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5 walkathon resolutions for the New Year

31 Dec

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Happy New Year!

Happy 2015!

What is your New Years resolution?  I always seem to carry-over the same ones from the previous year… I’ve decided that 2015 is the year that I’m gonna make the magic happen!  You’ll see!  Wahoooweeee!

Here are a few resolutions for your walkathon that may help contribute to your success in 2015!

1. Lose weight

Cut the fat from your staff.  Let go of the underperformers.  Run some reports indicating their goal and if they achieved it compared to other staff.  Let the numbers do the talking.  Harsh, yes – but sadly necessary.

2.  Eat healthy

If you offer snacks at your finish line, choose healthy ones for distribution.  Plenty of vendors offer individually packaged snacks for sale (or donation).  Granola bars, raisins, carrots, apples, pretzels, etc…

3. Get more sleep

If your site allows it, do most of the setup the day and night before so you can arrive fresh at the site the next morning.   Your body will appreciate it!

4. Save money

I recently created a post that describes the three biggest budget busters.  They all begin with the letter P!

5. Be Happy

When walkers arrive at your event, make sure they are greeted by a smiling volunteer. This first impression will work wonders on a cold, rainy morning!   Plus, who really wants to hand-over their hard-earned donations to a crab?  Smile!
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That’s it!  I hope you find these resolutions helpful and that your family has a Happy and Healthy 2015!

Diva Dash!

11 Sep

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divadash

 

Hello, my name is Lana and I am an event junkie.

(All together now……”hi lanaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”)

 

I enjoy attending large events, as long as they are outside.  I am not a fan of crowded, indoor places.  Especially when the crowded indoor places are exceeding the posted capacity limit and become a fire hazard. Perhaps it is my “Inner Diva” that does not like to be part of a large mass of people if the focus is not on me.

 

Speaking of Diva, I participated in the Shape Diva Dash last weekend and it was a blast!

The Diva Dash was promoted as “Boston” but the event was held 30 miles south in Marshfield.

I went with a posse of ladies from Green Grass Fitness and we dressed the part with our GGF shirts and green grass skirts.

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So why is a Walkathon Maven writing about a race? Because I am a logistics-luva and I wanted to see how they put this event together! Luckily, we were not in a heat that was timed, so we could run, walk or crawl our way around the 5K route. We got there early, thankfully, because the parking filled up quickly.  Note for next year – request an early heat. Once we arrived and paid the $10 to park, we had to figure out where to go since there was no signage pointing us to the entrance. The event was held on the same site that the Marshfield Fair was held a couple weeks earlier so we kinda knew where to go. I saw a Fried Dough sign and my body took over for the approach into the event oval.

We found the registration tent to pick up our numbers and the bag check to leave our bags for the event.  There was also a place to pick up the free t-shirt *included in the $70 registration fee and plenty of merchants to buy Diva shrapnel.  I liked how the signs were secured in the ground with a spike and pole holder.

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Many of the food vendors that were present for the Marshfield Fair were open operating for those that wanted to eat or drink delicious and nutritious (see Fried Dough comment above) concessions.  There was also Luna Bars, frozen yogurt and other free giveaways for us to enjoy.

I liked that the event had many inflatables as markers for the start, finish and brand promotion.  My fave was the large stage where teams could have a photo opp in front of their brand wall.  I was surprised to see that there was not a set of stairs next to it since the stage height was over 24 inches off the ground.

Before getting in line for our heat, we went to take care of our nervous piddles and came upon the most beautiful potties of all.  PINK! dash8

 

There was a DJ and sound system next to the start and the vibe was loud and fun for those lining up to begin the Dash.  Once our heat began, the course took us on a run to one of a dozen obstacles.  Cargo-net climbing, balancing, wall-climbing, dirt-mound-navigation, monkey-bars and pole-sliding were just a few.  I ran most (a little) of the course and did all (a few) of the obstacles. It is great to be a Diva and choose what I do, and do not want to attempt.

Besides, it was 96% humidity and I already smelled funky.  Many of the other participants were walking with me and verbalized similar displeasure when we came upon the next obstacle.  All in good fun!

Once we finished, we were given a Shape string bag full of free stuff like bars, coupons and a magazine.  A coupon for a free wine was attached to our bibs and we promptly went over to enjoy a beverage.  Beer was for sale, too.  We went back to the bag drop to retrieve our backpacks and found this shitshow:

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I was surprised that we had to go into the tent and find our own bag.  The tent had sides on it and volunteers at the front checked bags tags to make sure you were the owner.  If I wanted to, I could go around to the back of the 20 x 60 tent, lift up a side and help myself. Just sayin.

Overall, we had a fun time with our posse and met lots of other fun ladies who also dressed-up for the event.  We helped each other take photos and complimented one another on knee-socks, tu-tus, wigs, crowns and custom shirts.  Our team has already talked about upping our costume game for next year!  So ya know – teams and costumes are not necessary.

I arrived home wearing my gear, and my son shook his head at me.  The nerve!  My daughter asked if it was a charity event and where the money went.  I love that she is thinking like that!  I went onto the Diva Dash website to see if there was any beneficiaries of the event.   They listed two local non profits but not if they were supported monetarily.  Perhaps they were given some visibility at the event with a table to promote their cause.  I did not see it, but then again I was looking for the wine and fried dough vendors.

We are ready to rock it next year.  Join us!

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The Badonkadonk Booth

22 Jul

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The WalkathonMaven is lucky to have a following of peeps that like to share their sightings of logistical things that may interest me.  For some reason, most of the emails and texts I receive are about potties.

There is a fascination with the Badonkadonk Booth.  And I’m guilty!

I enjoy seeing the names that the potty companies use to promote their products.   Potties are an event necessity. If you are inviting peeps to a fundraising event, and you want them to part with their money – then you need to take care of their needs.  Sometimes they need water or wine or snacks or entertainment. Everyone needs to Evacuate the Dance Floor at some point.  Every event must have potties.

Most walkathons do the basic.  Prices vary from $80 – $130 depending on where you are and how many you need.

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If you are having a high-end outdoor fundraiser you should consider high-end outdoor potties.  I came across an article in a fancy magazine that shared a solution.  The Luxury-Loo.  I visited their website and found this is is no joke.

Our units are compared to restrooms in luxury hotels. The interior boasts the latest in design elements. Custom artwork, music, fine linens and toiletries, fresh flowers and exterior twinkly white lights are the perfect touch for a warm summer night. Luxury Loo™’s charming exterior offers the public an alternative to the fiberglass commercial units currently flooding the industry. Luxury Loo™ prides itself on the details.  This unit accommodates 500 people for 8 hours.

The article says that the prices range from $1750 for a small loo to $3000 for a standard.  Whoa!  Only the best for your booty.

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Here is a potty that was at my daughters LAX tournament.  I like the name. CPR for Clean Portable Restrooms.   As opposed to…. FHMS  Funky Haz-Mat Shed.

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Finally.  Here is a potty photo that was sent to me by someone who was concerned with this placement at a neighbors party.  Not sure which is more disturbing  – the tilt of the unit or the grill that is too close to the potty (and the house).   Thanks for thinking of me ! (I think.) Keep the photos coming!

andipotty

Protect the Tent!

4 Jun

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This past weekend, me and m’ladies visited NYC for a little weekend getaway to visit museums and libraries. Between our educational excursions, we also visited some water stops (bars) and made some snack stops (restaurants that have a liquor license.) 

One of the Mommies suggested we visit the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit in Greenwich Village. It was a multi-block display of a wide variety of artisans showing their creations in 10×10 tents. While I was perusing their goods and chatting with the artists, I noticed that many of them did not have weights to stabilize their tent poles.tent4 Shocking!  These artisans spend their lives creating masterpieces and they do not secure the structure that showcases their treasures.  A friend of the WalkathonMaven pointed out that this was a blog post in the making!

A few of the Mommies dropped some coin at a metal-smith’s tent.  He had to hold the tent down with every gust of wind and told us that one of his displays kept falling over.  Oy!

 As a logistic luva, I took a bunch of photos with hopes that my walkathon pals will learn from their mistakes.  Most of you will rent your tents and the vendor will take care of the sandbags or lawn spikes to secure the tents so they do not blow away.   For those of you that bring along your 10×10 pop ups to events, here are some photos I took that show some interesting ways to weigh-down the poles:

Not sure an 8-lb water jug will do much good

Not sure an 8-lb water jug will do much good

 

 

A PVC pipe was filled with sand and topped with another piece of plumbing PVC

A PVC pipe was filled with sand and topped with another piece of plumbing PVC

 

For safety’s sale, please secure EACH pole with a lawn spike when on grass and 30 lbs of weight when on concrete.

 

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A cinder block

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Avon Walk in Boston

15 May

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It’s gonna be a rainy weekend here in Boston, which is a bummer since the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is happening. Two days. 39 miles around the Boston and the ‘burbs.  For a minimum of $1800 fundraising dollars, you too can be part.

I took a lookie at their website, and came upon the list of the top fundraisers so far. The top individual fundraiser has raised $36K!. The second highest person has raised $18K. With published lists like this, any breast cancer walk event manager can prioritize their fundraising recruitment by contacting these folks first.  I smell donor poaching.

While perusing their website, I liked how the Avon folks listed the local grant recipients of the fundraising dollars, to show where 80% of the net donations are sent.  Sadly, Charity Navigator gives them a  1 out of 4 rating, with fundraising expenses of 40%.

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Here is what their website says about making a difference:

All money raised by the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is managed by the Avon Foundation for Women, a 501(C)(3) public charity that funds a comprehensive network of programs and services dedicated to serving breast cancer patients and their families through five areas of the breast cancer cause: awareness and education, screening and diagnosis, access to treatment, support services, and scientific research.

Unlike other walks, the Avon folks do not require the volunteers to raise money. They even posted on Craigslist a “want ad” for weekend route marking volunteers.  I wonder what happens if they do not get enough volunteers to fill the 4 route marking vehicles.  This is where not having a local office hurts the logistical efforts. Instead of relying on local staff  for safety and other important logistical roles, they need to rely on craigslist to recruit these folks.  That would make me nervous.

If you would like to receive a designation to be an Official (as opposed to unofficial) Sponsor of the Boston event, it will cost your company $12K.  Here is what you get for the money, including the opportunity to distribute tchotchkes to the walkers.

Oh, and since this is a 2-day event, you will need to pack some stuff.  Walkers are allowed to have a bag weighing no more that 30 lbs. I like the thorough list of things (camping gear, clothing, toiletries) you will need.   They will provide the hand soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion in the shower trucks.  Phew! That would lighten my load by about 10 pounds right there!

Good luck this weekend and have a Wicked Pissah good time!

pissah

 

 

Photos from the Boston Marathon

21 Apr

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BM14

We had a fantastic day cheering on our peeps at the Boston Marathon! Here are some photos from our cheering spot at the 6-mile mark:

Yep, that's my Hamburger Helper hand for all the runners to smack.

Yep, that’s my Hamburger Helper hand for all the runners to smack.

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The police were plentiful, packing-heat and polite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These wigs were fun, but they must have gotten hot in the 70 degree weather!

These wigs were fun, but they must have gotten hot in the 70 degree weather!

 

 

new this year was a security rope to keep spectators off the street.  Fail.

new this year was a security rope to keep spectators off the street. Fail.

 

tutu

This runner is tutu cute!

Please leave your (…) at home

20 Apr

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crowd

The Boston Marathon is tomorrow, and I’m glad the Mutha Nature is providing a wonderful New England spring day for the runners.   There is nothing to shovel!  Hurray!  I’m hoping that after tomorrow, after the marathon, we will no longer be subject to the endless stories about the bombing.  Every newscast for the past several weeks has been either about someone affected by the bombing, or the missing Malaysian flight.  Most of the stories about the bombing victims have been told, and it seems that the media is being disingenuous by re-telling these same stories for ratings.  This gratuitous reporting is sucking the joy out of the event for some runners, and us spectators.

Tomorrow, my friends and family will be cheering at Mile 6 for our peeps that will be running in the marathon.  In years past, we usually bring allotta shrapnel (chairs, beverages, snacks, noisemakers etc..) with us since we are in our spot for a few hours.  Not this year.

The Boston Athletic Association, along with local law enforcement have asked us to leave most items at home.  In addition to the extra 9,000 runners this year, they are expecting almost a million spectators cheering along the 26-mile route.  Security has been fortified, and every media outlet is highlighting what you should not bring the to the curbside viewing party:

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Weapons? Really?  Who is the idiot that needs to be told to leave their weapons at home?

Enforcement?  Perhaps some of the 3,500 police officers will be tasked with confiscation.  I would hope that there time is better spent on other security than taking away the toys from the crowds along the route.   I wonder if they will consider my vuvuzela a weapon?  vuvu

What kind of messaging do you need to keep your guests safe? When I was a walkathon manager, we were careful about what to say to our participants, so as to not offend or deter them from showing up (with their donations!)   We would use a phrase on our collateral with hopes of getting the message across:  “For the safety of our walkers, please leave your pets, bikes and roller blades at home.”  Why did we have to do this? Because there were episodes that required a visit from our insurance company to take a statement regarding a claimant.  Once upon a time, we had walkers that were run over by a bike and a roller-blader and one walker tripped over a dog leash.  She broke her hip and we (insurance) paid her medical.

While I understand the need to idiot-proof the messaging to the marathon viewers, I would not want to over-do-it so my guests decide that they do not want to attend at all.

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The Massachusetts Emergency Management Association (MEMA) has published a statement regarding the spectators.  They want us to carry our items in clear plastic bags.   This policy reminds me of how (people I know) would carry vodka inside of plastic water bottles since actual bottles of alcohol were prohibited.  The old English proverb of “Where there is a will, there is a way” comes to mind.  If some Jackhole want to be disruptive or destructive at a large event – they will figure it out.   Surveillance cameras are everywhere and the entire route has technological eyes on it.   Good luck being anonymous.

Best of luck to the runners tomorrow, and pray that my kids are not witness to Mommy being detained for a vuvuzela.

BM14

 

 

One month to the Boston Marathon

21 Mar

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BM14

The Boston Marathon is one month away, and the event organizers are understandably doubling the security on the route. This article  in the Boston Globe reports that over 3,500 police are planned to work the event that day. I’m no math whiz, but it appears that there will be enough officers to place 100 of them for every mile, and still place 450 each at the start and finish. If I may dazzle you with more statistics, that is one officer for every 10 runners.

That’s allota security and also allotta money!

If you have read my previous post of the 3 budget-busting P’s, then you know that Police is one of the largest expenses you will have for your event. (The other two are Postage and Printing).  Who is paying for this increase in security? Here is the list of the sponsors for the marathon. I’m not sure if the One Fund is paying or if any of these sponsors are writing larger checks to pay for the doubled security.

The article also states that Spectators who plan to attend the marathon are being strongly discouraged from bringing backpacks, rolling bags, coolers and other large items, and are instead being asked to carry personal items in clear plastic bags. My friends and family usually cheer on our running pals from ‘our spot’ in Framingham, at the 6-mile mark.  I can tell you that we will probably NOT be carrying our personal items in clear plastic bags.  Unless Longchamp makes a clear plastic crossbody purse measuring 10x10x2 then I’ll be wearing my standby non-complaint bag to the event.  Maybe I’ll get frisked by one of the hundred officers in Framingham lining the route.  My kids should have a good story to tell at school after vacation week.bandit

Another one of the new restrictions is the clamp-down on the running bandits. These are the folks that do not have a number and frequently runs wearing costumes.  Fun for the spectators but not for the event organizers. Imagine paying for the  porta-potties, hydration stops, first-aid and security for the 36,000 people (25% more than last year!) who have paid to be there and then multiply that by an unknown factor to accommodate the bandits.  They are not allowed this year and are “subject to official interdiction.”  I’ve never been witness to an ‘official interdiction”.  I hope it happens at Mile 6 so that my kids remember that instead of Mommy-being-frisked-for-carrying-an-opaque-bag.

Here is the schedule and event information for the Boston Marathon on April 21:

Here is the official site of the Boston Athletic Association, organizer of the Boston Marathon.

STRONGRUN

 

 

5 Logistics Lessons from a Bat Mitzvah

29 Jan

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mitzvah

I’m a logistics luva, and like to use my knowledge to make the lives of my friends and family easier when I can.  For my friends and family that read my blog – the above statement is also an apology for hijacking your plans with “a suggestion.”

A few weeks ago, I managed an event virgin excursion… my daughters Bat Mitzvah. Planning this milestone event was supposed to be easy, since I have had other professional (read: paid) experience working all year-round for one day. I planted the little event-planning seeds several months in advance so that they all bloom on event day. Most of the planning was fairly straight-forward, and I could use my past experiences for vendor negotiation and management.  The giant planning wild card was dealing with my client, who happened to be my 12-year-old pubescent daughter with lots of opinions (read: demands) and no checking account. Good times.

Luckily, my husband was very understanding (read: Ativan) and patient (read: traveled more) with the perfect storm of the perimenopausal mother and hormonal daughter working together (read: screaming shitshow).  My poor son spent the last six months in his room studying (read: playing Minecraft) to avoid the mother-daughter “collaboration.”

We all survived and are once again enjoying family dinners together.  I did learn a few things about the process, and thought my readers would appreciate the logistics lessons I learned with hopes they can help you on your walkathon.

Lesson #1

Service meal = mobile number

If I need to pay for a service meal for you….Then I get to have your mobile number. This allows me to confirm confirm confirm with you and let you know when we are on the way.  My DJ, Caterer, Site-Manager and Photographer may be sorry to have given me their digits, but they ate really well!

Lesson #2

Confirm Confirm Confirm

See #1 above.  I contacted my vendors several times the week, and day-of the event. Since the timing of this event was a 4-hour window,  I needed to make sure everyone had directions, contact information and had all questions answered before we arrived. They probably thought I was a gigantic hemorrhoid that would not go away, but I did not care. I was the customer and my name spelled backwards is ANAL. So there ya go.

Lesson #3

Don’t mess with Mother Nature

I say this because I live in New England, and things are always changing. When I signed the contract with the site a year in advance of my January event, I had them write-in a clause about snow removal. They said it would be taken care of, but I did not want to take chances. And I did not want to be shoveling in sequins and heels before the party. The forecast for the day was rain, but Mutha Nature gave us snow. This was perfect since the theme was snowflakes! The site had the shovels and salt out before my guests arrived.

Lesson #4

Seating cards suck

Like name tags, I am not a fan. Someone’s name is always misspelled or the tag is forgotten.  Seating cards were a must for this event.  Pfffftht. I thought I was ahead of the game by confirming the attendees a month ahead of time and churning these seating cards out.  I had to re-run these cards twice during the week before the event due to “changes in plans.”  In addition to the re-run, I had to re-glue the snowflakes on each seating card. @#$%!!!!!   The lesson learned is to NOT do these too far ahead of time.

Lesson #5

Thank the donors

I had the crack the whip on my beauty to write her thank-you notes ASAP.  She received some very generous monetary gifts and the guests (donors) needed to be thanked, quickly. Being a student of etiquette expert Letitia Baldridge (stop snickering), I wanted to make sure that the appropriate thank-you note window was being observed.  My daughter reminded me that we have not yet received thank-you notes from Bat Mitzvahs attended in November, but Momma don’t care!

Overall, the event went smooth and my daughter was happy and our guests had fun.  I’m glad to have three years until my son’s Bar Mitzvah!

mazel

Not in my front yard!

18 Dec

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What happens when your walkathon becomes so popular that it requires that the streets along your route to be closed for several MORE hours – limiting access to the residents that live there?   What happens if a neighborhood association along your route gets together and denies your event access?

This article in the Boston Business Journal shares that many popular road races in New England have been cancelled. Not because of logistical or monetary issues – but because the neighbors along the event route do not want the added disruption.    Many half, and full marathons can shut down street access anywhere from 3 to 12 hours.

I live near the Boston Marathon route, and know that there is NO WAY that I will be getting across Rt. 135 during the hours of 10am to 4pm on the third Monday every April. The po-po has it shut down and there are barricades in many places.  Depending on the side of the street they are located, many businesses along the marathon route know that they will either have a lucrative Monday or some simply do not bother and stay closed for the day.raceroute

Most walkathons are either 5K or 5 miles, and only require a 90 minute to 4 hour shutdown of some streets – if necessary.  Ideally, your event is making all right turns, which will minimize the traffic and residential disruption. If your walk route needs to be in a residential area, then you are hopefully placing flyers in the mailboxes of those affected to let them know the date/time and invite them to participate.

Perhaps your walk is on private property, or a state/city park and you only need to make nice-nice with the pavement or wildlife!

If you have more than 7,500 walkers, you will probably have a rolling start. Rolling starts allow participants to begin their walk anytime within a designated window. Rolling starts will reduce the large walking blob that spills into streets and require a shutdown.

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I have not even touched upon the participant parking!  When you have more walkers, you will need more places for the participants and volunteers to park their cars during the event.  Will you bus them in?  That’s an expense.  Additional vehicles on residential streets will add to the irritation to the neighbors that live there.

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How about this option?

Bottom line – if your route is in a residential area, think about the implications and inconvenience to the neighbors and try to keep your disruption to a minimum.  If you become too much of a nuisance, they may organize to shut you down.