Thomas Brown To: Nick Yeates trail race yesterday
Nick: I found it helpful to sit down a day or two after the Bagel2Beer Marathon each year and write down things I wanted to do the same or change for the next year. It was a nice event. Tom Brown
I saw it from a limited view (mile 4 aid station and assisting at the finish line). You probably have everyone's e-mail address who participated. You may want to come up with a short and sweet e-mail asking for any and all feedback. Most will appreciate that. I know we heard comments at the first aid station regarding the loop around mile 2-some had difficulty getting off the loop at the correct spot. I always take comments with a grain of salt. If you hear it from only one, chances are it's not a big deal. If you hear it from several you address it. I know you and your fam worked your butts off. Nice job.
I have lots of + / - lessons learned, in no particular order. This is not meant to be critical of any body or anything. Its intent is to describe issues passed on to me by others or from my own recent experience.
Pre-event & Saturday set-up + Shirts were awesome & could have sold more. However don't over order as it can get VERY expensive, VERY quickly if you can't sell them & get stuck with them. It's better to be conservative with the order count. - The trash removal from Nick's house took away a lot of his valuable time that was caused by me. - Nick spent a huge amount of time setting up the course. It took away valuable time & resources from other issues that needed to be done. - Sue & I ended up doing the bulk of the goody bags. Very back breaking work & should have been at table height. We should have had: 1) an entry list that was alphabetical and 2) a list sorted by bib number. + Getting the goody bags sorted in numerical order and into boxes helped tremendously, both in transporting to the event & in registration/handout. - Could have used another 1 or 2 volunteers on Saturday to help out at the house. I ended up doing all the packing with Ty L. ; I'm sure Nick could have used some others too out on the trail. + Although it worked out in the end, Nick needed to spend more time as the liaison with the park, sheriff, EMT, Ham Operator, etc and less time out on the course where it was difficult to contact him + Work closely with the park rangers, early on. Nick avoided a major course disaster by working with them, despite the last minute head aches !
Event day on Sunday + Starting at 8:15 am or even 8:30 am was perfect. Any earlier would have been very difficult for the volunteers to pull this off. (After all, it was 4:00 am when we got up !) + We had great volunteers who helped without needing a lot of direction. They had plenty of initiative & drive to make things happen on their own without having to be prompted. + The way the various work areas at the Shelter was laid out was very efficient. From registration, to food prep, food lines, tables, water zone, runner timing, music, etc worked out great. Don't change a thing. + Giving 15minute, 10 minute & 5 minute announcements to all the runners before the start was helpful to BOTH the runners and the volunteers. I took this on as Nick had other last minute details to deal with. + I helped to remind Nick several times of the race time start just before the gun. This was very beneficial for him as he was constantly distracted by others at that critical time period. - The day is just too long to expect volunteers to last thru the heat for the entire day. It would be better to have a set of volunteers for setup till noon, then have different volunteers for the afternoon & cleanup. - I ended up policing the entire area & shelter for trash. Could have used a volunteer to do nothing but checking trash bags & putting out replacements during the meal time. - Unfortunately, Nick had to spend way too much time out on the course the day of the event. At the shelter, I took it upon myself to be a go-fer, traffic cop, liaison to the EMT, ham radio operator, ranger & General Director of things at the Shelter. You definitely need someone there who won't leave & to do that type of work as many, many questions came my way that needed immediate decisions. Originally I was supposed to head up the cooking but I ended up delegating that to Ree (who was very capable). I saw a greater need for the logistics of things in the shelter so made an “executive decision” & took on that role.
+ We never got food out to the volunteers at the aid stations but I don't think it was really necessary. Certainly not for Stations 1 & 2 as most of the runners were past those points by noon. - Could have gotten by with no trail mix & only one chocolate cake. The cakes were a nice touch but were difficult to transport & keep cool. + Swedish fish were by far the most popular trail snack choice. + About the right amount of vegan sloppy joes. Still had about 1/3 leftover + Only used about 2/3 of the pulled pork (used 8 out of 12 packets). - Loads of hamburger & rolls leftover. Could have gotten by with half the amount. Hot dogs & pulled pork seemed the most popular. - Although there was ample food, we may have gone overboard in the number of selections. Suggest to have only 2 main entrées instead of 3. + Fruit salad tray: For the first part of the serving it was covered & no one took any because they didn't look under the cover . Once I uncovered, it was a big hit & went fast. + Charcoal: We had 4 x 20 pound bags & used about 50 pounds.
- We needed better organization in water jugs & where they were to go. We need ones with dispensers too, which we had in limited supply. The 1 gallon type with a screwable top were VERY GOOD for transporting to the aid stations. Easy to fill, carry, & dispense, especially if you have women helping. - The big 5 gallon ones were difficult to transport, sloshed water out during transporting & were difficult to put into other bottles at the aid stations. For example, women could not lift up a full 5 gallon jug. - Have a water jug at the finish line/shelter area. It wasn't till after the first dozen or so finishers that we were able to grab Aid Station #1's jugs & provide in the shelter. + Once we got jugs, the Gatorade & water were popular & were replenished several times. Definitely have both liquids available at the Shelter for end of the race. - Too much beer, even for a hot day. Especially the bottles & cans had many coolers full of leftovers. Did see some individuals grabbing as many bottles as they could hold & then leaving for home. Kind of defeats the purpose of having them. + Both the beer keg & the root beer keg were very popular. Right amount.
+ Timing board results was a nice idea & a great way to display results. Many people referred back to it, several times. - List times for every participant as you go. To do it post-event is meaningless. - Have aid stations report in when first runners have come thru and maybe at 40, 80, 120 count. It would help the shelter people to better anticipate water needs, etc. + The aid station stuff was distributed very well. Probably did not need PBJ's at the first station. - Lots of bananas leftover that had already been cut in 2 which when not used, had to be tossed out. - Communications: some dead zones in the park that made it difficult to contact each other by cell phone. Especially so between the aid station driver & the shelter people. Need to come up with alternate back up plans + Texting seemed to be better than voice when dealing with dead zones in the park.
- Definitely need more volunteers for cleanup, and returning stuff. Removal of all trash bags was also a hassle but we dealt with it. Would have been good if 1 volunteer showed up at the end with a pickup truck and threw all bags in for him to dispose. It would have cut our trailer trips between the park & the house from 2 to 1 (which took an hour round trip). - Moving the full kegs & the refrigerator was very heavy lifting. I could not help at all & needed to recruit others for assistance (at both ends of the trip). Very difficult to do after a long day of work. - With so much large stuff needing refrigeration, we had to load & empty the fridge contents each time when moving into or out of the trailer. Very time consuming. Look at other possible options. + The event announcements, raffle, etc was a very good recap. I wouldn't make it any longer than it was. + I didn't hear any one say a thing one way or the other but the background music was very pleasing & I think kept a very nice mood at the shelter. + I talked with at least 2 dozen runners after they finished to get their feed back. Very complimentary about the challenge level of the course; They liked the scenery & nature; Don't make it longer as it was already hot and tiring, even for the experienced runners; Right spacing of creek crossings & aid stations; loved the views, the “wall” & the elevation changes. - Several people said they had trouble in the areas with yellow tape. Some said they could not see them, others said there was confusion when they did see them. + Nick learned the hard way when posting signs, drive stakes in first, then staple the marked up pie plates ! NOT the reverse.
- Don't turn off on I-895 (instead of I-195). I avoided a big bullet by doing an illegal u-turn ! + Having the finish line right next to the water faucet was huge. Most runners used it to cool down & wash up. - Horse shoes not used at all. Corn toss was little used & could have gotten by with only 1 set. I think the runners were just too tired. + Cookies were popular - Some runners said they would have liked salty snacks at the aid stations to replenish their body salts. Stuff like chips, peanuts, etc; We could have accommodated as we had 4 of the 8 large chip bags leftover & unopened. + Good to have the first 1/2 mile on wide grassy area to stretch out the field. + Reserving the closest parking place for the trailer & tow vehicle was huge for unloading & loading. + Nice touch to have REI sponsor there as well as mentioning other sponsors thru out the event.
This is a start. Add or delete as you see fit.
Job well done Nick !
I agree tht course marking took away from time I needed to be directing and helping at Homebase.
Agree we could Use more vols on sat, but a few didn't show or I didn't make it clear that we needed reliable help - I just kinda said 'come on over for a fun lunch'. Either way, it's tough to get pre race vols. I shoulda used the facebook page and emails more often.
Nick needed to spend more time as the liaison with the park, sheriff, EMT, Ham Operator, etc and less time out on the course this one I sorta disagree with. There were multiple aid station vols that I had never even physically met. I wanted to meet them, let them know I exist, answer one round of their questions, and thank them. Just like the met and hams had questions that were better done In-person… So too did the aid stations. One example of it being ultra important that I visited the aid stations: water jug mix ups, but more importantly, I had left 3 signs and they put them up - one of them was pointing TOTALLY in the wrong direction. Every runner would have got lost. What I coulda done without was the 4 miles of sweeping that I did, alomg with Nobody wanted to volunteer past 12, as everyone is finished and partying. Also I could have been at the start line the entire time from 6am-8am. I'm not sure how other RDs do it, but after their third year, they actually run in the race.
Agree on start time, volunteer initiative, layout, and your time reminders @8.
We need shift volunteers agreed. I see that another race does this. Some positions are AM, some PM.
At the shelter, I took it upon myself to be a go-fer, traffic cop, liaison to the EMT, ham radio operator, ranger & General Director of things at the Shelter.
Was this more in the pre race or during race? Some of the questions that the ham guys came to me with were - not that important in the scheme of things - but many were also important. The ratio of noise to importance was high in my view. Maybe you got stuck with important ones? I was pretty much on my phone with various parties the entire time while in the car driving around to aid stations. The ham guys were happenstance and last minute - and though they were crucial, I think we woulda got by without them. We woulda used cell phones more and text and drivers would relay messages from aid 2 (black hole cell service). Basically, info would have reached us slower, but people out in the field would need to be more creative and self initiating to fix issues. I am a little afraid of the ham radio lead guy wanting to be an integral part of my pre planning. It sounds like it would be yet another party for me to fight against to get my vision done. He would favor extreme safety and ease over runner elation and excitement. These runners are tough cookies - running portions of this distance unaided on most training days. We don't need to over-baby them. Our rave compared to others, we were near the top of taking care and 'babying' the runners. Many many runs they do less at aid stations, have less communications, no medical on call, etc. We were over the top as it was. Despite, I'll Probably want the ham Guys involved next time. They did help in numerous scenarios and were free!
I guess that parties at the start line have as many in-person questions and needs as those out on the course. I had a police man and Matt out there too who I never saw - just contacted by phone.
First off - THANKS SO MUCH ALL OF YOU.
DAD thanks for taking over and delegating and directing in my absence. It was what was needed and you stepped up and took the lead. Mahmud had much of the information, but not the leadership and executive confidence. He is not as much a people person. Thanks Dad.
WIFE, I also clearly saw you take a leadership role in things I had not even asked you to take part in, let alone the amazing registration, volunteer assigning, and bagging effort you did. I was genuinely surprised on your race day spirit and help and even others commented on this on facebook. No wonder Marriott loves you so much :-p
MOM, you stepped in over and over when stuff was needed to be bought, moved-around and chores needed being done… something I had assigned to Pat. He was too busy though. Maybe we need 2-3 drivers next time. Thanks for being an additional chore runner, despite all of the homework you had.
NUMBER ONE BIGGEST MISTAKE: Course Marking It took away from time I needed to be directing and helping you all at Homebase, start/finish, and other times. It was by FAR, the number one mistake and effected all other issues.
- Course Marking
- RD Full time @ start/finish Nick needed to spend more time as the liaison with the park, sheriff, EMT, Ham Operator, etc and less time out on the course - This one I sorta disagree with. - There were multiple aid station vols that I had never even physically met. I wanted to meet them, let them know I exist, answer one round of their questions, and thank them. - Just like the EMTs and HAMs had questions that were better done In-person… So too did the aid stations. - One example of it being ultra important that I visited the aid stations:
- 4 miles of sweeping that I did was not conducive of my time - Nobody wanted to volunteer past 12, as everyone is finished and partying. - I could have been at the start line the entire time from 6am-8am. That was my original plan - I'm not sure how other RDs do it, but after their third year, they actually run in the race. - Agree on start time, volunteer initiative, layout, and dads time reminders @8. - We need shift-based volunteers agreed. 5:30-12 and 12-6. I see that another race does this. Some positions are AM, some PM.
- Dad overwhelmed and directing at start/finish At the shelter, I took it upon myself to be a go-fer, traffic cop, liaison to the EMT, ham radio operator, ranger & General Director of things at the Shelter. Was this more in the pre race or during race? Some of the questions that the HAM guys came to me with were - not that important in the scheme of things - but many were also important. The ratio of noise to importance was high in my view. Maybe you got stuck with important ones? I was pretty much on my phone with various parties the entire time while in the car driving around to aid stations. The ham guys were happenstance and last minute - and though they were crucial, I think we would have got by without them. We would have used cell phones more and text and drivers would relay messages from aid 2 (black hole cell service). Basically, info would have reached us considerably slower, but people out in the field would need to be more creative and self initiating to fix issues.
- HAM Radio guys
What are your guys thoughts on the HAMs?
What kinda stuff were the EMT's HAMs and Ranger asking you Dad?
- Aid station Organization
- Water - The plan for water dispensers did not go as planned. If it had gone as I planned, all would have been good.
- I had a hard enough time getting 9 water dispensers, let alone more for the start line. Definitely were needed though. - I totally did not anticipate this need for water and gatorade at start line.
- Beer / Drinks - Way way too much beer, agreed. - 1 keg beer was drank and maybe 1/2 or 3/4 keg root beer was drank. 150 runners, 70+ attendees and vol's. - At least I didnt get all the beer in 3 kegs - we would be screwed and have to throw out 2 entire kegs of beer. Now we have it in bottles. - If we had kept the bottles and can in their original cardboard containers, I could have returned them
- Timing - Post-event timing is not meaningless.
- I liked the large board, which is very different than a small computerized print out. - Dual timing system very important
- Cleanup - Cleanup was suboptimal. Sorry. - We need specific vol's for this, who have NOT been out all day working. - Again, hard to lineup this many vol's - we did this all on a volunteer lineup HALF the size of races smaller than ours. - Everyone worked their butts off and it showed. Comments on facebook said this over and over and over again. They thank all the vol's and family and friends many times over.
-Documents - Driving directions to start/finish, and to aid stations needs to be more detailed. - HAM radio guy said his guys couldnt find their way to aid stations and wishes we would post this to website.
- Packets for runners and aid stations and Vols were a good idea' - Read over key points in packets to VOLS, in order to REINFORCE. Some people dont have time to read the packets.
- All packets were made on google docs, and maps were included. When I printed these packets, the maps (images) did not print out. So all the packets had NO maps in them - Copies of maps and goodies for bags was done by Mom - wish I could have gone and done this.
- Emergencies - We were ready for emergencies, EMTs responded to the only one. That went smooth. - We had ZERO OVERHEATING CASES YAYAYA
- There were no drinking related accidents or incidents - A SAFE race is just as important as a FUN race. This is a HUGE selling point to me getting help from others in the future.
- Aid Volunteers - Aid station Vol's came through and showed up. - They were hardest Vol's to find, as it couldnt be friends or family - had to be a group of seperate people that would be OK with hanging out remotely during much of the race. - Aid stations were creative and made signs and organized their tables professionally - Aid stations were well stocked with food and munchies. Maybe some changes in what munchies and how much.
- Course - Course was tough and long on a HUMID day. This is what I wanted - Overall it was a perfect course that I hand crafted for 3-4 months, and it showed - Dad you said that even the experienced runners said “no more”, but I also heard others say they wanted more
- Ultramarathon distance *might* be possible in the future (30+ miles)
- Park - I got in trouble for:
- Thing is… all this went away on race day. - None of this or any concern has come up since.
- Sponsors - Have 501c3 ready 3+ months in advance - Have letters and printout proof of 501c3 ready to take into stores - Customize a few to big name stores - all of these are on google docs - Start doing this 3 and 2 and 1 month out - some places plan budgets way ahead - Use contacts from prior year - REI Heather Vranna, Wegmans Service desk email, Trader Joes Kip, Sheetz John - REI i convinced really hard to bring shoes and this was a hit and REI liked my advice on this - I want to send pictures of shirts with sponsor names to other sponsors
I will talk to u sometime about your recent comments. U might be misinterpreting me on a few. Yes, it all turned out very well !
Sis: I must have missed this email. Sometimes on my nook, its hard to read my entire email. I'm at the library with a real computer. Ha! I know you put so much time into the race and I think it was really good of you to formally thank mom, dad and wife. Sometimes things evolve into something way bigger than expected- you did your absolute best with anticipating- and thats what family is for. If there are any small or medium race shirts left- give me one for Christmas or something :) Love to have one