How Could Marathon Pacers Help Event Planners?

In some non-super-competitive marathons, runners are met by a pacer at the 20-mile mark. They travel together the final six miles, and the pacer peels off to let their runner finish the final .2 on their own.

Most marathoners hit a wall just after twenty miles. Their bodies slow down, they feel far more tired than normal and their motivation to finish may temporarily leave them. But with a little help from a pacer, they regain their energy and complete the course.

Don’t most all-day or more events fill a bit like a marathon? Aren’t hours of learning and networking both mentally and physically exhausting? We bet they are, but we haven’t yet seen pacers to help weary attendees through the last hour of a weekend conference.

If we did, what would they look like?

Jeffrey Cufaude of Idea Architects had this idea first, so we’d like to offer a few suggestions that could help all of us.

(mental) Fitness Instructor
Yes, it seems terribly cheesy to bring in some high-energy athlete to bark at a bunch of people in dressy casual outfits, but there’s no reason that someone couldn’t help attendees regain some energy after a long day. Try a comedian.

Mini Happy Hour
For as long as we’ve been around large groups of professional people, Happy Hour has been a highlight. It’s a chance for everyone to let off some steam, have a good drink and not worry so much about their jobs. We bet even the anticipation of Happy Hour will bring positive feelings, so why not set up bars and offer drink tickets?

Buddy System
The end of events would be a great time to use the buddy system we wrote about earlier. Find a long-time attendee and pair them up with a newbie with instructions to discuss questions about the material or best practices. While many attendees will network like this without prompting, we bet more than a few people will appreciate the prompt.

What say you?