We've asked a few of our repeat captains to blog about what it takes to be a captain and how they manage their teams. This week, Brian Darrow discusses Planning & Recruiting a Ragnar team.
by Brian Darrow
One of the most rewarding things about serving as the captain of a Ragnar Relay team is the general feeling of satisfaction you get from the smiles and high fives of your team as they cross the finish line. Getting them to that point? Well, that takes some effort. Whether your team is made up of friends, enemies (what were you thinking?) or complete strangers; getting 12 or even 6 busy people to show up and perform on cue is never as easy at it first seems. Here are a few things you should know as your team comes together for their next adventure.
Before you do anything, plan out the weekend. Figure out where you’ll be renting the vans, where you’ll be staying, and how much gas you’ll be using driving between all those places and while on the course. Next, figure out how much those things are going to cost. Then, book the vans and the hotels. Most car rental places and hotels require a credit card at the time of booking, but don’t actually charge the card until you pick up the vehicle or check in. You can usually cancel car rentals at no charge right up to the day of the rental. Most hotels require 24 hours notice for penalty free cancellation, but it may be up to a week for others. In any case, your team will have come together (or not) well before then, so you can cancel rooms or vehicles as your plans change.
Now, you don’t have to worry about the hotels and van rental companies selling out and you’ve got a good idea how much everything is going to cost. Don’t forget to factor in the costs of miscellaneous things like insurance for the vans, decorations, costumes and food. That’ll come in handy because people generally don’t like surprises when it comes to spending money.
Most captains start the recruiting process with a group of people who want to run the relay already available. The rest of the spots are filled with friends, friends of friends or complete strangers. If you’re stuck with a few open spots that you can’t seem to fill, you can use the Ragnar Team Finder. Simply log into your account at ragnarrelay.com (create an account if you don’t already have one), and click the “runners looking for teams” link on the right hand side of your dashboard. You’ll find a list of all the runners looking for teams. Clicking on a runner’s name will bring up a profile of that runner with their pace, phone number and email address. Once you’ve registered your team, you can click the check box on the right hand side of your team page to indicate to others that your team is looking for runners.
Another great place to recruit is the Ragnar Relay Series Facebook page. While the general Facebook page gets the most views, there are also specific pages for each event. Many individual runners post their desire to find a team on the “walls” of these event pages. Likewise, you can let everyone know you’re looking for runners and post a little bit of information about your team.
Stay tuned for his post next week about managing the money, getting prepared and packing!
Brian Darrow has captained seven Ragnar Relay teams and plans to complete eight of them in 2012. You can read more of his articles about running, find training plans and join one of his Ragnar Relay teams at digitalrunning.com.