How to Have the Best Packet Pickup Ever
Packet pickup is an exciting event for both race participants and race directors. It heralds in the excitement of event day days before and gets everyone amped up for the day that they’ve all been preparing for. Make sure your packet pickup goes without a hitch with this checklist of tips.
Preparation Makes Perfect
Okay, no pressure. Your packet pickup doesn’t have to be perfect, but preparing for it can help you come pretty close.
In advance, make a list of all the details, tasks and people in charge of each. A great tool to use is an online project management system like Asana. It’s free, it’s easy to use and it helps you organize all of your tasks and assign them to the right people.
Some details to make sure are clear:
- Date(s) – This can be as early as one week and/or the day before race day.
- Time(s) – Find a time on the weekday when everyone will be available. Some packet pickups start as early as 4 pm for early birds and can end as late a 8 or 9 pm, depending on the venue.
- Location – A great place to have a packet pickup is a local running store. If the store is willing to be a sponsor, packet pickup can serve as double-duty with a shopping event that offers a discount for participants picking up their swag.
Get the Swag Together
At least one week, if not longer, before the race, bring your race team together to assemble participant packets. Decide on a deadline for sponsors to send their collateral and flyers as well as a location to either drop them off or mail them. Make sure you also check them off on your sponsor benefits checklist.
Packet Pickup Day-Of Items
Packet pickup will be an exciting but busy time, so organization is of the utmost importance. Stations set up strategically around the premise will help make sure your participants get everything they need – and that your volunteers don’t get frazzled!
Stations to have:
- Bib number
- Safety pins
- Gear check tag
- Timing device
- Participant running shirts (organized by size)
- Participant bag
Let Participants Know the Routine
How will participants pick up their packets? Will you allow participants to pick up for their friends and family? These are questions that you can easily answer with your packet pickup-dedicated e-newsletter and social media posts.
Keep it simple by outlining, step by step, what participants need to do, where they need to do it and how. For example, if they would like to pick up packets for others, you could provide them a special form that they fill out with each person’s name for whom they are picking up. Then, let them know where to pick up their bibs, shirts and bags. Finally, tell them about any fun activities or shopping perks they can enjoy once they’re done!
Let Sponsors in on the Fun
Don’t pass up the opportunity to offer something for your sponsors at packet pickup. Some ideas:
- Venue – A running store can increase their exposure and increase their sponsorship level by providing their space for your packet pickup.
- Food – A local grocer or restaurant can offer in-kind catering with easy-to-eat snacks and drinks. A food truck with a discount for participants is also a great option.
- Participant bags – We mentioned this in a previous post on sponsorships and thought it was worth mentioning again! Instead of purchasing your bags, a sponsor can upgrade their sponsorship by providing bags or be a standalone in-kind contribution.