How to organize a successful Wellness Walk and Run!

Wellness Walk and Run: A Step by Step Guide in Creating Your Very Own!

As you know keeping fit is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves,  so why not give the gift to your patients, by providing your patients with an opportunity to participate in an athletic event—your athletic event!

In 2008, I decided to hold a Wellness Walk and Run within my community. I invited my patients, and their family and friends to participate in either a 5km or 10km, walk and run.  Though numbers were small the event was a success! My patients enjoyed the day , and were thrilled to be a part of an event that gave back to the community and endorsed healthy living. I was so thrilled with the outcome of the first Walk and Run that I decided to hold the event annually, and am currently planning our clinic’s third annual Wellness Walk and Run.

Though planning a Walk and Run may seem like a long and grueling process, it is rather simple when you have proper guidance. The following is a recipe—a recipe that provides you with the steps I used when planning my own Wellness Walk and Run. I hope these steps inspire you to start your very own!

Step One: Pick a Date and Place!

Hold a meeting with your chiropractic team to decide which date would be best to hold your Walk and Run. This year I am holding my Wellness Walk and Run in September. I found that temperatures in July and August were non-conducive to vigorous exercise—the heat deterred many people from running the 10km.  Moreover, many families vacation during July and August, thus diminishing the number of potential participants.
Choosing a location for the Walk and Run is a crucial first step. My clinic is located near a walking trail, thus my Walk and Run starts and finishes in front of my clinic. Unfortunately, not everyone is located in an area conducive to walking or running. If this is the case, look into holding the event at  a local park or trail.

Step Two: Pick a Charity

My team and I wanted to give back to our community, thus we asked each participant to donate a minimum of $10 when they registered for the event. All proceeds were given to a local food bank, and shall be given to the food bank each and every year. Contributing to a local charity helps your community, and also acts as an incentive for individuals to participate in your Walk and Run.

Step Three: Advertise

Advertising is a must! Place Walk and Run posters around your clinic, and be sure that sign up sheets are accessible to patients.  If you do not wish to spend money advertising in local newspapers, and magazines—use social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Creating a fan page or event page is free, and will definitely get the word out. Also, consider renting a road sign—I have used them for various events and they really seem to work! Another advertising idea, is to approach local TV stations—most of them are glad to help you advertise your event! Remember, the more you advertise the more participants you will have. Hopefully, some of these participants are potential new patients! Finally, don’t forget to advertise your clinic at the Walk and Run itself – get people to register ahead.

Step Four: Sponsors

Approach local stores, and businesses—let them know about your event and how it’ll positively contribute to your community. Having sponsors will help with costs, and maybe even denote some prizes for your participants.

Step Five: Volunteers

To ensure that your event runs smoothly, be sure to recruit some volunteers! Having eight or so people helping you and your team, really diminishes stress levels, and makes the day all the more enjoyable! In the past I’ve tasked my volunteers with everything from handing out water, to ensuring that routes and signs are clearly visible to participants.  Here’s a tip for those of you having a difficult time finding volunteers: Contact local High Schools. In Ontario, High School students must complete 40 hours of community service before they can receive their diploma, thus many high school students would be glad to help out.

Step Five: Supplies

It’s best to start shopping 1-2 weeks before your event’s date . Believe me, it’s not fun running around the morning of! Some items, however, will take a little longer. For instance, I had custom t-shirts, awards, banners, and signs made. In order to ensure that these items were present the day of the event—I ordered them 2 months ahead of time. Don’t forget to get your hands on a megaphone, camera, and timer! You’re going to need these items when participants reach the finish line!
To give you and more of an idea of what needs to be purchased—here is a list of some of the supplies I picked up for my Wellness Walk and Run:
– T-Shirts and bibs
– Signs
– Banners
– Prizes
– Awards
– A Megaphone
– Camera
– Timers
– Tables
– Chairs
– A Tent
– Maps of the Route (to hand out to participants)
– Streamer Paper for Finish Line
– Stereo System
– Water Bottles
– Juice
– Muffins/Bagels and other sorts of finger foods
– New Patient Information Packages (to give to participants who are not patients at my clinic)

Step Six: Setting Up

Okay, so the day has finally arrived! It’s 7a.m. and your team of volunteers have arrived to start setting up—What to do now? First things first, divide your volunteers into two groups. Have one of the groups map out the route with visible signs, lines, etcetera. Meanwhile have the other group set up a tent. This tent will house refreshing beverage, tasty treats and not to mention tables and chairs for when your participants cross the finish line, and need to catch their breath. Don’t forget to set up at table where participants can register and sign participant waivers, and a table for rewards and prizes!

Step Seven: Ready, Set ,Go!

Your participants have registered, they are sporting their Wellness Walk and Run T-shirt and Number and are ready to go! Before you ring the bell announcing their departure, take the time to speak to your participants—thank them for being present and wish them luck!

Step Eight: Crossing the Finish Line!

Here’s a great tip! Buy rolls of streamer paper, and use it as a finish line—that way every participant has a chance to rip through the finish line! Don’t forget to take a picture of them as they run through, and record the time it took them to finish. We had some cute little trophies made which had running shoes on them – people loved it!

Step Nine: Clean Up

Be environmentally friendly! Make sure you leave the event area the way it was found—clean! Get your volunteers to go around picking up water bottles, paper cups, etcetera for recycling.

Step Ten: Press Release

Though you will have congratulated your patients the day of the Walk and Run it is important to congratulate them again. Record their names and the time it took for them to complete their walk and run in your monthly newsletter. If you don’t have a monthly newsletter post pictures and times on a bulletin board for all of your clinic to see.

I assure you, organizing a Walk and Run is not as difficult as it may appear! Have fun with it, and make it your own! Best of Luck!

Dr. Nathalie

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Copyright © Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp 2011. All rights reserved

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