View Full Version : What does a good trail race need?

09-23-2012, 08:32
A friend of mine suggested organizing a local trail race. Being that I am not a speed hiker or trail runner I was wondering what a good trail run needs in the way of organization. From my limited knowledge I would guess a starting point and an ending point. Some one or some group to go through and make sure everyone safely made it off the trail and post run feed spot. Could you give me your thoughts on what a good trail race needs?

09-23-2012, 09:00

Pedaling Fool
09-23-2012, 09:04
I would think you need permission from the trail organization/club in charge of the trail.

max patch
09-23-2012, 10:01
If you talking about a half dozen of your friends out for a run thats one thing; if you asking about a "real" race with with a large number of people thats something much different. If its the latter you need to talk with someone who has actually organized such a race and forget about getting info from whiteblaze. The amount of work and stuff that needs to get done will surprise you.

John B
09-23-2012, 10:04
A well-marked trail. Varying race lengths (the Iron Mt. race, Damascus, is 16, 30, or 50 miles) to allow runners of different abilities to participate. A modicum of support -- water provided every 5-10 miles. Drop bags so that runners can send forward GU, food, liquid, change of socks, shoes, etc. A trail that is doable -- in my opinion, too many tend to be technical climbs that resemble obstacle courses rather than trail runs. Bailout points that are known in advance to runners.

That's my .02

John B
09-23-2012, 10:05
Agree 100%. If you've never done it before, I'd suggest contacting your local runners club to find someone to give you solid direction.

Spirit Walker
09-23-2012, 11:03
Also make sure that people walk the trail afterwards to clean up the bottles and gu packets thrown on the ground or in the bushes by the runners.

09-23-2012, 11:13
One thing that the Hash HOuse Harriers do that I think is a great idea, is to mark the trail with paper (confetti).
That way it disintegrates quickly although some would probably say it is littering.
Maybe use a toilet paper type paper or shredded paper towels.

Depending on how long your race is, you might want some aid stations with bananas, apples, chocolate, potato chips or boiled potato pieces, and cookies and stuff like that.

Normally in an ultra race, they have them aprox every 7 miles.

Good luck. Sounds like fun.
I love running in the woods.

map man
09-23-2012, 11:30
This is a link to the calendar that ultrarunning.com maintains:


With this you can find races in your area or all over the country. You can follow links to web sites for these races. By looking at these web sites you can get a feel for what goes into organizing and running one of these. And you can find contact info for the folks running them so you can contact them with questions.

09-23-2012, 16:58
Make friends with a local race director and volunteer to be their personal assistant for the entire process of an upcoming race.