For Dillan, Mega Meet is a year-long project

The Milaca Mega Cross Country Meet is a year-long project for meet director Dave Dillan.

Dillan, Milaca’s assistant cross country coach, began preparing for the 2012 meet the day after the 2011 meet.

“I don’t think there’s a day that goes by when I don’t think about something related to the meet,” said Dillan earlier this week, when the meet was really on his mind.

Following is a schedule of Dillan’s preparation for this year’s meet, in his own words. The 2012 meet is Saturday at Stones Throw Golf Course, with the opening race is at 10 a.m.

•The day after the meet  I sleep in, lots of coffee and then it’s off to unload a trailer and truck load of course equipment until we need it next fall. Then I send Randy Furman (retired Milaca cross country coach and official starter for the meet who now resides in California) off to the airport.

•A week or so after the meet Randy emails the coaches for any feedback they may have for next year.

•During the winter, Randy updates the website with new dates for the next year.

•In spring I will start getting registrations for the meet

•August is when things start heating up. Randy is in California so he is taking care of the online side of the meet – making sure the web page is up to date, updating the email directory of all the coaches, sending out emails to coaches to remind them to register.  As we get closer to Labor Day, he starts creating the starting line and assigns teams lanes in order of registration.

•The week after Labor Day the first of many mass emails to coaches goes out to get them registered with Raceberry, the official scorer of the meet.

•The last week and a half prior to race day gets hectic, getting teams registered correctly online, assigned a lane, and questions answered. Because we have gotten a little better at this over the years, Randy is able to compile a list of ranked individuals and teams on our website.

•My side of the meet during this time is getting the meet itself together. First thing is to ask the county to close the road that day (Milaca City Manager Greg Lerud gets that in the agenda), This is in July, when we also order meet supplies – pins, bibs, course marking tape, banners. In August it’s time to dig out all the course equipment and begin to untangle the yards and yards of banners that were tossed in the box in a mess last fall.

•In August we start measuring the course. We keep the course close to the same as previous races but we always measure to make sure we are as close to right on as possible. Then I contact meet personnel, including the medical team. I  secure the sound system, reserve porta potties and reserve an ambulance.  Around Labor Day it’s time to order the trophies and ribbons.

•Labor Day weekend I usually load up the trailer with course equipment and measure a little more, looking for things we have to correct.  Often times we will need to do some repair to the wooden bridges on the course to make sure they are safe for that many runners.

•Two weeks from the meet it’s time to get things ready – charge our mile clock, buy water, garbage bags for teams, air horns for the starter and carts, tables, print maps and race times, get tents out and ready, line up a PA system and line up workers for course.

•On the week of the meet Randy is finishing up online work before he flies to Minnesota. Tuesday and Wednesday is final prep stuff (and watching a lot of weather reports!), answering any coaches questions.

On Thursday, we put up scaffold for the finish line. Randy flies in and gets to Milaca in the afternoon and we put together 130 team packets with bibs for 3,500-plus runners.  Long night.  Early Friday we get to the course and it’s an all day and night project, Never seems to be enough time but we always make it.

•Race day. I meet the sound guy at the course around 6:30 a.m. and away we go. Randy is the starter for the races, so he gets his equipment ready for that while I finish getting the finish line ready – my father-in-law and kids unpack over 100 trophies and ribbons and get them ready to go.  Street barricades get put up, workers show up, and once Jack from Raceberry is ready it becomes his show.  Once the old-timers race starts we go right behind them tearing down the course. We have our final awards ceremony and about an hour or so after the last race you would never know we just had thousands of people running around that course.

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As usual, the 2012 Milaca Mega Meet will include many of the state’s top teams and individuals.

Fans will get to see eight state-ranked boys teams and nine state-ranked girls teams. Over 20 of the runners are state-ranked.

The field will include over 100 schools and over 3,000 runners.

Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students.

Editor’s note: For a list of the ranked schools and runners see the Mille Lacs County Times website.

Milaca Mega Meet Schedule

Saturday, Sept. 22

10:00  -  8th Grade Boys        3200 meters.

10:15 –   7th grade Boys        3200 meters.

10:30  -  8th Grade Girls        3200 meters.

10:45  -  7th Grade Girls        3200 meters.

11:00  – 9th Grade Girls         4000 meters.

11:15 -  9th Grade Boys         5000 meters.

11:30  – 10th Grade Girls        4000 meters.

11:45  – 10th Grade Boys        5000 meters.

12:00  – Varsity A Girls           4000 meters.

12:15 -  Varsity AA Boys     5000 meters.

12:30 – Varsity AAA Girls         4000 meters.

12:45 -  Varsity AAAA Boys       5000 meters.

1:00  –   Varsity AA Girls       4000 meters.

1:15  – Varsity AAA Boys        5000 meters.

1:30  –   Varsity AAAA Girls     4000 meters.

1:45     Varsity A Boys           5000 meters.

2:00 – JV Girls                     4000 meters.

2:15  – JV Boys                     5000 meters.

2:40 – Old-timers race          3200 meters  ($2 entry fee).

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