Thursday, October 16, 2014

The RD: Final Commentary

This is it, the final post in this incredibly long series of posts on Race Directing. My goal with this series was to offer up my own perspective on race directing. To share what I've learned and to hopefully dispel a number of myths that exist out there. I'll let you figure out what those myths are or are not. But ultimately, jumping back into Race Directing has continued to teach me about the changes in resource management, and the changes in ultra running. In this final post, I'm wrapping this series up with some thoughts, opinions, comments, and what-have-yous. Again.. this is a personal blog. It's a place where I get to share my thoughts and opinions based on my own personal experiences, and gained knowledge over time. You may not agree with what you read here, and I'm OK with that. To each his own.. take it with a grain of salt I guess and remember.. we as Ultra Runners have been encouraged for a few years now to "Vote with our wallets."

Monday, October 13, 2014

The RD: So How Did It Go?

On September 6th I hosted the first official race of the Human Potential Running Series. As part of "The RD" series here on my blog, I wanted to give an honest recount of how the entire event went from beginning to end. Any good race director should be able to take a huge step back, post event, and look at every little thing they endured. They should be able to honestly view it, addressing what went well and what did not, then suggesting changes for the next year based on their own honest feedback. Race Directors should also be compelled to ask their runners for feedback. Whether that comes from in e-mail form, or via Survey Monkey.

Even though I have been involved in race directing for a number of years... (Co-Directed some Peak.com Races in Vermont from 2007-2009, Directed the New England Ultras 50/100/200 Milers in 2008, and the HPRS Fat Ass Series here in Colorado) the race did not go off with a number of hiccups. There was a great deal that went well also, and at the end of the day I completed my goal. My goal was to direct a first year race that broke even or made money, and did not have the feeling of a first year event. We've all been to at least one first year horror story. This, was not one of them.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The RD: Bringing it all together

We've covered a lot in the previous 7 parts of this series on Race Directing, and you can find links to all of the previous postings at the bottom of this post. Again, this is just a synopsis of my experience in being a race director and I wanted to share the information because we as runners and constantly fed information that, well, just isn't entirely true. It is my hope that this post help dispel a number of myths and legends of Race Directing.

In this post, we're going to get right to it and bring it all together. You've made the decision to jump in, created a course, got your permits, purchased or borrowed most everything you need, incurred a huge amount of expenses, purchases insurance, shirts, obtained shwag and suckered volunteers to help. You event spent money on advertising and did what you could on a grass roots level to get the info out there. What else is there?! THE RACE!

Monday, October 6, 2014

a fantAZtic community

I'm trying, and I'm trying really hard. At times I honestly feel like I'm trying to reinvent the wheel in the Colorado Running Scene. Let me explain, and.. as I do.. I mean no disrespect at all.. just a perspective. When I became an Ultra Runner, it was back in New England. When I started, at 23 years old, I was more often than not the youngest finisher, or second youngest finisher in every race I ran. I was taken under the wing of a number of "legendary" New England Ultra Runners. They taught me everything they knew, be it from running together, or simply through their example. Craig Wilson, Jeff Washburn, Bob Dion, The Pero's, Andrew Thompson, Hans Bauer, Cave Dog. I even had some of the mountain running greats taking to the trails with me and just showing me the way.. Dave Dunham, Kevin Tilton..

Some of these names, may not be names you've ever heard. Some are still running. Some are not. They ran ultras during a time in our sport when sponsors and being "cool" didn't matter. Being a part of the community did. I remember vividly when Dean Karnazes burst onto the scene. He was lauded and looked up to in the marathon (and below) community, but in Ultra.. he was despised. He was single handedly changing the way ultra looked. No more did the community matter. He was the first guy who put the spotlight right on himself. I view him as the first ultra runner who hit it big. He did a good job marketing himself.. and once his luster wore off, we had "Born to Run." Suddenly, it was incredibly hip to be an ultra runner. No more was it simply crazy, or a niche community. Now it was something different.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Movie Review: "100: Head/Heart/Feet"

In 2013 I returned to Vermont to run in my 5th Vermont 100-Mile Endurance Run. In the months leading up to the race, I had caught wind of a documentary film that was to be filmed during last years race. The film producers had caught wind of my upcoming 5th Vermont and asked if I wouldn't mind conducting an interview for the film on race weekend. I was happy to help with their project. A year later, I was sent a link to view the film privately. I sat on it for a week or two, then finally turned it on. In this post, I'm going to try and find the words to tell you what I saw and experienced in watching the final product.

Hammer & Saw Films is an independent film studio in New Hampshire, co-owned by Mike Mooney and Will Peters. First, these two are some pretty creative cats with wonderful personalities. The way they talk to you is enough to draw you in. Or maybe it's Mike's voice.. he sounds like a real life Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch). They have created some short films in the past but this was to be their first feature length film. As a documentary film-maker myself, I could tell that these guys were operating on a different level right out of the gate.

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.