We've asked a few of our captains to share their advice on recruiting, creating, organizing and leading a Ragnar Relay team. This week, Bob Hofeldt, founder of Team Biofuel, talks about why he became a captain and how he recruited friends.
Why did I become a captain? I became a captain out of necessity. I didn’t know anyone that participated in overnight races, relays, adventure races, etc. and I wasn’t invited to be on a team. So, I started my own team and invited people I knew. And it failed. I thought that more people would jump at the chance to run an overnight relay. I attempted a SECOND time with another overnight relay; I didn't reserve the vans in a timely manner, and when none were available, it failed again. The following year, I decided that the only way it would succeed is if I MAKE IT SUCCEED. I have learned that teams don’t ‘come together’ organically - they are forced together. The vans, start line hotels, finish line hotels, expenses, teammates and general responsibility all need to be monitored to INSURE they are copacetic. This is not my personality, AT ALL. This is project management, and this was the most difficult thing for me.
How did I find team members? This may be the most important part (of my story) for many people to read. Again, I failed more often than I succeeded. The THIRD attempt consisted of myself, my awesome wife, a close friend that loves adventure and a bunch of “strangers I met on the Internet”. If you find that you are the person at parties who tells the exciting stories, you probably will need to look beyond your group of friends to find Ragnar-type people to fill your team. My teams are always full of people who need to be picked up at the airport before races; I call them “The 1%”. These are the people that reach past their zone of comfort to the outer limits of conceivable for an experience that everyone wants to hear, but few believe they have it in them.
Was the first team successful? The first team was successful because we made it to the finish as a team, but out of the 70 new friends I made on Facebook while recruiting to fill my spots, I managed to find just seven ‘strangers’ that believed in me and our team had only 10 runners of the 12 running slots I was trying to fill. But, they were a great group, and ALL of them have run Ragnar Relays with Team BoiFuel again and again, ever since.
Stay tuned for more advice and stories from Bob and other captains.
TheBob Hofeldt (A.K.A. Stew Pedascho) is the founder of Team BioFuel, an incredible group of athletes that have come together to compete with the philosophy that "You don't need to have a fast time, you just need to have a good time." Team BioFuel has grown to over 100 members and has participated in dozens of races as a team since Stew captained it's first Ragnar Relay in 2010, the New England Ragnar Relay.