For the first five or so years that Endurance Evolution was in existence, most of the knowledge of the business was in my head, and very little was written down in terms of operational procedures or processes. As time went on, I realized that I needed to be able to hire others to help out, and I needed to be able to hand these folks a document that laid everything out that they needed to do.
I started writing manuals for different lead jobs at the Traverse City Triathlon. One for the transition area coordinator, one for the swim, bike, and run courses, and one for the finish area. Over time these documents became more refined, and from year to year I could very easily hand one to a new coordinator and know that they’d have all they needed to know in that document. The documents were anywhere from a few pages up to a few dozen. I always joked that I made them so specific that I could hand one to a monkey and he could do the job.
My wife and I just welcomed our second child, five weeks earlier that we were planning. Because of this, I likely won’t be able to be at the Traverse City Trail Running Festival this year. I didn’t have manuals ready for this event, and I’m deep in writing mode to pull some together. I’m finally buttoning up the final touches on coordinator manuals for our course director so he knows how to set up the course on race week, where signs go, how the finish area will be laid out and so on. Simply put, without a manual, the race production would be a mess.
In 2018 when I started my work as race director of Ironman 70.3 Traverse City, manual writing went into overdrive. The first few drafts of the bike course plan had around 50 pages in it. It’s now up to nearly 80. Then there are the run course, swim course, signage plan, barricade plan, and parking plan to name a few more. with about four months to race day I’ve written several hundred pages of manuals, all with the expectation that a few weeks before the race, I can give them to our crew and they’ll be able to know all they need for the production. Essentially, my job as a race director is as a manual writer. There are permits, public relations, and other tasks of course, but manual writing takes up the bulk of my time these days.