Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The RD: Advertising

Before I sink too far into today's post.. I want to make sure I add the following preface. What I am sharing with you all in this sort of "expose" series on Race Directing, is my own personal experience in creating the Human Potential Running Series. The thoughts, opinions, facts, and facets that I have shared with you in the previous six parts is in no way a sweeping representation of what all race directors go through in directing their own races. This is merely a representation of what I've discovered, what I've gone through, and in a way.. I'm trying to debunk a number of myths that I know runners have bought into through the years. Ultimately, I'll let you come to your own conclusions.. but just know that, this is just my own personal experience.

In this post, I want to talk about advertising. We've already gone through discussing the motions of bringing your race to birth. Now what? Now, you need runners. So let's be honest.. if you're a virtual unknown in the community and are starting from scratch.. you have a long climb ahead of you. If you are active in the running community (and by active I mean: You show up to a lot of group runs, you talk with people, you blog, you run in a lot of races, you organize other smaller events..) then this is going to be a lot easier for you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The RD: Insurance, Shirts, Shwag, Volunteers

Throughout this series we have taken a closer look at what it takes to be a race director. We have explored how one comes to the decision to take on directing a race, we talked about course design, we talked about permits. Then we talked about the costs of building an infrastructure and a whole host of other expenses incurred by the RD. In this post, we're going to wrap this up by looking at some other final considerations such as insurance, shirts and other shwag. We'll also look at runner feedback. The final paragraph will be a short opinion piece on some things that I've experienced here in Colorado.

By now you should have come to the conclusion that being a race director is NOT an easy job and in general, is rather thankless. There is a lot that goes into putting on an event and ultimately, YOU as the RD are on the hook for everything. Think about that for a minute. If someone dies on your course or is seriously injured.. you're on the hook. A lot of RD's think that just because they've had their runners sign waivers, they are exempt from litigation and liability. NOT TRUE. Waivers hold up in court differently in different states. If you live in a state with Ski Resorts, you're protected pretty well with waivers. But in a state like Texas.. you could be screwed. So don't be naive or get caught with your pants down. YOU.. as the Race Director, are liable to and for every single runner and volunteer out there. Your volunteers don't sign waivers, and neither do other trail users. Do your due diligence to ensure that you're protecting yourself, your family, and your investment in the race.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tragedy of the Commons: Revisited

In March 2011, I wrote a post on this blog titled, "Tragedy of the Commons." In that post, I spoke about what the Tragedy of the Commons is and how it relates to both hiking (in the Northeast) and Ultra Running. I wanted to take a moment to revisit these thoughts, and provide an update on where we're at some 3.5 years after the original post.

"The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen. " [1]

Monday, September 15, 2014

The RD: More Expenses

In our last post about Race Directing we discussed Infrastructure and the costs associated with getting your race started up and looking like you've been around awhile. In this post, we're going to talk about all of those other expenses that you'll encounter in directing a race. There are a number and already, we've discussed that just getting your race up off the ground can cost you more than $3,500, and we haven't really discussed the expenses that makes the race happen to begin with. So here it is..

So what I'm going to do is something very few races do. I'm going to share with you the financials from last weekends Tommyknocker Ultramarathons. Keep in mind, that putting on that one race involved hundreds of hours of work on my part, that I have not been paid for, nor will I be paid for years to come if at all. Race Directing, especially first year races, is not as lucrative as some people think. For instance, the number I shared above, $3500, is a fraction of how much I'm actually in the hole to pay for the infrastructure of the race series. I haven't made that back yet and not sure when I actually will. Thankfully, a number of local runners donated to our Indiegogo Campaign to help defray some of those costs.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The RD: Infrastructure

At this point, you've made the decision to become a race director, you've designed your course, and you're working (and likely praying) for your permits. What next? Putting on a successful race cannot be done without a number of items that one needs to purchase, or borrow from friends. A race is only as successful as the tools at your disposal in your tool belt. In this post, we're going to discuss the things that you should, or could, consider getting to make your race a success for years to come.

Let's face it, your number 1 goal of any first year race is to try and break even and not fall flat on your face. There are countless stories of "things" that have gone down at first year events.. things that have helped cause an event to be one-and-done.. or things that created a reputation that is hard to shake.. and things that leave such an impression that it's hard for folks to not talk about you, to not come back, and to not help make your event bigger and better next year. Ultimately, what you create plays a huge role in the story that is to be your race. I truly believe that the infrastructure of your race plays a major role in the overall success or failure of your event.. not just in year one but in year 2 as well. Doing this work now, setting yourself up for longterm success, is just as important as the permitting process.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The RD: Permits

This is Part 3 of a multi-part series focusing on the ins and outs of race directing. You can read the previous two parts by clicking their links below:
Part 1: The Decision
Part 2: Your Course

Permits. This is by far the hardest most tedious part of putting on a race. Anytime you are gathering a large group of people to use public lands, especially if you are accepting payment to do so, you need a permit. Parties who could require permits are Town/City and County Governments, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Forest Service (USFS), Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), and some of the above even require you obtain special written permission from private land owners before a permit is issued.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Leadville Saved

This past weekend I attended the 2014 Edition of the Leadville Trail 100 in Leadville, CO. A lot has been said in the year since 2013's edition occurred and I have been one of the more vocal folks in the ultra community willing to express my displeasure. Let there be no mistake, there are a number of individuals who have expressed their displeasure. Articles have been written in major publications about "Saving Leadville" and asking the question "Can Leadville Be Saved." If you had asked Ken Chlouber (Uncle Ken) the question, "Can it be saved" he would give you a typical Ken answer, that is a round about way of saying yes. So, all eyes were on Leadville this year to see how they answered the overwhelming majority of runners who protested to last years offering. In 2014, Leadville delivered...