The Bay Area Dream Mile 2010: A Continuing Journey towards Perfection

“This was the best race I’ve ever participated in, and I’ve done over a dozen, including the New York City marathon!” When a user review starts with these lines it tells the tale of a well oiled machine, the Bay Area Action Center, executing a well thought out plan from start to finish culminating in what turned out to be one of the most successful Dream Mile races ever.

The Bay Area Dream Mile Volunteer Team

When a person signs up to volunteer for Vibha, his or her initial motivation to help out stems from the fact that we are a Non-Profit, trying to empower underprivileged children. The new volunteer is usually surprised to see the meticulous planning and management of the event at the weekly meetings and is confused about how executing a race to such minute detail can help a child attain a better future. It is also no secret that motivating volunteers as well as runners to raise funds for the cause is an equally daunting task for short distance races like ours. To all those new volunteers I would show them the reviews and accolades we received for conducting such a fine event. Each person who walked away happy from the event, will probably give a second look to the fundraising email we send next year and think about sharing and contributing towards Vibha’s Mission of educating , empowering and enabling children for a brighter future. And most of all a great event imprints the brand Vibha in the minds of the participants and makes ‘Dream Mile‘ stand apart from being just another 5k/10k race at the shoreline.

There were many firsts in the Dream Mile 2010. These simple yet powerful improvements to the race were key to the success of the event. The Bay Area Dream Mile 2010 has been getting close to 1000 runners since last year, thanks to some amazing and innovative publicity by our volunteers. The number is growing by the year, and making sure all of the 1000 runners get processed smoothly, is vital to giving the runners, a stress free start to the race. We already had a heavily staffed and efficient registration team which had resulted in a line-free registration in 2009. To top it we added pre race bib pickup this year which would ensure that runners could collect their bibs before race day and just turn up and race on the day of the event. It was huge success as more than 200 out of the pre registered 600 or so runners turned up to pick up their bibs. We plan to expand this exercise next year and have the bib pickup spread over multiple days. This will also give us a great opportunity to talk to the runners about the cause Vibha is supporting.

We also started the race early this year at 8 am instead of 8:30 or 9:00 am along with staggered start for the 5k and 10k. Last year, race day was scorching hot and an early start helps the runners complete the race before the temperature rises and have a better race experience. The staggered start also helps reduce crowding of the trail. Both these adjustments which required substantial back end work are the perfect platform to expand the race in the years to come.

Almost every comment in the reviews had two things in common. They started with the line, “Very well organized” and “the course was very well marked”. This is no mean feat. A major part of the race success is credited to signs along the trail. The signs team had turned the trail into a “war zone “with the trail divided into subzones and individual teams aggressively making sure we had excellent signs for the runners. The most important aspect of this entire event was the enthusiasm of the leads and the cheerfulness of the volunteers on the day of the event. Every place the runners went, instead of big lines they found smiling helpful faces greeting them. All in all leadership, team work and delightful enthusiasm from a lot of dedicated volunteers made the Dream Mile 2010 and event to remember.

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