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Planning a Trail Race: Part Five

Posted by Filed Under: Races & Racing, Trail Running

(Read parts one, two, three and four of this series.)

Summary and Lessons Learned

trail runningWe covered many aspects of planning a trail race in the first four parts of this series. It is almost certain that some things were missed. The lesson there is that something will most certainly get missed along the way while you are planning your race. The perfect race day you have imagined does not exist. An aid station may run out of candy before the last runners pass. You may have a late start to the race. You may even have a communications problem that plagues your best-planned intentions. In my race, the food preparers cut up 40 potatoes and left them in bowls in my refrigerator, which is exactly where they still were on race day.

The most important lesson I learned as a first time race director is to put forth your best effort and show up on race day with enthusiasm and excitement. The runners will remember that and they will remember the people who helped them at aid stations throughout the race.

If you follow the steps in this series of articles that is great. But remember to show up on race day with a smile and instruct your volunteers to do the same. Any minor race snafu will likely be overlooked and the runners will get the only things most of them want anyway—a memorable and fun race.

Happy planning!

About Jessica

Jessica lives in Orange County, CA, home to hundreds of miles of trails and 30% green space along with the Santa Ana Mountain Range. After moving to California from artic Minnesota in January of 2005, she quickly became addicted to trail running, and upon meeting Dean Karanzes at a book signing was inspired to run her first marathon, and subsequently ultra marathon. She completed here first 50K race in July of 2006 and has 50 and 100 mile aspirations. In a short amount of time, Jessica has been active in the Orange County running scene by re-igniting the Saddleback church running group, founding a trail running group, and starting in 2007 launching a series of trail races throughout the county, beginning with the Twin Peak Ultra Marathon in February. In 2002, Jessica had open-heart surgery to repair a leaky mitral valve. Aside from running, Jessica is also a published author and an independent filmmaker. She works as an Information Security Engineer and part time at the flagship Nike Women store. When not out on the trails, working, blogging, writing, making films, or promoting races, Jessica can be found relaxing with her friends at the movies, lounging by the pool, or sharing a tasty meal and a good bottle of wine.



4 Comments
  1. Mark Iocchelli on March 20th at 7:53 am

    This has been such an excellent series, Jessica. I’m sure many people will benefit from it now, and into the future.

    Thank you *so* much.

  2. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on April 27th at 12:37 pm

    I agree, great series.

    By the way, your links to parts one through four on this article are broken.

  3. Gabor on May 20th at 4:41 pm

    Well, I think runners will remember a good, well organized race and not a race director. Most of the people I talked to don’t even know you.
    Also, I think you should run more races before you put on a race or listen to veteran ultra runners suggestions. Your race needs work!
    Gabor Kozinc

  4. trailrunningSoul » Blog Archive » Planning a Trail Race Series on August 10th at 9:44 pm

    […] Planning, love for trail running and lots of time. This is what you will need to get into race director. This and to read Jessica´s excellent five-part article describing the basic steps to follow on your way to plan a successful race. She covers from the initial steps – location, distance, date – to logistics on the race day, including advertising and getting sponsors. Definitely worth to read and remember if you are a first time race director read more […]

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