"When you are green you grow" is a famous quote by Ray Kroc the founder of McDonald's. When you do something new there is going to be issues and learning opportunities. If you learn from the mistakes and grow from it then you can look at the experience as a valuable lesson. On Sunday we had over 100 race participants join us in Langley at Campbell Valley Park. I arrived at the park at 6 AM to mark the course and set up the water station. The park would not allow us to use chalk so arrows were placed marking the course and a flour arrows to show which direction to go and which way not to go. Marking the grown with chalk or flour is a common way in trail races to mark a course. As time started to tick closer to 7 AM we had runners begin to arrive super early looking for the start line. I arrived at the start line around 7:20 AM to begin the setup of the zombie station so the 35 zombies that had registered as volunteers could apply there make up. The area where the park had given us to park our cars and use as our finish area was a bit away from the trail they had planned for us to run on and also tricky to navigate to and from it. I noted this as I posted arrows for the runners to mark the route back to the finish line. I had a quick discussion with the parks people who said they would direct people to the back parking lot. This wasn't expected but it did help everyone find us easier. When I returned back to the start it was 7:40 and I noticed at this time only 6 of our 35 zombies had arrived. I started to message those who were not there to get an ETA for when they would arrive. I also had 2 volunteers not show who were going to Course Marshal and be the event photographer. As time kept ticking to the start of the race I directed the mass of people there to the start line where we went over a brief of the rules and the event. Everything I had said had already been emailed out to the participants but for those who didn't read it I did reiterate the same things. Off went the runners and the run had begun at 8:15 AM! We had about 10 stranglers who showed up late or had to use the washroom who could not find the start line. I wrangled them up and went through the event brief quickly with them. I made my way back to the finish area hoping the remaining zombies had shown up. 2 more had arrived and were finishing up their make-up. I had a quick talk with the zombies to ensure they knew the rules and what they should be doing. Walked them to the trail and sent them backwards through the course towards the runners. The idea was to have the runners not see zombies until they were deeper in the race so that they would not know when to expect them. I looked at my phone and none of the other zombies who I had texted to see where they were had responded back so I hoped that they were just late. I started to layout the shirts and about 20 mins after the race had started the first runner had already finished! I went out to the road and noticed runners were running up the wrong way. I tried to get a volunteer to go down and flag people the right way and then went back to handing out shirts. This become a bit task because when I asked people for their receipts they did not bring it or they had the wrong one from groupon. I made a choice to do an honor system of handing out shirts at this point. Asking every person if they had registered prior to May 11th which everyone said they had. If this event happens again we will do a race kit pick up to avoid this issue again. The race wrapped up around 10:30 AM as the last runner arrived at the finish. We packed up and made our way to the Pub to pick up the drink tickets and make sure everything was good with the pub. Several dozen people showed up for the beer after the race at noon. We shared a pint and debriefed on the good and bad of the race and how we could improve it for the following year. I have mixed emotions of this race and not sure if we will run it again. Here is the feedback I have received from people at the end of the race. My thoughts on their feedback is in italics. The event was advertised as a 10k but was not 10k on race day When I originally picked Campbell Valley for the fun run I liked the route because it was a circular, well-marked trail which would require minimal flaggers as the Shaggy Main trail is well marked by the park already. Shortly before the race the park staff shared their concerns with my route that the horses that use the trail might be spooked by zombies. They provided us with a 7-8k route which zigzagged through various courses and eventually ended up going through a field. I posted the adjusted route on the site and sent out an email to all racers to let them know of the change. Note that nowhere on our site or any site that we advertised the race as a distance race. It has always been marked as a fun run. The point of this race was to experience being scared by zombies and have a good time. This race was not an athletic style race which we refer to on our site as a race. Runners were not given bibs As this is a non-timed fun run we did not feel that bibs were required. The course was not well marked or not marked at all I personally marked the course with the Running Room arrows and flour. We use flour because it is environmentally friendly. The markers provided by the Running Room were small but bright. For future races that require arrows we will ensure they are larger and more visible. We did have 4 course marshals but I think we could have used 2 more. We originally had planned for 6 but only 4 showed up. I didn't receive a shirt at the finish line If you received a shirt or not at the end everyone will get a shirt! Our shirt screening company gave us a cut of May 11 for the first run of shirts. This date was marked on our site and explained that those who registered after May 11 would get a shirt after the event. As the event was only giving out a shirt as part of the race kit it was felt that giving it out at the race would be easier for race participants and us. For future if we are handing out anything at a race other than medals it will be done before the at a race kit pick up. The water station did not have cups An email with the following was sent out to participants prior to the race. Wet Coast Events are cup free. This prevents environmental issues at the park. We will have 2 water jugs on the route. Please bring a refillable bottle with you if you feel you will need it for this race. This is not to save money cups only cost $4 for 100+ sleeve. I had to wait until noon to get my beer As part of our race we provided our participants with a beer after the race. As the race was planned to be finished by 10:30 we thought it would be a good plan to have the after party at a pub which is down the street at noon. Tickets were given out at the pub to all participants that showed up. I did not think people would want to drink beer after running at 9:30 or earlier in the morning. I think if we have a morning run in future we will have pancakes instead of beer!
- 2015 Zombie Fun Run Pre Race Details
- 2015 Tynehead 5/8/12 Hour Races