On March 3-4 in Mallorca, Spain, seven of our MBA Sports Management students, Jean Chemaly, Damiano Ciarrocchi, Asma Damankesh, Santiago Riveros, Maochen Sun, Georgio Semaan, and Jun Wang had the opportunity to volunteer and participate in the Spartan Race Mallorca 2018, Super and Sprint races. All of the students volunteered 15 hours each to perform various duties before and during the official race days to ensure that the Spartan Races ran as best as possible. Some of their tasks included preparing and building the race course, setting-up registration tents, food tents, and shower areas for the participants. On race day, student volunteers were responsible for ensuring safety during the course, enforcing the obstacle rules, and creating a fun environment for the Junior Racers.
The Spartan Race was a valuable way for students to see sports management in action for a nation-wide event. Student, Jean Chemaly said, “Volunteering at the Spartan Race will give you exposure to event management and to how to organize an event. You learn that for these kinds of sporting events to succeed, teamwork is the most important thing.” Another student, Asma agreed with Jean mentioning, “when volunteering in a major event, the secret to the successful preparation of the event is teamwork and getting the details done well. By doing even the small or mundane tasks you feel you have contributed to the event's great completion and success.”
As for the volunteering management style of the Spartan Race, Santiago Riveros explained, “The Spartan Race was very open to teaching us how this particular event is created, how the tracks are built, how the challenges are built, and the overall process of creating the races. One of the principal things I learned while being a volunteer is seeking out what to do during your volunteering time and being proactive, because the employees of the race already know what they need to do. As a volunteer, you don’t necessarily have a set task so you have to be proactive about where you need to be and in which part of the process you can be of help.”
During their time volunteering, students were able to meet up with MBA Sports Management Entrepreneurship lecturer, and Country Manager of Spain at Spartan Race Europe, Angel Sanz.
Once the volunteer work was completed, the following day the students had the chance to compete in the actual Spartan Races. Jean, Damiano, and Santiago completed the “Super”, a 12-13 kilometer run and Asma, Georgio, Moachen, and Jun completed the “Sprint”, a 5 kilometer run. In fact, those in the Sprint had the pleasure of starting the race with Angel himself.
Regarding participating in the race, Damiano considered it one of the best experiences in sports he had ever participated in. “Everyone is there to help each other and have fun. When I hurt my ankle, not only did my classmates stop to help but so did everyone around. Even after the race they were concerned about me. The Spartan Race spirit is of not giving up, running with my friends and finishing the race, and getting the feeling of accomplishment. It was extremely difficult but we had the spirit and mindset of finishing with our friends and everyone in the event. It was a great experience in pushing our limits to achieve something you don’t know you are capable of.”
Santiago added, “You need a team to get through the challenges. You need someone that can support you when you’re not strong at one of the challenges and vice versa. You must have confidence in yourself and you can do a lot of things that your mind thinks you cannot do. In these types of sports, your mentality is important. 80% of the race is mental and 20% is physical.”