Yeates, James To: Nick Yeates RE: 2013 Lessons Learned from MD HEAT Race
From: Nick Yeates Sent: Monday, August 05, 2013 5:23 PM To: Yeates, James Cc: Susan Yeates; Barbara Yeates; Mom Yeates; James Butler; Bob Bevill Ultra Running Subject: Re: 2013 Lessons Learned from MD HEAT Race
Looks good. I like the breakdown. Here is mine. Comments are inline.
PRE-RACE 1. Things that worked a. 4 Leaders who were accountable for trail marking their section b. giving each of them some additional help c. Spending time to get and source volunteers d. Keeping track of volunteers on public webpage http://mdheatrace.com/volunteers . Some people came to me and said they wanted to do X. I didn't even have to seek them out. e. People like the $55 price. I had it at $65 and sales were slow. 1. Was it slow because of pricing? Hard to say 2. Sales sped up in last 2 weeks. Skyrocketed in last week = 20-30 sales. 3. Hard to fit bus pricing and park entry, etc into lower price, but we did it. 2. Things that could be better next time h. Get stuff done way way before the event i. Set next yrs date now; j. Reserve shelters now; We didn’t need 2 shelters let alone 3? The one we had could comfortably hold another 50 or so runners. k. Shirt art and ordering should start 3-5 months early 1. Can ask for particular color of shirt, get them to stock it a month early 2. Art can be done a month out 3. post shirt samples to website, so more people buy them 4. Give estimated #'s on shirts in the last few weeks l. Do matching shorts instead of shirts next yr; will be a hit. Good idea ! Alternate each year. m. Medals for everyone or no one I agree, medals were not necessary. Keep it fun
PRE-RACE: Course Set-up 1. Things that worked a. Everything. b. I trained for two days, physically hammered in sample signs c. Helped them memorize course d. Lots of communication 2. Things that could be better next time c. Dont flag until 7 days out (park didn't like that we flagged 10 and 14 days out) d. Sign 7-5 days out e. Assure that leaders can spend multiple days during prior week to sign f. Nick spot checks more of the course on Wed & Thur
RACE DAY: SET-UP 1. Things that worked a. Pre load u-haul night prior b. Multiple AM and PM people to load and unload c. 6am people who showed up at yeates house - Nice! 2. Things that could be better next time d. More time to setup. We showed at 6:30; Racers showed at ~7:15 e. Needed like 1.5- 2 hrs to really get going fully. f. Would have liked to split aid station stuff into piles myself (did last yr, didn't have time this yr). You shouldn’t have to do it. Make a list for leads & myself as to what goes at each aid station. Box separately before packing ?
RACE DAY: START OF RACE 1. Things that worked a. Location of start b. Parsing the crowd with the big u-turn c. 9am start time was nice (half runners like it, half don't) If a hot day, you may want to start 30 min earlier ? d. No special apparatus or clocks to start it…. kinda feels down-to-earth, instead of some large corporate race e. Nick leading the pack for first mile is both fun and useful f. Nick hitting aid 2 and 1 within the first 40 mins of the race, by foot, was useful and inspiring 1. I like to thanks the aid people by coming and saying hi 2. Things that could be better next time b. Electric megaphone. No one can hear me. c. Banner with sponsors on it. Can be expensive (+$500?) & is one more thing that has to be set up early with poles & guide ropes. d. Less announcements: Sponsors, Markings, Bibs, Safety (911, Hams, drink h2o) - no more
RACE DAY: KITCHEN AREA 1. Things that worked a. variety of food b. yummy food, well prepared, well placed c. Food Amt is a tough balance. Overall though it worked good. Nice to not have tons of food to do something with. See below. d. Good choices on food. Veggie options were well commended. Outspoken veggie runners gave hurrahs! 2. Things that could go better next time e. Have more time for NICK to unpack and put food in proper places You mean aid station food right, not cooking area food? f. Someone else needs to be more intimately knowledgeable of what goes where and why g. 10%-15% more food would have been nice. End runners did say multiple times that they wished they had run faster when they saw pics of veggie burgers and pizza and pasta. They were sad they missed out, and they publicly said it on facebook. The rain snuffed out all the charcoal briquettes. Need sternos to keep things warm. It’s difficult to keep a kitchen bbq open with warm food for 5 hours Nick & still be sanitary ! Another thing why we ran out of food. I think the first 150 runners took extra portions of the food too. A lot of them were loading up big time.
RACE DAY: AID STATIONS 1. Things that worked a. Knowledgable aid leads, assigned a team of people to lead b. Begining with water helped c. Aid 3 beginning with 2-4 water coolers ALREADY FULL, was key d. Themes was good; took me a ALOT of convincing to do; the theme was my idea, but once I convinced them, 2 and 3 ran with it. e. Communication this yr was better f. Bringing food to next aid station I might disagree with this or at least partially. What about bring aid1 to finish line & then aid2 goes to aid3 ? Or vice versa. By bringing some back to the finish line while there are still people around, we finished off a lot of the stuff. It was readily consumed at the finish line as a number of runners told me they wanted a quick energy boost before consuming a lunch. 2. Things that could be better next time e. divide aid station stuff well before; Bread didn't get to some, nor did chips Our mistake. We thought chips were for lunch & bbq. You were out leading the run & were unavailable for about 45 minutes when the question came up. f. chips were my own fault; in the rush, i forgot that they would need the chips; i placed them in the wrong place g. Salt is important at aid stations and we missed this via the chips and no salt tabs or potatoes with salt-dip
RACE DAY: HAMS 1. Things that worked a. Much better this yr, very organized b. Communicated months before the event with me; I hit them up on phone c. Free service - amazing d. Nice to have them in cars e. nice to have 4 walkie talkies to reach RD and Asst RD's 2. Things that could be better next time b. Too many of them c. They want to be OVERLY safe at times; 2 at each aid stop, 2 at start, 2 on-course, and 2 in cars. 12 total is Max needed 1. Don't need them at ruins, only need them at 4-way stop d. wanted too many shirts - over $400 in shirts - limit it from the start Don’t limit the # of people they want to send. Just tell them well in advance the limit of t-shirts (6?) they will get & tell them why. I think they will understand.
RACE DAY: EMT’s & BUS DRIVERS 1. Things that worked a. Bus was seamless; i didn't have to do much b. Nice lady, nice to work with c. No complaints d. Bus nazi, with cell phone access, was key 1. If I had not called him and he answered immediately, would have been tough. Didn’t know you had called him to send busses in. Next time coordinate with me & we can make a joint decision depending on the progress of registration set-up & table re-arrangement we have done. 2. Also the bus driver herself made her cell available I should have asked for it too. Would have helped to coordinate some other things. 2. Things that could be better next time d. Check ready or already paid e. Provide them with plans and hours as soon as they arrive (Assign this respons to the bus nazi)
RACE DAY: CLEANUP & PACKING 1. Things that worked a. I dont have as much insight here b. Having lots of people sticking around was nice c. having 2-3 PM cleaners was nice…. not sure if they all showed, or if other vol's just stuck around d. Was nice for me, Nick, to unwind at end with a short run with James; It was a lot mentally and physically, so was good for me to get away from the craziness I thought we were in good shape to get unloaded & back to our hotel room by 4:30 or 5 pm. Without Bob helping me unload at your house, NOTHING would have been done. Roland, Sue, & Barbara helped but most of the stuff was too heavy for them. We couldn’t unhitch the trailer to go elsewhere either cause it was too heavy to lift. It was unfair to leave it all to just Bob & me. I too would have liked to unwind, rest, & take a shower. But it was delayed by more than 3 hours till you got back to give a hand with the kids, etc. We didn’t get to the hotel room till 8pm 2. Things that could be better next time e. Someone besides Nick who is more intimately aware of what things are, where they go and why I’m learning more each year ! I won’t make mistake with chips again !!! f. Only thing that was misplaced was a half full root beer keg. I got it next day and chilled it. g. Overall you all did great on cleanup; thanks
OVERALL 1. Things that worked well a. People stayed longer and more consolidated this time; Part because of rain, part because of bus, and part because more people b. Lots of people that know each other helps too; keep grassroots community feeling c. No prizes to top winners keeps less “race” feel, and more of a challenge Agree ! d. Buses worked amazingly well. Though expensive, they helped on multiple aspects e. Getting people to signup and come was hard this yr; It frustrated me; Lots of other races on same day (like 5 in this area); then all a sudden we raced past last yrs total amt of runners in the last week f. Its a pain to keep the race open until last minute, but it brought in thousands more in proceeds g. Seperate Vol shirts are a must; The seperate color is more expensive and complex, but it was a nice touch. Everyone wanted the red shirts. 2. Things that could be better next time d. Keeping the Patapsco location, despite us moving; you can't replicate the trails in that park anywhere else except maybe in Appalachia. True but it will introduce all kinds of new logistic issues we can’t anticipate right now ! (ie you won’t be able to go personally check the trail signing on a moment’s notice) e. Will likely rent a storage unit next yr to be race central storage; f. Storage needs to have a combo entry, so I can give it to many people. You can usually get a unit & put your own combo lock on it. Give out the combination # to those that need it. g. Assure that the storage can be driven up to and that we can spread stuff out on the pavement in the day(s) prior in order to plan stuff out. h. Sponsors don't actually make you money; they are mostly A) professional and exciting to have on t-shirts B) gives you free stuff that you could have afforded, but were just hard to get (ice, cooking pans, goodie bag materials) i. Timing of the morning activities on race-day are not ideal yet; need to find a balance of getting PLENTY of time to setup, Like I said: We only needed 15 more minutes & prioritized our vols differently & it would have been PERFECT! getting runners there not too early, yet also not starting them too late (if you start late, its hotter out for longer during their run) 1. Dad said 15 mins more would have been ideal; I needed 30 mins; 45 more would have been ideal 2. Could have split up aid station stuff better 3. Could have prepped registration better
YES it turned out great & was a great event!
On Aug 5, 2013, at 1:19 PM, “Yeates, James” wrote:
While it’s fresh in our minds, I’ll start the first round on this. If anyone else can think of others, just add to the list & forward to Nick & myself.
PRE-RACE 1. Things that worked a. Better organization this time around b. More than twice the number of volunteers helped tremendously. c. Packing the goodie bags a few days before the event (Wednesday) rather than the night before d. Many volunteers that helped in the packing of goodie bags & trailer. e. Loading the heavy stuff onto the trailer the night before gave us much needed time for the next day’s setup f. Many vols that were assigned segments of the course to ensure markers were out, well in advance of event g. Figure we fed about 250 people (runners, vols, families, Hams, EMT, etc). 2. Things that could be better next time h. Shopping for food the day before the event about killed mom. Could have used more volunteer help i. Many non-perishable purchases could have been done a week or more before event rather than the same time as the food purchases. j. Copying of maps, packets, etc could have been done further in advance. k. Bag stuffing items that came late & had to be done at registration was an added headache for the vols l. Could have used 1 or 2 extra vols to load trailer
PRE-RACE: Course Set-up 1. Things that worked a. Water crossing in mid-course b. The wall at the end of the course 2. Things that could be better next time c.
RACE DAY: SET-UP 1. Things that worked a. Unloading & set-up went very good this time around b. Priorities at Park: i. Re-arrange tables, setup registration, then release busses from parking area ii. Unload trailer: move fridge & food to kitchen area, get fridge plugged in iii. Set out aid station items in 3 piles c. Having “bus nazi” to herd runners onto the busses 2. Things that could be better next time d. Could have used about 15 more minutes before busses arrived to re-arrange tables – caused lots of problems later on with runner’s personal belonging being lost for a period of time. e. Suggest that “bus nazi” call in to pavilion before releasing first busses to the Park ? f. Inform registration volunteers to ask each runner that if a runner is picking up someone else’s packet to “note it” & inform the timer when things calm down g. It later caused problems with bib numbers changing & affecting timer’s program ?
RACE DAY: START OF RACE 1. Things that worked a. In the end, no problems with runner’s belongings. Would have worked well if we had the tables pre-arranged 2. Things that could be better next time b. Get a bull horn that broadcasts better ? c. Less time runners have to stand around. Instead of 7 am, maybe 8 am ? Or having “bus nazi” call in for release to park d. Pre-race announcements could be a bit shorter ? As runners were standing at the starting line in the drizzle ready to go for about 8 to 10 minutes. e. Buy a good stapler & extra staples for next time. It was a good thing I brought mine as the timer didn’t have one.
RACE DAY: KITCHEN AREA 1. Things that worked a. Warming of BBQ pork went much easier & quicker this year b. Amount of BBQ pork, hot dogs, & hamburgers was perfect. Even though we ran out at the very end, not a big deal & no complaints from remaining runners. c. If we didn’t have the pizza & pasta then we would have had problems feeding everyone. d. Large bottles of soda & kegs works much better than cans. Less of it “walks off” after the event. 2. Things that could go better next time e. Had some extra buns this time around f. As event grows, we may want to tape off the kitchen area – when runners came past the finish line they often walked thru the cooking area, stood around, etc. – need to consider sanitation, cooks having to dodge around runners, etc g. Although 2 unassigned vols stepped in to assist with cooking, without them it would have been a stretch. Having a total 4 cooks was a good number without getting in the way of each other. h. Too much canned beer got purchased after we ran out
RACE DAY: AID STATIONS 1. Things that worked a. Hawaiian theme was a great touch b. 2 drivers was a perfect number. Even though we didn’t move a lot of water out, on a hotter day it would have been much different c. Allowing vols to prepare their own PBJ’s d. Bringing back trail snacks , etc as soon as they shut down was a great touch since we added them to the dessert table at the finish line. Many runners commented on this & finished most of the stuff off. 2. Things that could be better next time e. Bread didn’t get divided up evenly f. Tell vols to cut the bananas in half as they need them. Otherwise, once they cut them & are not used, we have to toss them out. g. Purchase small Dixie cups for aid stations. Do not give them large red SOLO cups which were meant for the Pavilion area only. h. Encourage all the aid stations to come up with some light-hearted theme, similar to the Tiki Bar ! i. Probably had too much gatorade leftover. Thankfully it is in cans & will probably be re-used.
RACE DAY: HAMS 1. Things that worked a. The Hammers did a first class job 2. Things that could be better next time b. Could have gotten by with only 8 or 10 Hammers instead of the 15 that they sent c. Put a limit on them & the number of t-shirts they will get d. I will tell them next time to get word out to aid stations 2 & 3 to count runners & let the Base Station know when they get to 50, 100, 150, etc. – This helps to know for multiple groups from cooking, to EMT, bus drivers, timers, etc
RACE DAY: EMT’s & BUS DRIVERS 1. Things that worked a. Extending personal lunch invitation to them when they arrived developed good repoire & cooperation. b. No safety problems!!! c. By bussing, it actually kept more of the runners around after the race & created more socializing & a sense of friendship / fun. 2. Things that could be better next time d. Despite coordination, 2nd bus driver didn’t leave at 9 am as originally contracted e. Better payment coordination ? Have the check ready in advance ?
RACE DAY: CLEANUP & PACKING 1. Things that worked a. Plenty of trash bags were set out around the tables b. Vols did great job of checking & consolidating when bags got full c. Packing up went great d. Still had adequate # of vols around to help 2. Things that could be better next time e. Get a vol with pickup truck to haul trash bags away at the very end of the event f. Could have used two addl vols to unload back at the house. Could have used Nick’s guidance to where things went.
OVERALL 1. Things that worked well a. The leads (Nick, Sue, Barbara, & Jim) had much more time to delegate/supervise vols & anticipate problems this year. Less time actually doing the grunt work & details this time. Better organization, more vols helped tremendously. b. Having separately colored T-shirts (red) from the runners (gray) helped everyone. People were able to quickly ask a vol a question or concern & get an answer. It looked professional to the participants too. c. Glad we had a vendor show up again to display running gear 2. Things that could be better next time
You seem to be spot on when it comes to the “time” factor. Once each “station” under the pavilion found their spot, they got busy setting up. There was a food station, registration station (that's fun to say), a timer spot, the hams had their section. There was room for drop bags and as I came up to the start line, I got the feel of a real trail run.
Nice job Nick. This is/was a huge undertaking. I of course wasn't here last year, but based upon conversations with those that were, a lot of improvement took place.
I am looking forward to next year. I was thinking about maybe cutting the plate stakes in 1/2. Remember when we initially marked the the first two sections? You made a comment about how runners generally look down at the trail, I know this is true from my own experience. I purposely placed some plates on some dead wood close to the ground. I found these to be very visible and of course a stake of 1/2 the size is not only visible, it is easy to carry and easier to put into the ground. What do you think?
My other suggestion would be ribbon placement at major turns. Place several ribbons on the side of the trail that corresponds to the direction of the turn. Several ribbons (5/6) on the left side of the trail indicates that a left hand turn is pending. Finally, “confirmation ribbons” indicating that the runner did indeed negotiate the correct turn. These ribbons coupled with an orange plate would help keep runners flowing through trail with ease. You could even mention ribbon markings at the pre-race briefing.
Course marking were good. There were ribbons before and after major turns and it was tough to get off course. Only two people got off the trail, that is great!
Thanks for making it a great race.