Archive | Logistics RSS feed for this section

The Mutha of Walk Weekends

11 May


mom weekend


Mother’s Day was this past weekend and it is a traditional time for me to escape my mommy duties for a day, and also for many fundraising events to happen.

One of the larger national events that occurred last weekend is the the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Washington DC. This year, they had 15K participants and their top fundraiser raised over $31K!!   Whoa!!!   Years ago, this 5K walk/run event had 40,000 participants and was the largest in the nation for Komen. I was surprised to see that Hulk Hogan made an appearance as the Grand Marshall. I thought it was a random choice for a Grand Marshall, but apparently Komen has a partnership with the WWE that has helped them raise over $1.5M!!  I wonder if any events have a partnership with the MMA.  Can you imagine seeing a promotional charity banner hanging in the Octagon while the fighters kick each others teeth out?


I found that Washington DC has a walkathon just about every weekend, and came upon a fantastic and comprehensive listing of all the events for the area. SO many walks for so many great causes. Holy Walkathon Hotbed!  Is your cause or issue having a walk in the DC area?  Here are the links:

Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation

National Walk for Epilepsy

MS Walk – National MS Society, National Capital Chapter:

Walk for Lupus Now

Breath Deep 5K Walk for LUNGevity

National Kidney Foundation Kidney Walk

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Relay for Life

Ronald McDonald House Charities® Red Shoe 5K Run & Walk

Great Strides for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

We’ve Got Your Back 5K Race and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk

Walk to Cure Diabetes

Psoriasis Network Walk to Cure

Stomp Out Sickle Cell Walk

Walk Off Parkinson’s

Out of the Darkness Community Walk

Prevent Cancer Foundation 5k Walk/Run

“Join the Voices! D.C. Walk”

Huntington’s Disease Society of America Hope Walk & 5K Run

FARE Walk for Food Allergy in Northern Virginia

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Cornerstones Help the Homeless Walk

Down Syndrome Association Buddy Walk

Making Strides of Washington, DC 5K Walk

Walk Now For Autism Speaks

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk

American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes

National Walk for Hemophilia

AIDS Walk Washington


Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation 5K Walk

CureSearch Walk for Children’s Cancer

Greater Washington Heart Walk

St. Jude Give Thanks

You could say that the DC area is the Muthaship of all Walkathons! I may need to create a WalkathonMaven satellite office in the Nation’s Capital!


Walkers at the POTS event

Walkers at the POTS event


Not every walkathon has to be huge to bring awareness to an issue. Yesterday, I read a story in the Boston Globe about a small walkathon for a disease I have never heard of.  POTS. About 400 people showed up for the walk in the Boston area to raise money and awareness for an organization called Dysautonomia International, that raises money for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

What is POTS? The article says that POTS is A malfunction of the autonomic nervous system that can leave sufferers unable to function, POTS is estimated to affect between 1 million and 3 million Americans, most of them young womenWho knew? Dysautonomia International is a new (2102) organization and is currently unrated with Charity Navigator.  On GuideStar, I found that they have an annual budget of $100,000.  All of the big walks started small like this, and I wish them the best as they grow to be a more visible event that provides a place for other caregivers/affected persons to gather.

Why do you walk?

For the t-shirt?

For the cause?

To be part of a community of people that would like to bring awareness and raise money for a cause that affects them?

Big or small, a walkathon is a great way to be with other like-minded individuals who share the same interest in making things better.

Here is a walk coming up next weekend that raises money for homeless kids so that they can have a birthday party.  Everyone loves a Cake Walk!









Super Bowl XLIX

31 Jan




Super Bowl XLIX (or 49 for the roman-numeral-challenged) is tomorrow!  My beloved Patriots are playing the defending champs (name omitted on purpose) for the title of Best NFL Team. Being an event junkie, I needed to read about the logistics involved in hosting such a HUGE event.  I found the Host committee website to peruse the volunteer opportunities, sponsors and the like.

Apparently, Super Bowl Central in downtown Phoenix is sponsored by Verizon. The VSBC Verizon Super Bowl Central (VSBC) will take over and transform Downtown Phoenix into the epicenter of Super Bowl activities with 1 million visitors expected to attend.  I think that the Host Committee did a great job on the website making the event idiot-proof with regards to transportation and other FAQs.  They even have a tab that lists contact information for ALL of the vendors that have provided services to their event.  If you have room to spare on your walkathon website, it would be nice to include ALL the vendors that provide services for your event.  Perhaps the mention on your site will encourage a greater discount or outright donation of services for your next walk.   FYI – the name of the potty company is called “A” Company Portable Restrooms.  Your welcome.



Many news sites have done non-football-related comparisons between New England and the other team.  My favorite is the one from titled: Super (Generosity) Bowl: Which Team Has the Edge?  The article compared things like:

Which city is more generous?  (Answer: the other team. Their giving ratio is 3.09% vs. our 2.54% of income. )

Which teams foundation gives more?  (Answer: Patriots with $3.12 million in grants. BTW, only the Cowboys give more)

Which team owner is more generous? (Answer: The other team.  The owner, Paul Allen,  is the co-founder of Microsoft.  ‘Nuff said.)

Charitable standouts on the roster. (Answer: toss up)

Looking forward to seeing the commercials, especially the Budweiser Clydesdales search for ‘Lost Dog’!  Let’s go Patriots!!!





5 walkathon resolutions for the New Year

31 Dec


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!
That’s it!  I hope you find these resolutions helpful and that your family has a Happy and Healthy 2015!

Diva Dash!

11 Sep




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.


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.


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:

dash3 dash5

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!

dash1 dash2dash9

The Badonkadonk Booth

22 Jul




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.


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.



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.


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!


Protect the Tent!

4 Jun



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.



A cinder block


Avon Walk in Boston

15 May


avon walk1


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%.


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!




Photos from the Boston Marathon

21 Apr




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.


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.



This runner is tutu cute!

Please leave your (…) at home

20 Apr



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:


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.

bag check

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.




One month to the Boston Marathon

21 Mar



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.