September 25, 2011

Quick Reflection w/Pics - 1st Season Of Race Course Managing

Late last year I commented to a few friends on how I was looking to explore options for race course directing and design. Amazingly enough and shortly thereafter it all started falling into place, and this year I joined the teams for the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Racing series, the 5 Peaks trail running series, and a forthcoming local Red Bull Divide and Conquer adventure race. I felt as though just being brought on board by these highly successful and established brands was a victory in and of itself.

Basically as the course director/manager I'm responsible for everything from the inception of the specific race course until its completion. Starting with assisting in course design, pre-race flagging, implementing a race day safety strategy, dispersing of volunteers, setting up aid stations, managing volunteers while runners are on course, addressing any on the fly emergencies, and then packing up and making it appear as though you were never there to begin with. It's a behind the scenes job and I truly loved every second of it.

Obviously unforeseen was that I would end up directing all but one of these six races while on crutches, or in a colossal sized walking boot. All in all though I'd consider this to be a highly successful first season from a course directing standpoint, and I learned something new at each and every turn along the way. Being thrown onto the mic as race day MC for the Whistler version of our 5 Peaks race was the most daunting and hence one of the most rewarding experiences of my summer.

Between these six races I saw over 2500 runners and adventure racers (obviously not 2500 individuals as most raced multiple times) and we had ONE person take a wrong turn for the entire season. We're still not quite sure how that person made the wrong turn, but either way, I liked our save percentage (to steal a hockey term). Having raced for several years now myself, there's nothing I hate more than getting lost while on a flagged course (and I'm exceptionally good at this) so it's at the very top of my list of things not to f-up, though 5 Peaks have certainly been leaders in this realm since their inception.

I'm really looking forward to being back on board with all races again in 2012...unless of course they're secretly looking for my replacement as I speak? 

It was a pleasure to be a very small piece in the very large puzzle towards ensuring race day success, and I'll truly miss the monthly meeting of familiar and smiling faces. Our trail running community is as strong as any I've come across and we should be exceptionally proud of this.

Of course our access to beautiful locations certainly doesn't hurt, and as an example, here's how the season finale looked at Buntzen Lake yesterday morning. Thanks to all who frequented these races this year and I look forward to seeing you again in 2012.

First wave start of Sport and Enduro courses

Ghost kids 1k race
Original unaltered shot from top of posting. All pics were taken on an iPhone 4

Flooded beach due to an upper lake dam being spilled

Flooded beach made for spectacular shots

Trimmed and flipped. Otherwise unaltered. Water reflection on top

Trimmed and turned. Reflection on left. Otherwise unaltered.

Trimmed, flipped, and brightened with a filter

Trimmed, turned, and brightened with a filter, plus an added border

And finally, never, EVER leave your car keys unattended


Unknown said...

Way to broaden your horizons G! I always say organizing is harder than good on ya! Aim


Great to see you using your expertise to help others enjoy the trails !

garobbins said...

Thanks guys (girls), it really was a ton of fun and I'll miss it througout the winter months...but that's what skiing is for right!


marfouchard said...

Great pictures!!! What a great 5 Peak Series this year, despite the challenges of snow, a great job with the courses!!!

garobbins said...

Mother Nature certainly wasnt on our side this year but all the sweeter when we pulled it all off with continual changes along the way.

Scott McMurtrey said...

last photo was the best. :)