At the Ironman Wisconsin, I happened to meet not only some incredible support crews, but also some athletes who put together a great plan for their supporters. A few athletes with a large group of supporters put together an amazing plan for Ironman Wisconsin that we could all learn from!
I tested the plan on race day to cheer and provide support for my husband and friend and it made my day so much nicer!
1) Detailed map of the course(s) marked with the best places to catch athletes. Providing the easiest way to get to these locations, especially considering race day detours, can be very helpful. Having a map and directions helped me to use a back road to get to one of the largest hills on the bike course. It turned out to be one of the best parts of the day! Important things like where to park need to be marked on the map. Even if your support crew lives in the same place as the race location, this information can be very helpful for race day!
2) Things to take along. Have a list of things your supporters will need to take along with them. Ex. If the race outside of town they may need to have a cooler with food and drinks and folding chairs?
3) If the race is a long distance race, list some fun things to do when not supporting and cheering. If there are small children in the support crew, provide times that would be good for a break for them and fun things for them to do. A few small, fun breaks can make a long day much nicer!
4) How will you find them in a crowd? A great idea came from a group of supporters who used brightly colored swimming pool foam noodles that stuck up out of their back packs. Trust me, you could see them from a long distance. This idea was even better than some of the groups that had matching shirts!
5) Misc tips. What are the things that make the race special? One of the tips I was given was to make sure to talk to other support crews – there were some great stories that I may have missed if I had not followed this tip!
A plan like this could help make your support crew have a memorable day!
What tips would you add?
4 thoughts on “5 Ways Athletes Can Support their Supporters”
Your team looked great out there on Sunday! I am on Team Buttercup and we had a great time racing and seeing our crew. It brought our racers up more than you can imagine. When designing our supporter shirts, I asked our graphic designer to turn my ideas into something that would be visible from far away, so the bright yellow shirts were perfect.
Hope you have a great day!
Loved the team Buttercup shirts – also loved the guy with team Buttercup dressed up in the cow costume on the big hill!
You guys should have won some kind of support team prize!
I love the foam pool noodles idea! I think we may have to use this idea at IM Florida…last year, painting our bodies was fun, sticky, messy…and we were Popsicles at the start, but this didn’t help our athletes find us in a crowd! However, our awesome navigational and athlete tracking skills enabled us to travel to parts of the course without any supporters. This was my favorite part–cheering on not only our athletes but also encouraging every athlete that passed us on that long lonely stretch of highway.
(So athlete tracking, if offered, is a MUST! …if you want your supporters to find you!)
Great point – athlete tracking is a great idea! There is a GPS tracker you can rent for race day that will track your athlete to the exact point for around $30.
A little encouragement goes a long way for sure!
We will be in Florida as well cheering on friends! Maybe we will be able to spot each other by looking out for the noodles!
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