An event day at Strong Viking - part 1
Strong Viking has been organising obstacle runs for the past six years. To create these spectacular runs we have an energetic team working all year round at our Head Quarters in Cuijk, where you can also find the Strong Viking Lab. Team operations consists of three fulltime event managers, one for each country we organize our events: Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. In this blog you can read about the event day for the Strong Viking team, but especially an event day through the eyes of an event manager.
Friday night before the event
It has already been two weeks since we started building obstacles and facilities and finally the big moment is almost here! The very last thing I, event manager Netherlands (Sam), do on Friday is checking all the packages and documents for the sector commanders. Each sector commander is responsible for a part of the track and a lot of volunteers. On the day of the event they receive a package with walkie-talkies, flyers, descriptions and lists of volunteers for their sector. They need this package to properly welcome the volunteers and prepare their sector for the first participants.
The main reason I am the last person to stay on Friday is to make sure that I can do one last check before the event starts. In my head I walk through de day from the arrival of the first colleague to the last participant leaving the parking area. When everything is double checked I will go for a beer in the hotel or at home. The next morning it is finally time for the event!
What time does your alarm go off on an event day?
My alarm goes off at 6am, so I can be at the Central Post (CP) at 6.30am, half an hour before everyone else arrives. The night security always makes sure there is a cup of coffee ready for us. I prefer to drink tea, so I always have to make a cup of tea for myself. But of course it is the thought that counts 😊.
At 6.30am I am not alone at the trailer, the communicator is also very early. The communicator is responsible for handing out all the walkie-talkies and taking them back in at the end of the day. Around 6.50am the first colleagues report at the trailer to pick up their walkie-talkie.
Before you continue, what exactly is this CP or Central Post?
CP is short for Central Post. Most of you have probably seen the big Strong Viking trailer at one of our events. This trailer is actually our base camp during all our events. Next to the coffee machine it holds different tools and a mobile office with all the office equipment we need. This office is the location of the CP during an event.
The CP is the place where all communication of all the walkie-talkie channels is received. All communication during an event goes through walkie-talkies. To keep it manageable for the colleagues in the field we communicate over thirteen different channels. In the CP we listen to all channels and the communicator logs all the communication. The event manager always stays around the CP and makes the necessary decisions. The communicator is responsible for the communication so the event managers stays available for phone calls and talking to people who report at the trailer.
So, the first walkie-talkies are handed out, what now?
Two repair teams are each checking a part of the track. They remove the red-white strings from the obstacles, place all the fences, check the course of the track and if necessary make small reparations. They are the very last people to check the entire track before the first participants start.
At the same time the start-finish coordinator is making coffee and tea for the volunteers who will report at 8.00am at the crew tent. Next to that he makes sure to open all the tents at the start-finish area, opening the parasols and in case of bad weather placing heathers and lightning in the tents. He is responsible for preparing the start-finish area for the arrival of the first participants.
The volunteers are here!
The volunteers register at the crew tent, they are welcomed with a cup of coffee or tea and get instructions about this day. The very first volunteers to get in action are the ones in the registration tent. Usually the first participants will arrive at 8.00am, that is why we want to open the registration tent as soon as possible. So the first participants can already pick up their start number.
Volunteers for the track are welcomed by the sector commander of the sector they will be standing in this day. They receive further instructions and are dropped off at their position. On overage we have to put 100 volunteers in place at the start-finish area and the track before 9.00am. We are very happy that we can count on these fabulous people every edition, without our fanatic volunteers it would be impossible to organise these events! So a big thank you to all of them!
What is happening in the CP at that time?
The start-finish coordinator reports around 8.30am when a tent is ready to open. Big obstacles, like the Fjord Drop and Flying Ragnar, are also reported when they are ready for action. Lastly the sector commanders report when all volunteers are on their position. In the CP we only see the four walls of our communication centre, we can’t see anything outside the trailer. We are ‘blind’ and depend on the communication via the walkie-talkies. You can imagine how strange this feeling is.
That moment you have been working up to for months together with the entire team. The permit is there, the track is designed and build and the sprinklers of the Fjord Drop are on. In short: GAME ON!
How the story continues after the first participant starts? There will be a new blog next week…