Yearly Archives: 2014

Volunteer Report – 2014 Summer Sizzler 5k/10k

On Sunday, August 10th I rolled out of bed to prepare for a weekend race: the Summer Sizzler 5k & 10k put on by Fleet Feet in Chico. In this case I wasn’t on the roster to run, but had volunteered to help out instead. Volunteering has a nice set of benefits for me. In addition to the good feelings that come from helping out a local event and cheering on hard-working runners, I get to view the event from my would-be race director perspective and see what lessons I can learn.

I volunteered (via email) a little later than I had intended, but the Race Director was still in need of course monitors. She replied with an email to the volunteers, and I received a list of the course monitor stations along with the volunteer assignments. We were instructed to all meet in the morning before the race start, and she made sure everyone understood where they were stationed and how they should be directing the runners. The communication was handled well and it turned out to be a good idea to gather the course monitors together before the race. I know the area and so the directions in the email were clear enough, but there were several volunteers who needed additional information on how to get where they were going.

My station was an intersection on the course that the 10k runners ran through twice. They turned one way on their way out, did a short loop, and then had to turn back the way they had come. It was not horribly confusing, but it was definitely something that required guidance for the runners. Having course monitors stationed there was the right call. Unfortunately, there was one glaring omission: no course markings.

Course marking on a long trail run is something I think about frequently. I run my proposed race course quite often and I try to look at where the “must have” spots will be for marking the twists and turns. For a trail run where placing markers may involve long miles on a bike or on foot, coordinating the placement and removal will take some effort. However, for a 10k that is mostly on pavement, putting some chalk markings down or putting up a small sign should be extremely straightforward. I made sure to email the Race Director, so hopefully it can be easily remedied next year.

All told, I’m grateful I had an opportunity to help out, observe, encourage, and just plain be out on a beautiful Sunday morning for a couple of hours. All my best to the Summer Sizzler runners, organizers, and volunteers!

August Update

With the start of a new month (plus a day or two), this seemed like a good time to do an update on the progress of the race and the state of my blog.

The latest update on the race is simple: I’m still waiting. I wrote back at the end of June about my excitement at turning in my permit application. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly though, and the committee that reviews the permit applications only meets once a month. They did not review my application in July, so that means I’m back to the waiting game until the end of August. It’s frustrating, but since it’s completely out of my hands it’s a good chance to practice some zen calm. Lucky me…

The good news is that I haven’t been idle in the meantime. I recently ran the SOB 50 mile in Ashland, Oregon and posted a report of my adventures. I’ve also been adding content to the site over in the Director’s Cut area. You can find information on other races and events I’ve participated in, charities I support via running, resources I use for training and inspiration, and, of course, gear I can’t live without.

All that is done, and there’s more to come. In preparation for the eventual permit approval, I will be working on the website for the race itself. I’ll also be working on follow-up posts on starting a business. And to top it all off, doing my final big training push before the 2014 Pine To Palm 100. Stay tuned!

Race Report – Siskiyou Out Back (SOB) 50 mile

This was my second year participating in the Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run, fondly known as the SOB. Once again I signed up for the 50 mile distance, though they offer a popular 50k and 15k version as well. The race starts and finishes at the Mount Ashland Ski Area in Ashland, Oregon, running along the beautiful Siskiyou mountains in southern Oregon and far northern California.

Mount Ashland Ski Area

View from Mount Ashland Ski Area, looking south

This was a training race for me in more ways than one. It’s part of my mileage build up for the upcoming Pine To Palm 100, but since that race also takes place in the Siskiyou’s it’s good location-specific training as well. There are even about seven miles of the course that overlap between the SOB and Pine To Palm. Of course, with Pine To Palm those miles occur in the dark of night, so the experience was just slightly different.

As a Race Director, this was also another chance to gain insight to all the logistics required to pull off a successful ultra. This race has a similar variety of distances and I was interested to view the race through RD eyes to see what I could glean.

For the second year in a row I had my all-in-one driver, support crew, cheerleader and girlfriend Cara with me. Waking up at the crack of dawn, we made the drive from Ashland up the hill to the ski area, arriving just as the sky lightened with time to pickup my race number and snap a few pictures prior to the start of the race.

Pre-race smiles

Pre-race smiles

Runner’s Report

Since this was my second year participating in this race, I thought I had a pretty good handle on how things would go. Of course, any time you’re racing at the ultra distances that attitude just begs to be proved wrong.

The course starts out with a couple miles of gentle rolling terrain. The sun is rising and you are greeted with beautiful, expansive views of the mountains. Amazing views of Mount Shasta standing tall off in the distance, and the early race excitement, make the early miles seem light. The first, short climb didn’t bother me, and then I hit the long, three mile descent that I remembered well from the previous year. It was memorable because, as an out-and-back course, a long descent early in the race equates to a long, grueling climb in the final miles. That climb destroyed me in 2013 and I really wanted to handle it better this year.

I blasted through the descent, and the subsequent climb-descend-climb, to cover the first 15 miles of the course. This is the turn-around point for the 50k race, a drop bag location, and a good size aid station (Jackson Gap). It was there that I discovered my sunglasses had fallen off the top of my head when I had taken a minor spill on the earlier descent. Just as I was grimacing at the thought of squinting through a long, sunny day another runner rolled into the aid station announcing that he had found some sunglasses. I was saved! I wish I had the presence of mind to have noted his race number, but I was mid-race and the details are hazy. So, thank you, anonymous runner, for saving my eyes!

After the Jackson Gap aid station, I began the seven mile descent that actually carries runners across the border into California. I wasn’t having much trouble (yet), but I was starting to get some signals from my body that I didn’t like. I was not expecting to notice my legs this early in the race, so some tightening in the glutes and IT bands was worrisome. I put it out of my mind as I finished the descent and rolled into the Wards Fork aid station. This is the last aid station on the course, and from there runners do a three mile climb out to the top of Big Rock before turning around and descending back to the aid station. I hit the midpoint of the race in 4:30, which is about the same as the first year I ran the course. This was also a little worrisome, since my body felt like I’d been running harder than the previous year. Feeling more worn out, but not running any faster, did not bode well.

I descended the three miles to Wards Fork, then began the seven mile climb up to Jackson Gap. I felt every mile. My pace was not terrible (yet), just slower than I wanted. I was lagging, but it wasn’t until I hit Jackson Gap at mile 35 that the low settled in on me. I was slower than I hoped, I was feeling worse than I had anticipated, and I was now over the “I’m used to this” distance and into the upper 30s. I fell into a hole of negative thoughts that held me pretty tight for the next section of the course. The course is mostly downhill for the next six miles, but I simply couldn’t get my pace up. The negative feedback loop is always amazing to watch, and, in retrospect, so pointless.

In the throes of this low, at around 41 miles in, I hit the three mile climb I mentioned earlier. It seemed to take an eternity. I was reduced to focusing on the basics: step forward with one foot, step forward with the other foot, repeat. Somehow, this “strategy” finally paid off. I reached the summit and traversed the final 1/4 mile to the last aid station on the course, a scant five miles from the finish. I sagged into a chair, drank ginger ale, and contemplated how nice it would be to not have to run any further. After the mental low and the grueling climb, there was a definite feeling of heavy despair.

Thankfully, I had the two weapons that every ultrarunner needs: positive, friendly aid station personnel plus an internal certainty that anything is possible. The folks at the Williamette Meridian aid station were encouraging and helpful, and were willing to let me sit for just long enough to get myself together, but not so long that I couldn’t get back up. Fueled up on ginger ale and a banana, I groaned to my feet, gritted my teeth, thanked the gods for no more significant climbing, told myself to stop complaining, and shuffled out onto the trail.

The next couple miles blurred by, and I finally exited the trail onto the access road that leads runners the final mile to the finish line. This area is accessible to friends and family, so I was greeted with the smiling face of Cara, fresh off an hour+ of waiting for me but still happy. I wasn’t able to communicate much at that point, but I was flooded with relief at the sight of her. We all run alone, but support makes all the difference in the world. There are many finish lines I would have a much harder time crossing without her.

Director’s Report

While I struggled from a runner’s perspective, I was still able to observe with an eye for input to my own upcoming race. The SOB sets a good example, since I feel they do a lot of things right. They have a fantastic staff of volunteers and race personnel, and you can feel their support and enthusiasm at every aid station. It was reinforced for me how crucial it will be to enlist quality volunteers, and keep them interested and motivated as the race planning moves forward.

On the course side of things, they again score high marks. Things are very well-marked, and I have never had trouble finding my way. I did learn something for my race director notebook, however. As noted, this is an out-and-back course, and the 50 mile and 50k share the same route in both directions. The split occurs at the Jackson Gap aid station, where 50k runners turn around and 50 mile runners continue on down a nearby trail. Unfortunately, the first two runners reached Jackson Gap before the aid station was setup and mistakenly turned, following part of the return course. They realized their error, but not until they had run an extra 3+ miles the wrong way. I don’t see this as an issue with the course marking, but it highlights for me the importance of having things in place for even the speediest of the runners. And no matter how fast you think they’ll run, they could be even faster.

On a purely fun, sadistic note I love what the directors did for the turnaround at the midpoint of the course. The last three-ish miles are a steady climb, until you hit the last quarter-mile, where you’re confronted with a steep, rocky not-quite-a-scramble to the top of Big Rock. It’s absolutely not done for the mileage, it’s just a perfect tough section that reminds you that running an ultra isn’t something we do because it’s easy. It’s a fantastic touch, and I love it. Incidentally, this year the Big Rock turn-around was staffed by a friendly, smiling nine month pregnant woman. It is really hard to complain about your physical state at the top of a climb when you’re faced with someone who is about to give birth and is happy and unfazed.

If I had one suggestion for the folks at the SOB, it would be for an improvement on the post-race meal (included for the 50k and 50 mile folks). In 2013 they had a food truck with abysmally bad tacos. This year they advertised a BBQ, including veggie burgers, so I was very much looking forward to an improved meal. When I reached the finish line, they had run out of veggie burgers (I finished mid-pack, so there were still half the 50 mile runners left at this point). Instead I got a “grilled cheese” which was just white bread and some of the plastic, simulated american cheese, cooked poorly over a BBQ. They also had a jar of peanut butter and jelly out with the option to make a PB&J instead. This was less impressive than the food selection at the aid stations, and was a major disappointment. I want to take this lesson to heart and make a concerted effort to have great food options for all my runners, including all the 50 mile folks.

The SOB organizers have one last ace up their sleeve when it comes to this race: a day-after party. In the parking lot behind Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland, runners can gather, have a beer, talk about the race and just generally build up a sense of community. It’s a wonderful touch, and I’ve enjoyed it both times. Combine it with the great overall vibe of Ashland, and it puts a wonderful cherry on the race weekend sundae. All told, an amazing job. I hope I can put on an event as successful as this one next year.

Race Report – Burton Creek 50k

While the focus of this blog is obviously the race I’m organizing, there is much I can learn from other races and race directors. With that in mind, this race report will aim to showcase the race from the perspective of both a runner and a race director.

Early in the morning on Sunday, June 22, I packed up my gear and got in my car to make the two and a half hour drive to Tahoe City for the Burton Creek Trail Run. This event is part of the Tahoe Trail Running Series, put on by Big Blue Adventure, a company that organizes a variety of running, mountain biking and triathlon events in the Tahoe area. The Burton Creek event has existed for six years, but this was only the second year for the 50k distance (the other distance options for 2014 were 6k, 12k, and half marathon).

The race itself takes place on forested trails and jeep roads in the Burton Creek State Park, just north of Tahoe City, CA. While you don’t get any vistas of Lake Tahoe on the course, it’s still beautiful and scenic from start to finish.

Runner’s Report

Living down in the valley a mere 250 feet above sea level, I knew going into this race that the mountain setting would provide a challenge. Fortunately, I’ve done quite a number of runs in the mountains, so I have a pretty good idea what to expect from my body at the 6-7000′ elevation range. Knowing that going out too fast can leave me gasping for oxygen that isn’t there, I headed out at a measured pace up the first gentle hill.

The 50k and half marathon runners all started at the same time, so the first few miles were a bit crowded, but then the 50k folks diverted off to a slightly different route. Since there were only about 30 of us, that thinned the pack significantly. In spite of this, I found myself alongside another runner, David Roy, who had made a trip out from New York, visiting family nearby and running his first ultra. Although it was his first 50k event, he had no trouble keeping pace for the first half of the race and we talked as we ran. It was great to have some company, and the miles ticked off steadily.

After the first lap, David slowed his pace a little, so I forged on ahead. Since it was a small race, I was running near the front of the pack. Not at the front of the pack by any means, especially as I learned veteran ultrarunner Ian Torrence was out there, using this (I suspect) as an easy, supported training run. In spite of this, I passed a couple of runners and found myself in third heading into the last 15k or so. Over the next 10k I traded places several times with Elijah Hall, a runner hailing from nearby Sacramento. I tried to drop him several times, but each time he would just keep his pace steady and catch up again. We were both tired, but in good spirits, trying to stay strong through the last miles of the race.

As we came down to the last 5k or so, pushing through the last of the climbing (it was barely uphill, but felt challenging by this point) I was a little bit ahead of Elijah and thinking thoughts of 3rd place. Out of nowhere, a quiet runner who I hadn’t seen since the beginning cruised past, not sprinting but moving much faster than my current crawl. I tried to match his pace, but I couldn’t keep up and he blazed on ahead. Demoralized, I slowed, and Elijah caught up. We ran together, chatting and enjoying the final miles. Since 3rd place was now a non-issue, we decided to just cross the finish line together.

Overall, I am happy with my performance for my first ultra of the season. I didn’t hit sub-five hours (which I had held out some hope for), but I had a fairly solid race and got to enjoy some good company along the way.

 

Director’s Report

As a race director, this event had several features that I piqued my interest. The 50k course was organized as two laps, and there was a half marathon distance that utilized much of the same course as one lap of the 50k. My plans call for something similar, and I was curious how this team would handle their event. Wanting to learn what I could, I was also paying attention to how they handled everything else, from registration to aid stations to post-race.

Overall, I think the staff and volunteers from Big Blue Adventure did a great job. There were ample personnel, and everyone involved was friendly and helpful. The course was very well-marked, and there was really no chance of getting lost. Aid stations were plentiful and well stocked. A beautiful course and all the help along the way are the marks of a well-planned event.

There were a few things I noted that stood out as room for improvement. I’ll go into a little more detail here as I explore them, but I want to emphasize that my experience was far and away a positive one overall.

The first item was the registration and packet pickup before the race. In addition to the 50k and half marathon, there were 12k and 6k distances as well. As is usually the case, these attract a much larger crowd, so there were a significant number of runners in need of their race materials. They seemed to be a little short on help at the registration area, so a rather long line formed up for all those who had preregistered. Everyone eventually got their numbers and all was well, but speaking as a runner I know it can be frustrating to stand around on race morning when you want to be warming up and getting your gear together. My lesson: Strive to have some additional volunteers available pre-race to try to alleviate any bottlenecks.

I was also paying attention to the course itself, noticing how the two-lap format felt. On balance, I think it worked well. That said, there was one aspect to the Burton Creek course I didn’t enjoy as much. Within each lap, there was an inner loop and the runners ran that “inner loop” twice during the lap. That means that by the end of the race that inner lap had been run four times, which felt a bit tedious. My lesson: I think it will serve just fine to have my 50 mile course cover two laps of my marathon route (minus a mile, of course). The second lap through allows for some familiarity, but the different time of day and energy level make it still seem fresh. My marathon route is two distinct half marathon loops, so there shouldn’t be anything on the course you see more than twice.

The last item of note is something that I am already concerned about for my race: the post-race experience. When an event offers multiple distances (6k, 12k, half, 50k for Burton Creek), the bulk of the entrants will be in the shorter distances. Typically it’s a much smaller contingent for the ultra distances, and that was the case here. When you finish, the atmosphere at the finish line tends to be a little more subdued. I understand this completely. The folks working have been there for many hours, and there are only a handful of actual runners left. Everyone I interacted with at the finish line was still friendly and had a great attitude, but it’s just different from finishing with a larger pool of runners milling about and energy levels high.

I expect this to be even more of an issue with my race. The half and marathon distance runners will be long gone by the time the first 50 mile runners finish. And the middle and back of the pack? The finish line will be a ghost town by then. How do I keep the atmosphere “up” enough to help these folks really appreciate the value of their accomplishment when they finish? How can I ensure their finish line experience is a good one? My lesson: Continue to pay attention to other races, and see what lessons can be learned when I race the SOB 50 mile in two short weeks!

Adventures in Permitting – Part 1

Today was a big day for me and for the race. I submitted my permit application to the Parks Division here in Chico! Okay, at first blush turning in a batch of paperwork doesn’t sound that exiciting, but it’s a milestone for me nonetheless. It’s a big (and very necessary) step towards making this race a reality.

Since my race will take place in Bidwell Park here in Chico, it requires permit approval from the city. The process is not particularly onerous, but there are a couple pages of information to fill out about the event. Questions about start and end times, food vendors, number of attendees, all of which require consideration since the answers bear on how the race itself will come together.

Case in point: when will I need to start setting up for the event? Given that I have never put on a race before, the short answer is “I don’t know!” Alas, that isn’t one of the options on a permit application. And it’s not just academic either, since I am assessed a fee for having a park ranger come out to open the road access gates early. So, like any good test taker, I made some educated guesses, crossed my fingers, and answered the questions.

The standard permit application is used for any event, from a quilting convention to a concert in the park. So in addition to the normal questions I wrote up a page of supplemental information about the event. This included a map of the proposed route (including my impromptu reroute I mentioned yesterday). It felt more than a little long-winded, since it was describing all the ins and outs of the trails used, but I figured it was best to be thorough.

Of course, like everything in life, this flurry of activity and the culmination of turning in the application will be followed up with… waiting. The permit applications are reviewed by a committee that meets once a month, and because my event is almost a year away that could mean a month or two delay before I find out a verdict. That is more than a little bit frustrating, but it will give me ample opportunity to work on my patience. And they don’t even charge me extra for that opportunity. What a bargain! 🙂

For those who happen to be local to Chico and curious about putting on an event of their own I’ll put links over on the Resources page to the city’s permit applications. For everyone else, stay tuned for Part 2 as my permit moves through the process. I can’t promise it will be as exciting as a bill becoming a law, but I’ll do what I can.

Rerouting

Even though I’m still almost a year out,  I already had my first case of needing to rework my route. Since this route is on trails I run consistently, I’ve had considerable time tweaking with the route I had in mind, fine tuning it for distance, and figuring out where the aid stations would be placed.

Vehicle access is very limited on the trails I plan to use, so finding a good place to set up an aid station was a challenge. I thought I had it nailed, only to find out a section of the road I need to use is closed to all traffic (I thought it could still be used for events and limited access). So, unless I wanted to cart an entire aid station’s worth of stuff by pack mule over a few miles of rutted, gravel road it was time to go back to the map.

Thankfully, the road is not closed entirely, and I was able to reroute the course to gain access to the road without having to run more than half a mile on it. But this new aid station location came with a catch: it was much further along the course. Its new location meant I needed to add yet another aid station along the way so that runners weren’t looking at 10 unassisted miles, over potentially very hot, exposed terrain. A little more route manipulation, the addition of an out-and-back that adds a new hill climb, and voila! A new aid station is born.

All of this rework occurred as I was in the final stages of preparing my permit application to submit to the city’s Parks Department. But I’ll cover all that and more in an upcoming post…

Going Into Business – Part 1

As a would-be Race Director, I am planning on having dealings with a wide array of people. There will be runners, of course, but also potential sponsors, media, the city government and who knows who else. Setting up a race will involve running a business (albeit a very small, narrowly focused one). Nothing says I can’t conduct this business as myself. I can send all my emails, write all my checks, and fill out all the requisite paperwork simply as an individual. But is it enough to just be… me?

I am committed to putting on this race, and I would very much like to make it an annual event. If it goes well, who knows… perhaps another ultra in the future? Either way, I want to make this endeavor feel like a serious, professional effort. I’d also like to be able to write off any money spent along the way. To that end, I decided I will create a business entity to serve as the company putting on the race. This immediately requires a decision. What type of business entity? There are two options that would apply for me: a Sole Proprietorship or a Limited Liability Company.

In truth, a Sole Proprietorship only barely qualifies as a business entity. The business has no existence apart from that of its owner (me). However, it does afford you the opportunity to operate under a separate business name and have a bank account for the business, forming a very clean divide for an individual between their personal and business dealings. Setting up a Sole Proprietorship is very straightforward. There is minimal paperwork and the only outlay is the cost of filing and publicizing a Fictitious Business Name. When it comes time to do your taxes, you still do them as an individual but with a separate Schedule to track business income (and, perhaps just as importantly, expenses).

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is an actual, legal business entity. It affords some degree of legal protection since the member(s) of an LLC are not liable for financial debts and obligations. It’s a newer, fairly popular form of business entity since it’s less onerous to create an LLC compared to actually incorporating. While it’s far easier than forming a true corporation, there are still some additional steps involved and some additional tax implications to consider.

After some consideration, I decided to set myself up as a Sole Proprietorship for the time being. I have familiarity with the process, having gone through it many years ago when I created my own software company. It’s straightforward, inexpensive, and won’t make me sweat anything on my 1040. Additionally, I don’t have any employees, so I don’t need to worry about that angle.

To that end, I’m following these four steps for establishing a Sole Proprietorship in California:

  1. Choose a business name.
  2. File a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the county recorder.
  3. Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  4. Obtain an Employer Identification Number.

So, my Fictitious Business Name paperwork is in the mail. Stay tuned and I’ll post another update when I move on to the exciting world of business licenses and Employer Identification Numbers. I will also continue to update my Resources page with links related to creating a business entity.

Anytime Can Be the Right Time

Picking a date can be a challenge for any big event in our lives. For that matter, even just getting a couple friends together for a night at the movies can become a scheduling nightmare. So when faced with picking a date for my race, I had to weigh a lot of factors.

The Weather

Everyone wants the perfect race weather. Not too hot, not too cool. Not too wet, not too windy. And Chico definitely has a lot of perfect weather days over the course of a year. The trick, as always, is finding a balance between the average weather conditions, and the high/low extremes. I’m putting on a trail race, so I don’t want too much chance of heavy rain and a risk of trail closures. On the other hand, the terrain is very exposed, so I don’t want to aim for high summer where there is zero chance of rain, but guaranteed triple digit temps. So, Spring or Fall become the target seasons. Easily 4-6 months out of the year to choose from. Easy, right? But I’m not the only one putting on a race…

Other Races

Trail races continue to grow in popularity. While there isn’t anything exactly like mine in Chico, I don’t want to overlap too closely with similar races in the area. I’m hoping to draw folks from out of town, and that means not forcing too many conflicts with other runs they’re hoping to do. We have a 50k in nearby Red Bluff in April, and the finish of the Western States 100, which takes place the last weekend in June, is less than two hours drive away. Throw another half-dozen 50k and 50 mile races in the Spring and early summer season, and things start to get crowded in a hurry.

Holidays

So now I’ve narrowed my choices considerably. One more limiting factor on the calendar: holidays. Turns out, Spring is also the time for things like Memorial Day and Father’s Day. No law that says you can’t hold a race then, but since my goal is to encourage participation I don’t want to make people choose between heading out of town with the family and my event.

Venue

So I’ve got all those factors plugged into the date picker. Just one catch: if you need to reserve an area for the start and finish festivities it needs to be available. For me, the area I’m looking at is a fairly popular spot, and when the weather is nice is exactly when you get the most competition for space.

 

So, how did it all work out for me? I went with Saturday, June 6th, 2015. The average high temperature is in the mid 80s. There are a small number of local and semi-local events. It skips all the nearby holidays (including the Chico State graduation… pay attention to local events that are practically holidays!). And the space I need is available. All in all, it looks like a win!

One interesting post script: As I write this blog entry on June 12th, the forecast high for the day 84 degrees. There was even a cool breeze for several hours while I was on my morning run. Perfect! And what was the weather a few days ago? 102 degrees. We may very well have a post in the future on preparing for an extremely hot weather race.

 

Picking the Distance

As the idea for this race took shape in my head, I thought a lot about what options to offer for race distances. The simplest of course would be to simply pick the one distance and have the race completely focused on that. Another is to add some other, shorter options to make the race a little more inclusive, though diluted from a pure ultramarathon. There are plenty of 50 mile races that fall into either camp, but for my race I elected to go with the broader set of options. I decided to offer a half-marathon, marathon and 50 mile distance for participants to choose from.

A couple factors weighed on my decision to broaden the set of distance choices. Chico is a great town, but is most definitely not in a large, urban area so the pool of local participants is not enormous. I’m frankly not sure how many folks I’ll be able to recruit for the 50 mile option. Offering a marathon and a half-marathon will hopefully encourage some racers who might be otherwise on the fence for year one, and lead to even greater participation in the ultra distance in the years to come.

The course itself was also a consideration when looking at the distance options. The nature of the course is two loops in a “rabbit ears” arrangement, and each loop was easy to get to about 13 miles. This just calls out for the half/full/ultra combination and doesn’t require any weird modifications to a course to try and make the shorter options viable.

When everything comes together, I hope to strike a good balance between encouraging participation on the shorter distances and still making sure the race gets to shine with the 50 mile distance.

 

What do you think? When you have done races with single vs. multiple distance options, what do you find most appealing? I’d love to hear from you.

Day 0

Just under one year from now, on June 6th, 2015, I will direct the Rim Job 50, an ultramarathon located in beautiful Chico, California. That journey begins today…

Okay, that is probably a bit of poetic license. The idea for this race has been rattling around in my mind for the better part of a year. However, there is one difference: today I begin telling the story and making the idea a reality.

The motivation for this blog is very simple. I’m a runner with no experience as a Race Director. As such, I’m going to have to learn a lot in order to put on a successful race. I will seek out all sorts of tips, tricks and advice. I’ll have some amazing successes, and some colossal screw-ups. And I’ll record it all here for posterity. Just think of me as your little black box for directing a trail race.

My goal will be short, frequent posts with small updates of my progress and nuggets of wisdom that I may have picked up along the way. I’ll supplement this with longer posts on specific topics where it’s appropriate. I will of course be making full use of all the information put together from other sources on the web, and I will link to any and all high-quality external resources.

Welcome, and thanks for coming along for the ride!