The Trail Running Film Festival - Back on Tour for 2024.

The Trail Running Film Festival - Back on Tour for 2024.

A few great lines from that article:

Hardrock remains one of four events in the “Rocky Mountain Grand Slam,” along with Wasatch Front 100, Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run, Bighorn 100, and Leadville 100. Those others have lost much of their notoriety.

Wonder why the other races lost their shine and why Hardrock endures? Is it just because of the ‘Kilian Factor’? Is the “rigged lottery” creating the notoriety?

Let’s face it: there are a lot of contrived race courses in this country. Out-and-backs, loops within loops, loops repeated five times in a row, our collective obsession with hitting certain distance milestones drives us into madness.

That’s one of the last big challenges for race directors in this country: How do you create a beautiful race course in an country full of land permit difficulties?

But the pool of entrants is relatively large and ever growing. Last year, 2,414 runners vied for 146 spots. 

So about 6% of people throwing their hat into the lottery ring get in – made tougher for some by the lottery format. According to Doug Mayer in my interview on Singletrack about 50% of folks wishing to run UTMB get in. (Not sure I buy that number, that seems high.) But if it’s true, it’s worlds difference in creating an event that ‘satisfies demand’.

My take is that races capture the imagination when enough “influencers” = pro athletes love your event and talk fondly of it. You as a race director have to invite and cater to them and they will carry your marketing message to the people through their own accounts and the media they attract.

How do they do it?

What both Western States and Hardrock seem to have figured out is how to get pros to the event for more than just racing it. Many pros help out at aid stations and volunteer (seemingly) at both these events. That in turn creates the feedback loop, where the pro-volunteer shares their experience and the pro-runner shares their delight in being supported by the pro-volunteer.

Win Win.