On September 12 in Chicago, we officially kicked off the 2021 MMRF Team for Cures 5K walk/run series! It’s been nearly 22 months since our last in-person event with the MMRF, and we worked around the clock with them to make sure it was a safe and successful event. Four hundred people turned out under brilliant blue skies, full of excitement to be back together again in support of the MMRF and their mission to cure multiple myeloma.
We wanted to scale back the types of event elements that encouraged gathering, while at the same time keeping the event experience that participants have come to love over the years intact. We started by creating a contactless check-in and registration process. Walkers and runners were able to use their own cell phones and scanned a QR code to check-in and receive their bib. Walk-ups were also able to register at their own pace from the comfort of their mobile device. Luckily, we all have been relying on technology more since COVID began, so there is less “training” or on-event tech help needed. Everyone seems to love a good QR code, which was a critical part of this process. We also added additional COVID-specific messaging as well as hand-washing stations throughout the site. We got rid of large gathering areas such as team tents and t-shirt distribution tables, and established places just outside of the festival area for those teams to meet up, and sent out the majority of shirts before the event. Also, due to potential truck driver shortages around the country, we made the decision to go old-school and ship smaller bins/containers from market to market. Normally, our event supplies travel from market to market in the back of a semi-truck, but we didn’t feel comfortable taking the chance on all of our key event assets not showing up. Our production team coupled a great asset shipping plan along with local vendor sourcing, and the end result still looked like an event that rolled off a semi-truck!
Even with the challenges this year, COVID has really pushed us to be more creative and to refine already exceptional operational plans even further. Our team is full of experienced event industry professionals, and we have been embracing this change head-on and relishing in solving complicated problems. That hard work and dedication to our clients was on full display this past weekend in Chicago.
The series rolls onward this weekend to the Twin Cities and Phalen Regional Park. We can’t emphasize enough how grateful and excited we are to be doing live events, however modified, again with the MMRF!
In his 17 years with Event 360, Jake Geiger has delivered exceptional event experiences from the planning phase all the way through to implementation. Specializing in complex event operations, Jake also works with local sites, jurisdictions, EMS, police and fire to ensure our sites and safety planning are top notch.