Saturday, February 22, 2014

Race Directing: An Ultra Journey Itself

From the time I started developing a passion for trail running and ultra running in 2008 until now I have had this desire to create and direct trail races in the place I know best - Southeastern Ohio.  Once I found myself living permanently in my hometown I started seeking ways to share my passion with the community in hopes of growing the trail running culture in SE Ohio.  What I found is that I am not the only crazy trail loving runner in the area; however, there wasn't a central hub or common identity among all the trail runners in SE Ohio.  That is why I began to develop the idea of a Trail Running Club, in the form of a non-profit organization, who's aim is to promote trail running and to continue fostering this idea of a trail culture that I believe can thrive in SE Ohio.

In January of this year, after finalizing the paperwork and duties required to start a non-profit organization, and with help from some other dedicated trail runners Southeastern Ohio Trail Runners (#SEOTR) was officially established.  Good things are beginning to happen and hopefully this organization will spur some more interest in trail running among community members!
Local Art: Sharron Smith
With that said, I was presented with an opportunity to partner with a group of graduate students in the Recreation Studies program at Ohio University to create, plan, and implement a trail race.  With the newly formed SEOTR and some sort of central identity of a trail running group, I felt like this was a perfect time to host our first trail race!

So on April 26th, SEOTR will host the 1st Annual Iron Furnace Trail Run (#IFTR) with a 20k and 5 mile race option at beautiful Lake Hope State Park!  So a dream I've had for years is coming true as I get a chance to direct my first trail race.  The process began in early January and things have had to move pretty quickly.  Luckily I have a solid group working with me to help the process move along faster.  From getting a couple special use permits approved, to figuring out logistics and details, to developing and designing a quality course, it's been a lot tiring but rewarding work.  When I posted the website and made registration live yesterday, I was really pumped that my dream of becoming a race director has come to fruition.

I'm a nut for course layout, design, distances, numbers, elevation profiles, etc. etc.  The logistics to design an event and plan a course is right up my alley.  I'm also naturally organized, to a fault according to my wife, so directing a race was going to be an enjoyable challenge for me.  I do have the support of my trusty team of graduate students to help in areas such as marketing, sponsorship, advertising, etc.  I have the tendency to have the philosophy of "If you build it, they will come."  Although the course is 100 percent built for an amazing experience, I probably would only get a handful of participants if I was left to marketing for the race myself!

So this is a shameless plug for SEOTR and the Iron Furnace Trail Run!  Check out the IFTR Event Page and find other information about SEOTR.  Become a member, support trail running, help give back and maintain trails, join our cause and promote the trail running culture in SE Ohio!  Also, follow SEOTR on Twitter @SEOTrailRunners, Like SEOTR on Facebook!

Happy Trails!
WMO

3 comments:

  1. I just paid my dues to join SEOTR. When I figure out how to get the club discount code, I'll register for the race. I'm looking forward to it!

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  2. If still healthy after trail marathon April 12th, this will be my next race. Pumped to explore a new park!

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