club of America. This is the 7th year of the program. “The goal of RUN@WORK Day is to encourage adults to get 30 minutes of exercise each day”. You could either do a 3k (1.87 miles) or 5k (3.1). I decided to go with a 3k since it is shorter and seems less intimidating. I ordered special banners, got free race bibs, a real time clock, healthy food and other fun stuff. I had a race committee who helped – thank goodness, and also did a lot of the planning myself. I was worried we would not have a lot of people participating, but I was pleasantly surprised. We had 64 people, about 75% of the company!
We decided to do teams of 4. We have a warehouse and call center where I work. The warehouse jobs are more physical. My job (writer) and the call center jobs are much more sedentary. My goal was to show people how much fun 5ks, etc can be.
I used my Garmin watch prior to race day to map out the route around our building. The route was a bit shorter than a 3k, but that was ok. Baby steps. Day of the event, the weather cooperated. It rained a bit prior and after, but not during! I made a finish line arch from a party supply item- it was really meant for a country western theme – but you gotta be creative! I also created special labels for water bottles, found fitness rubber duckies for prizes, brought in my popcorn maker from home and more. Prior to the event, people could earn raffle tickets for prizes by taking the stairs, finding “lucky horseshoes” and donating canned food to be given to charity.
At 11 am morning of the event, everyone gathered out front, and, after a few verbal directions, they were off! Team names included; “The Vintage Walkers”, “The Slow Pokes”, “Girls From the Hood” and “Sure, No Problem” (our company motto). Participants had to run (or walk) 3x around the building and parking lot. At lap 1 & 2, I had someone handing out “silly bands” so we could prove they did the laps. There was some confusion on the route and a few people ran longer, but that’s ok – they received special certificates to compensate. As each team came in, their time was recorded and total scores added with the best time winning. I had medals and stickers for everyone and provided pom poms, cowbells, etc for the spectators to cheer their coworkers on. We also had a photographer and videographer. It was then time to head inside for a healthier lunch of veggie subs, baked chips, granola bars, water and popcorn. After that, there was an awards ceremony. There were certificates for best team spirit, team name and even last place finishers. I tried to have prizes for everyone – all types of health related things from a cookbook, to headphones to gift cards for the grocery store. I was excited to see that some teams made special t shirts, had special hats and even ran tied together. Prior to the race, everyone got a goodie bag with a baseball cap and a pedometer.
I’m hoping people enjoyed the event. It was a lot of work, planning and coordination and honestly, it stressed me out (yes, much of it self imposed I know). Thank you to everyone who helped and participated! I had a great team who helped with posters, set up, water, getting food, getting discounts and much more. I hope we helped build team morale and showed people that getting in exercise thru the day actually gives you energy. I’ve put on weight myself, but have never stopped moving/working out. It’s all a journey, and some days/months/years are more challenging than others. It takes a team to put on a successful running event, so I have a lot of respect for the real race directors out there. I’ll never take them for granted again. Now, if I could just get people to stop taking the elevator (it only goes up one floor!), then I would really know I was making a difference…
Keep on running, walking and moving!