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This is the first installment of iFAQ, Infrequently Asked Questions, in which I ask a series of questions to different people in the running community. To kick things off I emailed several local race directors to pick their brains about the upcoming race season. Only two of the six responded; Go Beyond Racing and Daybreak Racing.  This is probably more of a reflection of my newbie status than anything else, but I hope you enjoy it!

What about the first race of the year do you most look forward to?

 

Renee & Todd @ Go Beyond:

We get so eager for the first race of the year. We spend the off-season doing a lot of office-type work; getting permits and insurance, meetings with sponsors, purchasing prizes and awards, and the behind-the-scenes things like that. This kind of work is important and necessary, but what we really love is getting people out on the trails and across the finish line. We enjoy the downtime each year but are so very ready to get back to the actual races and we get a bit twitchy waiting for May. The community and camaraderie at the races are so much fun and we really get our energy and satisfaction from that.

 

 

Jeremy @ Daybreak Racing

The first race of the year for Daybreak Racing is Tillamook Burn and one of the things I look forward to the most is seeing all the new spring growth out in the Tillamook Forest. All the new foliage, warmer weather, and deliciously tacky trail conditions are one of my favorite things in the world, especially when I get to share them with race participants coming from all over the country and Canada.

 

 

What’s your favorite AS snack?

 

Renee & Todd @ Go Beyond:

As you can imagine, we end up with extra aid station food after some races. We donate what we can to the Neighborhood House, but the opened stuff ends up in our house. Renee’s been known to take a spoonful of peanut butter and smash M&Ms into it and eat it. If she’s running a race, she goes for the salty/savory items and her favorite is Fritos corn chips. Oh, and watermelon is magical. Todd really likes PB&Js when he is running. As an RD, he loves the pickles because of the stories. He often hears from someone about how much pickles saved their race – even from people who had never had pickles while running and end up drinking the pickle juice straight from the jar.

 

 

Jeremy @ Daybreak Racing

I tend to blow through a lot of aid stations and like to be pretty self-reliant. When I do stop at aid stations, I’ll definitely gravitate to the salty/savory stuff like potato chips or boiled potatoes. I’ll usually grab some soda too.

 

 

What was the last race you ran?

 

Renee & Todd @ Go Beyond:

Mac Forest 50K for Renee and Run Ridge Run in British Columbia for Todd.

 

Jeremy @ Daybreak Racking

The last race I ran was Miwok 100K. I had to drop at mile 34 due to a funky knee issue, but it was still fun and really scenic.

 

 

What has changed the most since the first race you directed?

 

Renee & Todd @ Go Beyond:

The number of porta potties we have to get! And the amount of time we now spend on merchandise and apparel. You’d be surprised.

 

 

Jeremy @ Daybreak Racing

For me personally, the thing that’s changed the most since the first race I directed is my confidence level and (of) anxiety about wanting everything to go as well as possible. There were so many unknowns that first year and it sold out really well, so it was all a little overwhelming. Everything was new and more or less an experiment. Fortunately, everything went well, and the race was super well supported. These days, I’ve got my race prep really dialed in, have all my own gear and equipment and have a lot of volunteer support from the trail running community. In terms of the sport of trail running itself, the thing that’s changed the most is really just the sheer number of new races that are now available. I think it’s cool that there are lots of options out there now, even compared to 5-10 years ago. For Daybreak, we’ve certainly contributed to that trend, while ensuring our new race options are of the highest quality and that provide a meaningful and fulfilling trail running experience.

 

 

What are you doing to increase diversity and inclusivity amongst participants?

 

Renee & Todd @ Go Beyond:

We believe our races are open and welcoming to anyone and everyone who wants to run them. There’s been buzz lately on this subject, especially around including and supporting women. Some of the things that have been highlighted aren’t issues at our events; we’ve always had the same awards and prizes for women as men, we provide tampons at our aid stations, our race shirts are gender-specific so no ill-fitting shirts for ladies unless they want them, for example. We have events that have more women than men; this Spring’s Portland Trail Series has 52% women.

 

We look at inclusivity more broadly too, creating events that target those new to trail running or even those wanting to get into the sport but are a bit nervous about it. We had a set of races called the Go Race Series, that were a great transition from road to trail. There we saw many people running their first paved trail races, gaining their confidence, and then moving onto our and others’ trail races. Our Smith Rock Half Marathon & 10K had handcycle and wheelchair divisions as well as allowing strollers so families could race with their young kids. All Go Beyond Racing races have beneficiaries who we donate money to and those include youth running programs to help offset the cost for kids to participate in running. We try to create different types of races too, that will appeal to a varied type of runners. We have the really hard stuff (Volcanic 50K and Elk-Kings Mountain Marathon), the entry-level races (Stumptown Trail Runs Half Marathon and Mt. Hood 25K), long stuff (Mountain Lakes 100 and the new Lastest Not Fastest), and the shorter distances (Gnar Gnar and Portland Trail Series).

 

 

Jeremy @ Daybreak Racing

We’ve done quite a few things in an effort to increase diversity and inclusivity among participants. We’ve worked hard to maximize our efficiency and keep our costs down so our fees are affordable. Providing a wider range of race distances has also brought in a lot of people from various backgrounds that we haven’t seen represented as much in the longer distances. We provide women’s specific awards equal to men’s, women’s specific swag and we ensure all our event’s aid stations are stocked with tampons if women need them. We always request to have at least one of our medics be female too. We coordinate a lot with local clubs and running groups, including Wy’east Sisterhood, who’ve been amazing supporters of our races, hosting all-women led aid stations and group runs the past couple years.

 

 

What new trend are you anticipating this year?

 

Renee & Todd @ Go Beyond:

Almost a quarter of the runners in our Spring Portland Trail Series are running their first trail race ever. It didn’t use to be like that, but more and more people are trying out trail running, and we see that trend continuing. The last-person-standing format race is one that we see really taking off. No one had really heard of that style of racing before last year and now they are popping up all over. It is a new and interesting way for people to push themselves and really test how far they can go. With this kind of race, you are not limited by a distance, but instead by how far you can run.

 

 

Jeremy @ Daybreak Racing

I’m not really a trend-focused person, but I do like to gather lots of feedback and respond quickly to what our race participants want to see. This year we’ve been adding more options to our aid stations and encouraging each aid station to have a unique theme and non-traditional foods. At Tillamook Burn this year, one aid station went through 10 lbs of freshly fried french fries.