AR Admin

If there’s one thing more difficult and challenging than doing an overnight or multiday adventure race, it is getting to the race.

Finding teammates, recruiting support crew (assisted events) and coordinating team gear, support equipment, catering, booking accommodation, transferring entry fees is an administrative nightmare. All too often one person gets lumped with team admin, while the others go along for the ride. It is hardly surprising that these enthusiastic and motivated racers get fed up, choosing to leave the sport for solo exploits.

“One of the guys from a new, young team – with lots of potential – recently asked me who did all the pre-race organising for our team,” says Team Cyanosis’ Clinton Mackintosh. Clinton adds that this demotivated racer was tired of doing all the work to get the team to the race, while everyone else just arrived for the party.

“I replied that we all do; each person takes care of something, whether sending out race information and equipment checklists to the team or booking accommodation and buying food. Admin is part of racing and if one person is stuck with it all the time, they won’t hang around for long. Why should they do all the work for everyone else?” Clinton says.

Tag, you’re it!

The role of team captain usually falls on the shoulders of the person who decides to do a race and recruits others to join the team. The captain is not always the team’s navigator and their role is often administrative. But that doesn’t mean that they should be expected to organise everything for everyone else. No. Team members should offer assistance to the captain by accepting, completing and reporting back on designated tasks.

Talk to me, dude

One element that smoothes admin is good communication. Momentum usually starts when the team captain distributes race information and an equipment checklist. Email is indispensable as each person can be copied in one time-saving posting; teammates are obliged to respond timeously. A prompt yes or no regarding attendance at training sessions or equipment required goes a long way to making the captain’s coordination of multiple people much easier.

Once a team has settled in, members usually adopt the same administrative tasks for each race: one collects entry fees from each member, submitting forms and making payment to the event, another assembles support equipment, while a third arranges kayaks. Spreading the load, even by taking on seemingly small tasks, contributes overall to getting the team organised.

Little Red Hen

In the classic children’s story, Little Red Hen receives no help from the other farmyard animals to plant her found grain of wheat. Neither do they assist with watering, harvesting, milling and, finally, baking a loaf of bread. But they’re all keen to eat the fresh loaf. Little Red Hen eats the bread with her chicks. Unlike Little Red Hen, the adventure racer doing all the admin shares the spoils of their labour because they want to race and they need a team. That is, until they get gatvol, leaving the farmyard.

The moral of this tale is that each team member should contribute to getting their team to the race; adventure racing is as much – if not more – about everything that occurs pre-race rather than just what goes down on the course.

Author: Lisa de Speville | Published in Go Multi magazine,  Sept/Oct 2010, Volume 14.4