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...

Friday, August 15, 2014

The RD: Your Course

Either you've decided to become a Race Director or you discovered an amazing place that would work well for a race. One of the two happened first and it depends greatly on the individual. I believe that deciding to be the RD is a much easier decision, than is where to have a run. Coming up with an idea for an Ultra is easy, making sure it can actually happen.. are the pieces of the puzzle that are often overlooked. In this post, I'm going to lay out all of the things one should consider before diving too far in to the race directing process, as pertains to determining your course.

I hear it all the time, "This would be a great place for a race!" It's not as simple as finding an amazing place for a race, decide to be the RD, and have a race. Many of the areas we'd all love to have a race are not, what I call, permitable. For instance, if your amazing course goes through a federally designated wilderness area.. and I mean, if it so far as touches it for all of 1 inch... you can kiss the idea goodbye. On that same note, if your course crosses any Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, it is possible you can get a permit but it all depends on what the BLM is protecting on that given parcel of land. We'll get into permitting more in our next post. These are just two important things to consider before you get all head over heels for your race idea.

There are many other things to consider in regards to your course. For instance:

Monday, August 11, 2014

The RD: The Decision

Note: "The RD" is what I'm calling my post series on Race Directing. Since beginning this newest journey into the world for directing races, I've learned a lot. A lot of what I've learned has reshaped quite a number of my thoughts and opinions on the subject and I'd like to share those thoughts. The other aspect is that I hope some of the things I share through this series will continue to enlighten those of you who read this blog about the many intricacies involved in putting on an event.

Being a race director is not something that is new to me. In fact, my history of putting on events goes back a lot farther than most people think. In 2007, I was on the front lines of helping to co-direct a series of events in Pittsfield Vermont. This included a snowshoe marathon, 50-Mile Ultra, and the first Death Race. Most of my involvement in these events was working under the wing of Andy Weinberg. Andy is the original RD of the McNaughton Park Trail races in Pekin, IL (now known as Potawatomi).