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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Running an Event

in: Cristina; Cristina > 2016-04-12

Apr 12, 2016 10:12 PM # 
What's their secret? Is a lot of it automated (i.e., all runners already in a pre-registration system)?
Apr 13, 2016 8:18 AM # 
Yeah, most people are pre-registered on Eventor. And we had a lot of people helping out with all aspects (about 25 - still over 100 people from my club were able to race). Registration on-site is relatively simple since most people do not pay then -- their clubs are billed for everyone in the club after the event and then each person pays at the end of year (most likely), one big payment for all registrations for the year. (This is, by the way, a really awesome way to do things.) We still had a dedicated and busy team of people doing data entry (entering new registrations, changing brick numbers, handling mispunches) the whole time:

The more impressive part might be starting 586 people in a one hour window. Three similar length courses, so that's three people starting at once, with a start interval of 15s. The beauty of this system is that there's still room for more people!
Apr 13, 2016 11:11 AM # 
I think one of the enter-on-day courses at O-ringen last year had over 1000 starters in a five-hour window.
Apr 13, 2016 12:36 PM # 
Comparing that to the way most national level events in the US get run just makes me sad.
Apr 13, 2016 5:05 PM # 
25 volunteers -- that says a lot right there.
Apr 13, 2016 5:36 PM # 
Yep. More people is certainly a huge part of it, but so is knowing what you can handle.

I definitely feel like a lot of clubs in the US try to do too much with what they have. Our evening trainings are super simple -- one person designs a couple of courses and hangs controls, another person works as the on-site organizer, handing out the maps and making sure everyone comes back, then retrieving the controls. Two people organizing, and a hundred people can go out and have a good time orienteering. A lot of local events in the US could be a lot more like that.

One of the advantages with having so many orienteers in a small area, aside from having a lot of volunteer depth in the club, is that the are other clubs. Instead of one club putting on a park series, we have five clubs each putting on one race of the series. It's a lot easier to find volunteers for our race if everyone knows they run all the others guilt-free. I wonder if some US clubs would benefit from splitting into geographic groups so they could organize things "for each other".
Apr 14, 2016 11:28 PM # 
Great point - we always had such choices when we lived in Boston or at West Point - often 2-3 meets within "reasonable" driving distance a weekend. Then you've got clubs like DVOA that are so big, they run two meets on a day so no one has to drive too far.
Apr 17, 2016 12:06 PM # 
Interesting. In southern Ontario, we have 4 clubs that put on events for each other. Last year there were 5, and there were 6 clubs five years ago. There were even more clubs in the past.

One advantage is what you say - lack of guilt. Another advantage is that clubs develop different characters and put on different types of events.

The disadvantages are:

- More volunteers are dedicated to orienteering admin instead of orienteering. We have multiple elected boards holding meetings, multiple treasurers writing financial statements and paying affiliation fees, multiple people managing online registrations or advertising for new members, etc. Some great people are left without time to set courses or even orienteer very much. Orienteering admin can be soul sucking compared to course setting - don't ask me how I know.

- The relationships and boundaries between clubs need care and feeding, which takes time. We have a Map Registrar and a Map Policy because there were issues related to clubs wanting to reserve the same areas for mapping or update existing maps belonging to a different club. There has been tension when clubs schedule events on the same day.

Where there aren't many orienteers, particularly those who are willing to volunteer, I would like to see fewer clubs with fewer volunteers "lost" to admin work and less need for "boundary management". In Norway, I think you should have lots of clubs! :)
Apr 17, 2016 1:15 PM # 
In orienteering in general (at least in Sweden) we tend to "over-organize" everything - we want/expect things to be perfect - thus the ever growing workload on volunteers. Of course it´s nice when things work out, but sometimes it´s at a too high cost of administrative time.

Granted there are more orienteers in Sweden and Norway so more clubs are needed. The benefits of big numbers get lost if you´re too big a club - things get less personal and the administrative burden a PITA...

We have a little of the same problem with less volunteers willing to do their share and smaller clubs disappearing. Also the over-all membership in Sweden has been going down for years.

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