- Distance Options: 3
- Elevation Gain in 100 Miler: 22,300 vertical gain
- Participation by Women: 44%
About the Scout Mountain Ultras
Scout Mountain Ultras is an environmental event with a running problem. When race directors Luke & Tanae took over the event in 2011 they were determined to use the event as a way to elevate the environmental literacy of the trail running community. Events are where the trail running community gathers and celebrates months and years of hard work through a shared experience, providing a great opportunity to learn and to share with each other. In addition to various environmental initiatives to limit the impact of the event, educate runners, and incentivize taking action, several years ago they recognized a need to do more to reduce barriers for participants and have put a lot of effort into equity programs as well.
The Nuts & Bolts: RunSignup for Logistics
The most important factor in choosing a registration platform is often pretty straightforward: it needs to make the logistics of race management more efficient.
Race & Participant Management
A main motivator for Scout Mountain Ultras to move to RunSignup was that the platform offered a depth and breadth of tools and resources that exceeded those of their previous platform.In particular, RunSignup’s tools for participant management, event transfers, refunds, and pricing options made it easier to manage the event. To put the power of participant management in runners hands, they allowed for participants to change their own distance until a few days before the race.
A less common option that Scout Mountain Ultras took advantage of: allowing participants to self-refund a portion of their registration cost, using a staggered table with a declining percentage of the fee as the event neared. For events like ultras with long training cycles and high injury rates, an option like this encourages participants to pull the trigger and commit to the event while acknowledging the possibility that some people won’t be able to participate by race day. At the same time, it ensures that the race doesn’t refund money that’s already spent at that point in the schedule, reduces customer service, and creates goodwill with participants.
Scout Mountain used the integrated volunteer platform to get their volunteer needs organized and track the status of volunteers – often one of the most time intensive parts of organizing the event. While it initially took work to get all the different tasks and positions setup, they know that it’ll make future setups a breeze. Additionally, they were able to use the integrated email platform to easily communicate with volunteers.
Requiring Multiple Waivers
Scout Mountain Ultras took advantage of the option to include multiple waivers in registration, along with collecting emergency contact information from every registrant. The Scout Mountain team knows that ultra running has risks, and takes the safety of their runners very seriously. For that reason, they include both a waiver with language specific to their event and a generic waiver with to help educate runners and provide some protection for the business.
Gender Inclusivity & Advocacy
Environmental advocacy and gender equity are a part of the Scout Mountain Ultras’ DNA and the race team is using both technological and community-focused initiatives to promote their goals.
Race director Tanae leads up the effort to reduce barriers to entry for women, non-binary, and femme participants in trail running. To help understand what may be helpful, they first surveyed past and present participants. From that, a few of their 2023 initiatives included:
- Scholarship Program for women: The race offered a scholarship program for women participants, supported in part by a “women supporting women” program that let registered women decide to either take a small refund on their registration cost or donate the amount to a scholarship fund to remove the cost barrier for more women participants.
- Resources: The race set a Discord channel for women who were participating to facilitate race logistics like finding pacers and crew as well as swap information on training, nutrition, and more.
- Race Day Support: The race partnered with a local medical clinic to offer lactation stations at aid stations if needed, added menstruation products to porta potties and aid stations, and offered gender specific and equal prizes, and ensured space at the start line for women on the front row.
The race has a goal of getting to 50% of the field to be female, non-binary, or femme; in 2023, they got to 44%. In addition to their current policies, future initiatives include a clear pregnancy deferral process and solutions for race day childcare.
Scout Mountain Ultras updated the default RunSignup language of “Charity Partner” to “Advocacy Partner to more accurately align with their relationship to the organizations they raise money for. All registrants were provided the option to learn more about the advocacy partners during registration and donate to the one that resonated most with them. To keep things simple for the race team, they enabled direct payments to their advocacy partners.
The “giveaway” shirt option for the Scout Mountain Ultras supported both of the key initiatives of the race. Rather than creating waste by giving out shirts runners don’t want, the race defaults to “no shirt” but provides an opportunity to purchase a 100% recycled shirt from local business partners. Additionally, all shirt purchases are available in women’s fit.
The Scout Mountain Ultras is a remote backcountry ultramarathon, and accuracy is critical when it comes to knowing who has checked in and who is out on course. They were able to get the RaceDay CheckIn App on multiple volunteer’s devices to streamline the check-in process.
Scout Mountain Ultras took full advantage of RunSignup’s suite of technology to manage participants and volunteers, promote their key advocacy initiatives, and streamline race day.