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Planning Events in a COVID World

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Being a wife of a Marine Corps Veteran, I am reminded of the many times that plans changed and to always be prepared. As with planning events during this time, the plans will change and then change again and might even change a third time. The key is to roll with the punches, be flexible and have multiple plans in place so that you’re ready to go when those changes happen.

The cost to host events will be increased because of the purchase of personal protective gear for staff, board and volunteers. More refunds (with no cancellation fees) are issued for anyone that is tested positive for COVID and can’t attend the event. The cost for extending event times to accommodate the smaller groups of people can add up when you pay security and or venue fees by the hour.

Planning our Sledgehammer Beach Run took some creativity with starting corrals, plans for aid stations, creating a cashless event and still having an awards presentation. First we set up corrals for runners to choose when they registered for the event and then we color coded them so there wouldn’t be confusion at the start line. Corrals were available every 10 minutes with a maximum of 25 people per corral. We set up separate start and finish lines so that people were socially distanced. All volunteers and staff members wore masks and the runners wore masks at the start line. Our aid stations had bottled water for the runners to grab instead of cups. Volunteers wore gloves and masks when handling the water. At the finish line we staged bins (based on distance) with bags that included a finisher medal, water and a granola bar. Our awards presentation was spread out along the beach and runners only came up to our staff member when their name was called. The staff member had a mask and gloves on when they handed out the medal. We received many positive comments from runners saying they felt safe and were happy to be back to a live event.

During these times, get creative! Seize the opportunity to try new things that are trendy like virtual races and virtual challenges. Take advantage of the marketing opportunities to grow your brand by offering these options.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Many events are getting back to normal so see what they’re doing and decide what can be implemented. Find free resources that give you tips and tricks for planning during this time.

Planning events during this time can be done and we look forward to hosting more like our Sledgehammer Beach Run.

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