Make Sharp Choices with Your Pins

steve_molandby Steve Moland

The method used for distributing safety pins at an event may seem trivial, but it can have a major impact on people flow. And as we all know the smoother you move bodies the more efficient your event will be. Rule number one is not to  put the boxes of pins on the tables where folks pick up numbers, shirts or do race day entry. It’s simple, put them over on some other table and let folks waste time there as they diddle and fiddle counting out pins. They are runners, they can walk somewhere else as part of the process. You don’t have give them cradle to grave service for all things at one single place. That method is time-line poison for having late starts.

It’s SIMPLE MATH. If it takes 5 seconds to count out 4 pins, the 13th person in line is waiting an extra minute; the 25th is 2 minutes, 37th, 3 minutes. Sadly, it actually takes about 10 seconds to count out and pick up 4 pins so the hold up for the 20th person is 4 minutes. Do the math on hundreds or thousands of people.

Another sinister thing about slow lines is that anything that delays the person currently being served creates the likelihood that they will get chatty with your volunteers and politeness dictates you can’t just say; “Please stop talking and let us serve the next person.”

Oh yes, at this point if you “get it” about the pins, you should have figured out that putting your SHIRTS behind the number pick up table is an even bigger delay than the pins. Put your shirts across the room so all your lines have room to form and shrink quickly.


Most weekends you will find Steve Moland at the microphone race announcing or setting up sound equipment. Steve is a member of those merry men know as  Announcers on the Run