Thursday, October 9, 2014

Saturday Shenanigans - Inaugural Dance Dash 5k Monterey Bay

I've always admired race directors and race committees and have always been grateful for all of their hard work in making race weekend as easy, seamless and enjoyable as possible.  I really wanted to learn more about the "behind the scenes" action but I didn't want to necessarily step up and organize an entire race on my own.  Talk about scary!

Thankfully, I was offered the opportunity to join the race committee for the inaugural Dance Dash 5k Monterey Bay that was held this past Saturday, October 4th.  Holy guacamole, putting on a race is a ton of hard work!  I mean, I knew it took a lot to get a race up and running but really I had no idea how much work it actually takes!

Planning started early this year with scoping out potential race dates and locations.  Once that was nailed down the committee really went to work filing and finalizing permits, logistics, sponsors, vendors, advertising, marketing, etc. I had the privilege of being the Ambassador Program Chair which was a whole lot of fun!  Our event was the first and only race in the U.S. to implement an ambassador program so we got to set the precedent.  I got to work with some amazing people who really outdid themselves with representing and promoting the race as well as supporting the cause.

The awesome Dance Dash ambassadors

The actual race took place at 9:00 AM on Saturday but the race committee, staff, vendors and volunteers were onsite much earlier to ensure set-up went smoothly.  The committee chair/race director was onsite at 5:00 AM!  Honestly, the race was the success that it was because of her.  She poured her heart into ensuring the race was an event that everyone could enjoy and it showed.  She incorporated a lot of features into race day that were unique to our race such as a true finish line festival, shirt cutting, a wheelie mobilie for the kids, and a VIP tent that served a hot breakfast including pancakes and made to order omelets.

At around 8:00 AM, race participants started trickling into the venue and at around 8:40 AM we started the pre-race warm-up which was U-Jam.  It was so much fun!  Everyone participated and everywhere I looked people were dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves.  After U-Jam, the ambassador team joined the CSUMB dance team in showing a preview of the dance routine that race participants would be learning along the course.  Thankfully, we only had to stand in front of the stage and not actually be ON stage with the dance team.  Nobody needed to see my dance moves front and center on stage!

Before we knew it, it was 9:00 AM and time to start the race!  Our race director said a few words on stage and introduced everyone to Miracle Molly.  Miracle Molly is our local Children's Miracle Network spokesperson.  She has cerebral palsy but she doesn't let that stop her from doing anything.  She's amazing and such an inspiration!  She lead all of the race participants over to the start line and we were off!

Happy runners starting the race

The majority of the race committee stayed at the start area to ensure that the finish line festival would be ready for participants so I got to be the committee representative who ran the course and reported back from a participant's perspective.  The course was well marked, there was a ton of volunteer support on the course, the dance stages were well executed and the dance team members did a great job teaching the choreography.  Everyone that I talked to along the way had positive things to say about their experience.

Seen on the course
Once race participants returned back to the start area and crossed the finish line, they got to put all the dance moves they learned together for a flashmob.  The DJ played the flashmob music every 10 minutes so that everyone could participate once they finished.  I loved seeing everyone dancing and having a good time!

Miracle Molly dancing it out

At the end of the day, all of the hard work leading up to and on race day was well worth it.  It was an amazing feeling to see everything we worked so hard on come to fruition.  We had a really fun event, everyone had a great time and most importantly we raised money for a phenomenal cause!  To top it all off, not only were we the very first Dance Dash event on the west coast but we were also the largest & most successful inaugural event in the country!  Can't wait for next year!

Some of the Dance Dashers

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