While not required, hosting a preliminary event (and later a final event) is fun and helps build your team. Remember, many of your team members will never get a chance to participate in a big athletic event. Giving them this experience is the real opportunity that comes along with hosting a preliminary and final event.
So do it right. If you can make the events feel like events, you can generate a lot of excitement and publicity for your organization.
We spend hours preparing for our events. This makes them feel real, big, and exciting.
Imagine the difference between walking into a thrown-together, last-minute preliminary event that is short-staffed. Those staff members who are there aren’t paying attention to you because they are running around looking for the measuring tape.
Contrast this with being emailed the event schedule and a map with directions (including parking instructions) in advance… and arriving to find relaxed, smiling staff members who give you the info you need and are ready to help get you checked-in, take your body measurements, and get you registered for a heat in the prelims.
The way you manage your event is a reflection of you, so spend the time upfront to plan things out. Then have a dry rehearsal with your team members to work out any kinks, especially if the workout you chose and location you are using are different than usual.
Find a Location
If you aren’t holding the event at your gym or business, we recommend using a large public space like a park, parking lot, or high school track. Even if you have ample space at your own location, securing an outside location for the event can create an exciting atmosphere that can “up” the level of your team member’s participation.
And by all means, don’t just show up and expect the location to be available!
Get a Permit
Many cities have rules that dictate times and time limits for holding public events. Plus, parks host regular athletic events, so get your locations sorted out right away. And while you are getting a permit for your preliminary event, you might as well square away your permit for the finals event as well.
Create a Plan
Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your preliminary event.
- Have a registration table, preferably underneath an EZ-up tent. Direct people as they arrive to check-in at the tent.
- Have one person registering people in the registration tent, and have two or more people (depending on the size of your team) with laptops with wi-fi access entering scores into the WLC website.
- When participants check in, assign them to a workout heat and give them a scorecard to record their body measurements and workout score.
- For body measurements:
- Make sure you have at least 1 trainer (or trained measurer) for every 15-25 people to measure girths, weight, or body fat.
- Mark the “body measurement” stations with cones
- Once a participant’s body measurements have been measured, direct him or her back to the tent to have his or her numbers entered into the system.
- For the workout:
- Organize your group into appropriate heats.
- Mark the start/finish line so that it is absolutely clear.
- Determine how people will count reps (with a partner or by a judge).
- When participants complete a workout, make sure they return their completed scorecards to the registration tent so their scores can be entered.
Prepare Like a Marine
We say “prepare like a Marine” because Andy Petranek, co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, is a Marine. And have you ever noticed the impeccable manner of everything associated with the USMC? From the silent drill team to the way they march, from their the haircuts to the shine of their boots, and from the perfection in their uniforms to the meticulous planning of everything they do, the United States Marine Corps plan it right, every time, right down to the smallest detail.
This is how your event should flow, and how prepared you should be. In the eyes of the participants, everything about your event should appear straightforward, logical, and clear…like it is no work for you at all. Preparing like a Marine will serve both your participants and you. After all, the reputation of your gym, or your company, is on the line.
The preliminary, in particular, sets the tone for the rest of the Challenge.
Create a staff timeline in advance with all the necessary job assignments laid out, and do a dry run with at least the 2-5 key people who will help you run the event.
Get your equipment together in advance. At a minimum, you will need:
- Multiple measuring tapes
- Scorecards on clipboards
- Pencils for players to write on their scorecards
- Equipment for the workout
You might also need:
- EZ-up tent
- Table and chairs for the sign-in sheet
- Laptop computer
- Wi-fi connection
- A camera
Absences and Makeups
Because you can recruit anyone from anywhere in the world to join your team, you may have members who cannot attend your preliminary event. And others might physically live in your vicinity but be unable to attend the preliminary event for any number of reasons. The way you manage this is entirely up to you.
Some affiliates have asked team members who cannot attend the preliminary to work with a partner to record the workout score and take measurements. And participants in your neighborhood who are unable to attend the preliminary may perform their baseline measurements and final workout at any time at your discretion. There is no time limit for you to enter their preliminary score and measurements. However, the later they perform their preliminary workout, the less time they will have for improvement.