Debrief on Feb 23rd track meet

Hi folks,

I’m trying something a little new with our post-meet debriefs so we can include people who aren’t yet in the new forum (Tom, Ved, Henry, you’ve all been invited, and I’m happy to help if you need it) while still keeping the discussion here for posterity. So if you’re reading via email, just reply to this email message, and everyone else can reply either to the group message. That said…

We once again pulled off a smoothly run meet, a testament to how experienced we’re getting. And that was even when we had to deal with an entirely unprecedented THREE heats of the 5000m. Here are my observations about the meet—please share any you had along with any ideas for improvement.

  • It turns out we can put 20-30 people in a heat of the 5000m without trouble, although I should have stuck with my 30-minute time estimate—25 minutes per heat was overly optimistic by exactly 5 minutes per heat overall. It was helpful that Jullien and I realized last night (when I called her for a sanity check about the size of the heats) that we could do a Lane 4 stagger to have a box start. Putting the small cones between Lane 3 and Lane 4 for the length of the stagger was essential (thanks, Henry!), and I think having both medium cones and a person (thanks Aaron!) at the break point helped as well. I saw no problems with people breaking in.

  • Adam’s idea to create a chute of sorts for the races with lots of close finishers worked brilliantly, and we should do the same for future meets. Hurdles are readily available, and I have some clothesline in the big black bag that worked well to create a softer entry point when attached to a cone with one of our signal flags. It’s also helpful to have Adam or someone confident in their ability to order runners around to keep people lined up in order after they finish.

  • Thanks to Lorrie for stepping in as head timer when we needed her! Overall, timing went well. We tried something new (or at least unusual; in retrospect, we might have done this once before) for the 400m. The runners had to break in—we don’t have a two lap stagger start marked—but we wanted the ease of import that comes with lane timing. The trick was for each person with a numbered Time Machine thumb switch to track the runner who started in that lane and press the button for that person, and only that person, when they crossed the finish line. It requires the timers to memorize who their runner is, but you only have to remember for a few minutes. We’ll keep doing this.

  • Tonya suggested that we make an inbox for Jullien so she can drop day-of-race registrants and change cards in there without worrying that they’ll get lost in other papers. I’ve found such a box and will bring it next month so we can see how it works.

  • Mickie can report on the clothing sales, but I think it was moderately successful, if not a home run, to mix the sports metaphors. Ideas for improving clothing sales further welcome.

  • Once again, Meet Manager freaked out on us once in the meet. Sometimes it just wants my fingers; this time my fingers had to remember the Windows Ctrl-Alt-Del shortcut since Meet Manager was frozen. We’ll just remember that this may be necessary.

  • The Time Machine beeped and complained about low battery a couple of times, but it seemed to have sufficient power. We’ll need to keep an eye on this, but it’s easy to plug in at the indoor meets if we need to. That’s not true at Lansing, so if this continues, we’ll need to send it back for a new battery (that happens every so often).

  • I’m still working on Tom’s idea of getting some shells for starting pistol that are quieter but still have smoke. The ones I found that are quiet are for dog training and are also smokeless.

Anything else about these or other topics from your perspectives? Thanks!

Sold about $140 worth of merchandise about half of it was cash. People were curious and several asked if we would be back for the March meet. Most wanted the long-sleeve tech shirt but I only have women’s large left (that’s why they were only $10). If you remember, you might want to mention in an email about the meet that clothing will be for sale.

Congrats on a great meet everyone! From a clerk of course perspective, everything went very smoothly and easily. Probably because there were fewer heats of the sprints and fewer kids to wrangle than usual.

That’s pretty good, and better than I’d thought before—congrats. From a marketing standpoint, consistency of availability is undoubtedly helpful. Those who were curious this meet might buy next time.

And thanks for the reminder about mentioning it in the pre-race email next time—I was kicking myself as soon as you mentioned that. Anything we can do to set expectations ahead of time is a win. I’ve left myself a reminder about this for the March 29th meet.

I’m glad to hear that, Bill, since I had moved Lorrie from helping you to timing at the last minute. You seemed to be handling it so expertly that I didn’t think to ask if you needed assistance. But everyone should always feel free to ask for help if you find yourself being overwhelmed by something. It’s usually easy for me to move another volunteer or recruit an innocent bystander to help.