With staging physical races nearly completely on hold due to
COVID-19, race directors may find themselves with idle hours on
their hands. This downtime provides a unique opportunity for you
to create an Operations Manual for your events. To assist in
that effort, Road Race Management is reprinting a column by Dave
McGillivray from the April, 2011 issue of the newsletter about
how to do so.
who knows me knows I like to put EVERYTHING in writing. In our industry,
there are so many details and so many moving parts that documentation is
critical to success. Sharing of information with your race committee can
sometimes make or break your event. The more people involved in the race
who know what is going on in your event the better. A race director who
holds all the information close to his or her vest is doing a disservice
Although it can be a lot of additional work, creating an Operations
Manual (aka, the race “Bible”) is a must to ensure that the many details
of putting on the race have not been overlooked but are being
communicated to everyone who needs to know them.
Why Create an “Ops”
engages the entire race committee in putting in writing the
important details of their area. If something were to happen to
them, at least you have in writing many of the details about their
area, and it is proof to you that they are doing their job.
keeps everyone on a pre-determined timeline in getting things done
so that these documents can be included in the manual.
proves to all involved that all the necessary work was completed.
This is an impressive document to provide to city officials,
sponsors and other supporters of the race.
and all questions about the race should have the answers in the
manual, and users should be able to locate them easily.
is a great reference and starting point for the next year.
Some “Ops” Manual Tips:
Everyone on your race committee should participate in providing a
document for the manual.
Ideally, all documents should be completed within two weeks of the
race, and manuals should be printed and distributed within 10 days
of the race. However, everyone should be told that things change and
things can be added at the last minute, so they should always check
and follow up on details.
Create an electronic folder and start saving documents as early in
the process as possible. Waiting until the last minute can prove
Designate one person on the committee to be responsible for
collecting all the documents, reworking them if needed and
eventually assembling the manual.
When completed, you can consider creating a .pdf version of the
manual and emailing it out to the committee rather than having the
manual copied and distributed to everyone. I’ve done both, but I
have found that this is one item that committee members prefer to
have printed out and handed to them so they can refer to it easily
when things come up.
Frankly, I don’t know how any race can be conducted without an “Ops”
Manual. Imagine an NFL team—especially the quarterback—not having a
playbook? I can’t imagine too many Super Bowls have been won without