Checklist for Running and Ultra Distance Walk

There are a lot of things you need to keep in mind if you are to successfully run an ultra-distance event. It is not the sort of thing that you just do without some previous experience. I suggest that you first hang around some ultra-distance events and study them critically. Pick out the things that are well done and the things that are poorly done and store it all away. Try to emulate the successful parts and try to ensure that you do not fall into the same traps as you saw in unsuccessful events. Most of all, remember that your event is there for the competitors and not for yourself.

With all that said, here is a checklist that may be helpful. This checklist is for an event which is to be held on a circuit of fixed distance (say a 400m track).

  • One of the first things you do is try to get some sponsors who will support the event. Over to you on that one!

  • Make sure you check out the venue well in advance. Ensure it has suitable night lighting, canteen or kitchen facilities, showers, indoor facilities for massaging and such like, loud speaker facilities, tables, chairs, etc. It sounds obvious but ensure that you can actually run a 24 hour event there and that night time activities do not contravene council or local regulations or upset close neighbours.

  • Once you find a suitable facility, ensure that it is covered by some sort of Public Liability Insurance. Once this is confirmed, book it and pay your booking fee. You are now ready to start your advertising campaign.

  • Produce your advertising brochure and entry form. Make a decision on the time the event will start, what distances you are offering, what the entry fee is going to be, where entries should be posted, what sort of awards and trophies you will be offering, when entries close, etc.

  • Suitably distribute your brochures and entry forms. Some of this will be by hand to people you know are interested. Some will be by posting on billboards in sporting clubs. Some will be by postal services. You might post details in your club homepage on the Internet. The specifics are individual to you. However, this is one of the most critical steps in the process. You must get it right if you want to get a good starting field.

  • Try to arrange for St John's Ambulance or similar First Aid group to attend the event.

  • Try to get a masseur to volunteer his/her services.

  • Make up lap scorer sheets (one set for each competitor) or arrange for some sort of automated lapscoring system (there are plenty around, some cheap and some quite expensive).

  • Produce  an entry booklet close to the event. This should show the starting list, boigraphs on competitors, etc. Have participation certificates printed and available on the day.

  • Ensure you have facilities for your officials. You need hot water and tea/coffee facilities, food for them,  an area when they can have a rest during the night.

  • Ensure you have enough officials to rotate them and give them regular breaks. 24 hours is a long time to go without a break. Give someone a roving commission to be the main man. His/her job is to oversee everything on the day and make the tough decisions as appropriate. It will probably be you!

  • Arrange for a Protest Panel to be available to oversee any protests or competitor complaints.

Here are some things you should have ready for the day:

  • A measuring wheel (for intermediate distances such as 50 miles and for measuring how far everyone has gone when the gun goes to finish the event).
  • Stop watches for officials, lap scorers and such like (the more, the merrier)
  • A large digital clock for trackside
  • Competitor numbers and plenty of pins
  • Lap Sheets for lapscorers (or computer entry system)
  • A large board to show progressive results (I like to update it hourly to show how many laps each competitor has done at each hour)
  • A general notice board for miscellaneous info -starting list, history of previous events, photos, etc.
  • Clipboards, biros, etc for the lapscorers
  • Tables and chairs for the lapscorers and other officials
  • Trackside tents in case of inclement weather.
  • First Aid equipment
  • Mobile phone and contact phone numbers for doctors, ambulance, etc.
  • Towels, blankets, general bits and pieces as appropriate
  • Sponging table (big plastic rubbish bins and sponges)
  • Water Station (tables, plastic cups, water, area for competitors to put own drinks)
  • Feeding Station (tables for competitors to put their own feed and drink items)
  • Computer and printer for updating results as event progresses and for final result sheet soon after event finishes
  • Portable toilet trackside for competitors

And finally after the event has completed...

  • Collect all lapsheets as they are completed and have someone check them for accuracy. Make sure that at the completion of the event, you have all lap sheets from all competitors (only if you are using this sort of manual system).
  • Have your Presentation ceremony as soon as possible after the event. Make sure you keep to your advertised ceremony time. Make it brief and exciting and have the full results available for distribution at this time.
That's all there is to it. Now who said it was a big job!