A new USAT Sanctioned Winter Triathlon – The Nordic Valley Triathlon (run, bike and xc ski) will be offered in Northern Utah. This race will be held at the New Nordic Valley Ski Resort (Formerly Wolf Mountain) 20 min from Ogden on Feb. 28, 2015. Run 3.1 Miles from the top of the lift down the hill on packed snow, Bike 6.2 Miles on paved road (alt if ice on roads), XC Ski 3.1 on groomed golf course. Duathlon and Run only options are available and most Wilderness Recs will rent XC Skis for cheap (Weber State, USU, UofU Etc). This sounds fun for all you snow lovers out there!
Learn more about the event
Visit Blonde Runner Health on Facebook and learn how you can win an entry.
Today (November 13th) is a significant day for me. It is the day I had my first baby and she lived 5 hours and died. It is the reason that I offered the annual Race For Grief event each year. To honor my Samantha’s birthday I would like to extend a $10 discount for the 10K and 5K for today only. Just use the code HBSAM (Happy Birthday Sam). I hope you with join us on Memorial Day to honor your loved ones. Visit RaceForGrief.com to learn more.
Coach Lora Erickson
So, what are athletes looking for when it comes to races? After doing hundreds of races over the 30 years I have competed in running, cycling, swimming and triathlons events and being a race director myself; as well as a coach I have heard the complaints of unhappy race experiences. I think it’s fair to say I know a thing or two about what athletes are looking for or expect on race day.
Athletes want a well-organized race
This might seem obvious but races need to be well thought out and planned with a website that is easy to navigate and that provides complete information; like race start time, route map, packet pick up information, registration link etc… The more details the better. I am surprised to see so many races miss including obvious information. A well-organized packet pick-up is also helpful.
Trained Volunteers & Clearly Marked Courses
We have all heard the horror stories of volunteers sending racers in the wrong direction. I have raced in events when this has happened; and yes while it’s the responsibility of the racer to know the route, many do not, and rely on volunteers directing them. The worst feeling and performance killer to have in a race is not to be sure where to go. Clearly marked signs that point the right way are helpful in addition to having trained volunteers and staff on the route. An updated race route map should be available on the race website and preferably downloadable so athletes can study and understand the course.
It’s sad to see race directors take the time to plan everything out only to have their efforts foiled by a poorly trained volunteer pointing people in the wrong direction. I understand that good volunteers are hard to come by but please be certain to put dependable volunteers or even paid staff at critical points like major turns and turn around points. Taking a little time to train the volunteers properly will undoubtedly earn you return racers year after year.
Note to Athletes: Call to Volunteers
If you are an athlete that enjoys races every year then I encourage you to volunteer to help out at least once a year. Races don’t happen without volunteers and even small races may need over thirty volunteers. I urge you to do your part to contribute to the racing community. Also, be dependable for the race director. I know the frustrations and last minute scrambles because of no-shows.
Well Stocked Aid Stations
Races that skimp on aid station refreshments will find unhappy racers. Not only are they unhappy because there is nothing left when they get there but it can also be dangerous for racers. I have see poorly planned half marathons in the heat run out of water only to yield heat stroke victims and more liability concerns. Stock the aide stations and get nutrition sponsor support if needed. It’s much better to have left overs than not enough food. Let the athletes get all they need and more and you will have return racers. Note to athletes: Be reasonable in your “helping” size. There are others after you.
Communication & Accessibility
Sending out a reminder email with details, even if outlined on website can help racers feel more confident understanding critical data like were to be on race morning, where to pick-up their number, timing chip etc… This can serve to get them excited about the event and can eliminate excessive emails with questions. A link to a FAQ section is helpful to avoid excessive calls or texts. Make it easier for athletes to attend the event and they will have a better experience and want to come again. If they have a question, they should also know how to get ahold of someone to ask it with an available email address or question form. Volunteers should also have a phone number to call in case of an emergency etc. on race day.
If you state that no-headphones are allowed then enforce it. I realize nobody wants to be the “bad-guy” and enforce rules but doing this usually gains respect and establishes rules to keep racers safe. I enjoy triathlons that enforce USAT rules much better than the free-for-all races. I also appreciate race management companies that don’t allow spectators into the transition area. This is dangerous and often spectators in the transition area get in the way of racers and I have even seen many tripping over them and running into them. Under the USAT rules outside assistance isn’t allowed (handing them water bottles, shoes etc…), so it makes sense that spectators should be just that and not aide the racers any more than cheering for them. Keeping people that shouldn’t be in transition area out also helps ensure the safety and security of racers equipment. I have heard about a very expensive bike that was stolen right out of transition and the event company had no way of tracking who took what out of transition. I think its great when races make you show your bib number and make sure it matches up with the number on your bike when you exit with it and your gear. This makes me feel more confident that my bike will be there when I get back.
Note to Athletes: Follow the rules. Don’t try to “get-away” with things. Rules keep everyone safe.
Start on Time
I realize there are some things out of the control of race directors that might warrant a change of the start time (trains keeping people from getting there, weather issues, timing equipment issues etc…) but for the most part racers are anxious to start. Often they time their nutrition and warm-up based on start times and when they are delayed this can be frustrating. So, do you best to start at the time that was indicated on the event web site. Also, make acknowledgements and instructions before the event brief. People are nervous and just want to get started.
Support a Cause
In Utah the market seems to be saturated with race events. There are so many to choose from each weekend and I find that racers are wanting more than just a race. They want an experience and want to do something more valuable that just race. Many athletes want to help someone or be part of something great. For instance, the annual Memorial Day Race For Grief event I organize each year helps raise awareness for those coping with grief and helps me honor a daughter I lost many years ago. The number of participants has grown each year, while many other events are losing participants. There are many athletes out there that want to do something for someone else and honor others with their efforts. Sometimes it’s nice to be part of an event because it’s more than just a race.
Make it a Social Party
Many athletes race to enjoy the camaraderie, music and great vibes that racing brings. It’s fun to share experiences with others and feel like you belong to a community of athletes. It’s a place to meet up with others that share the same passion. Offer things that allow people to share their experiences, like race finish metals, Instagram contests, tattoos, face paint, picture posing opportunities by a banner or fun sign etc. This is all great for marketing too.
About the Author: Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a USATF certified running coach and triathlete who loves to help people get fit and train for racing events. She also offers a variety of community classes and on-line training programs. She has a true passion for coaching and health promotion. To learn more visit www.BlondeRunner.com
Check out this great video of last years Race For Grief event. We hope you will join us in 2015 on Memorial Day (Monday May 25).
Registration is open on active.com
To learn more visit RaceForGrief.com
Registration is now open for the 2015 Race For Grief event. The race is capped at 500 and offers a 10K, 5K run & 2 mile walk events. Come join us on Memorial Day for the fifth annual event at West Bountiful Park in Northern Utah. This charity event is put on in memory of Coach Lora Erickson’s daughter Samantha. Join us. Learn more about the event
Coach Lora Erickson will be offering training programs for this event. To learn more contact her at email@example.com. Learn more about Coach Lora
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner will be offering training programs for the inaugural Lagoon Half Marathon on April 4, 2015. She will also have training programs for the 10K and 5K distances. If you’d like to join the group training programs contact her to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org. Limited spots. Visit BlondeRunner.com for more details. Coach Lora Erickson is a USATF certified running coach with over 29 years of athletic experience. She is also a nationally ranked triathlete and has a true passion for coaching. Coach Lora would love to help you achieve your true potential. Beginners welcome and encouraged to participate. Learn more about Coach Lora.
All programs will begin in in Mid-January. To be part of the half marathon program you will need to be up to running 5-6 miles without stopping and your weekly mileage will needs to be up to a minimum of 20 miles a week. If you need help getting started before January or want to learn more about pricing and details please contact Coach Lora at email@example.com.
This is a runner only program. If you wish to also participate in triathlons please get involved with the team triathlon training program. To learn more visit TBRTriathlon.com
I love to coach and especially find the team environment to help athletes achieve their best. Join Team Blonde Runner – Triathlon. This is a fully coached triathlon team in Northern Utah. Come join in the fun! A 5-week training program will begin Oct. 2014 if you want to see what group training is all about. Individual coaching also available.
~ Coach Lora Erickson
Click the link and learn how to win a free entry!
I will be offering a free Triathlon Clinic and route pre-view for those registered for the Labor Day Triathlon. The clinic will be held this Friday August 29th from 5:30 – 7 p.m. We will be riding the sprint distance route after a short demonstration on how to set up your transition area. Please bring your bike and helmets and meet at the pavilion behind the South Davis Recreation Center. Questions about the event will also be answered. This clinic is at no charge however you will need to RSVP to reserve your spot. Just message me at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you there!
Coach Lora Erickson