You and your crazy ideas!
The 2019 Participant Guide is now available - worldsendultra.com/participant-guide/
There are two main reasons that we decided to do a participates guide for Worlds End.
The first reason, and probably the most important reason we do the guide, is to have all the race information available to everyone on race day. What a lot of people don’t realize is once you get up into the Worlds End area, you will have extremely limited internet and cell service and that race information becomes very hard to access online. One of the frustrating things that was happening due to the lack of information was that our volunteers were not well equipped to handle questions that were asked of them, by runners and crews alike. I’m sure we’ve all been there, at an aid station asking for the distance to the next aid station, if it’s crew accessible, etc., and getting told the wrong information. It’s frustrating for the runner for sure, and also frustrating for the volunteer who doesn’t have access to the info to help. And just as frustrating, is not being able to help crews or pacers when they are looking for answers to help their runner.
To combat this problem on race weekend, co-director Jeff Calvert decided to pull the most important information into a word document and printed out several hard copies for our volunteers to use. We handed them out to our volunteers and had moderate success. Turns out, like emails, or blogs, or maybe even this post, people don’t just want to read words unless it’s in the form of a good novel. This raised the next question, how do we get the information in the hands of those who need it AND get them to actually use it?
The second reason we do the guide book turned out to be the answer for the first reason. Jeff and I, and probably most of you, really think Worlds End is very unique and special. A combination of rugged terrain, beautiful waterfalls, vistas, and rock formations, it really showcases some of the best of what PA trails have to offer. We also think our runners are pretty dang special too! The question that was looming over us was, what could we do that would really show off the area, the runners, and the race?
The aftermath of our first rough draft...it wasn't pretty.
This is when the two questions seemed to be able to answer each other - a fancy guide book dohickymagig! So after spending many hours learning how to work in Adobe InDesign, our first rough copy of the guide book was born. Let me tell you, it was rough. I’m no graphic designer, so there was a big learning curve. I’d design and Jeff would critique, then repeat, but soon we had a workable guide! So off to the presses it went and after 2 months, several large, heavy boxes showed up at my doorstep. Just in time too, it was race weekend!
Turns out, even with naysayers, the book was a pretty big hit the first year. The volunteers were much better prepared to respond to the runners and crews alike. We had much better and accurate communication out in the field which resulted in much less frustration on both sides of the course. We showed the staff at the park office, who asked if they could have a stack to set out on the front counter of the welcome center. The guide was very helpful in allowing them to interact with the general public about the race, give spectators directions to different parts of the course, and answer race specific questions. With the addition of directions to the aid stations and course maps, crews had a much easier time finding their way around and could easily advise their runners with good information. Our communication staff, the food crew, and even logistics had information that was fun to read. Well, maybe not as fun as a Dilbert comic book, but what is?
So this is how the guide book was born and why we do it. It’s a fun way to showcase the race, the trail, and the runners each year AND help runners, crews, pacers, volunteers, park staff, spectators, and the general public to be accurately informed throughout the race weekend. Plus, the guide doubles as a nice keepsake for many, maybe even a collectors item. Ok, a collectors item might be pushing it.
So I hope you enjoy this year’s special edition dedicated to recognizing the success and outstanding achievements of all the Worlds End ladies. Here’s to another fun and memorable year at Worlds End!