US Trail Running Conference Master Class Presents Innovative Ideas

New technologies save time for race directors and improve experience and communication for participants


Mastering Alternatives to Race Guides was the subject for the fourth webinar in the nine-webinar RD Master Class series produced by the US Trail Running Conference presented by Marathon Printing, and was live on Tuesday, April 23. The webinar series is free for all race directors and event organizers to access, and is held in partnership with the American Trail Running Association.

This webinar’s panelists featured three race directors or industry professionals that have all explored using different alternatives to traditional race guides. Shalini Bhajjan, Terrain Trail RunnersBen Mazur, Eastern States 100, and Colleen Rue, Race Terry Chiplin, founder of the US Trail Running Conference, was the moderator for the session.

Shalini Bhajjan opened the session by detailing several factors that she found to be extremely useful when implementing Facebook live to share race guide information. Her key factors were the advantages of using visual cues, the ability to answer live questions during the broadcast, the time she saved in not having to answer the same questions online or by phone, as well as advantages this platform created for participants

Bhajjan decided during the COVID era to find a different way to communicate with runners for her races. “When you’ve got 300 people signed up, then it helps avoiding those 20-30 emails…people like it, I have never had  runners complain, and people have said this is better than…this is in the guide, please read!”

Ben Mazur then shared his experiences with creating innovative race guides for his runners.

“What we like to do is to use a video, specifically video podcasting. It’s an exciting, unique and entertaining way to deliver information to participants. We did talk about participant guides, and to be honest, people just don’t read them any more….You put a lot of time and effort into creating a race guide, updating the website, and setting up emails, it’s rather sad that people either don’t read them or just skip over them.”

Mazur outlined the convenience of participants, the ability for on-demand review of the video, the buy-in and information sharing from other staff in the organization, and like, Bhajjan, the ability to receive live questions from participants. He also mentioned that they find the Streamyard platform very effective, affordable, and easy to use.

Colleen Rue shared her experiences using podcasts for race guides. “I believe that content creates connection – when we connect to our participants, that’s when we get buy-in, to lean in to what we have to say. Because we can throw content out there all day, but if we’re not creating the correct content, and content that is engaging our participants in the way we need them to, is it really working for us? We want to create that connection to our brand, to our events, and how do we do that?”

Rue explained how a race organization had switched to Facebook live, and that it was relatively simple, easy to use, and free for anyone to use from their race or personal pages. Live Streaming is another way to engage with registrants. Rue said, “Think through all the ways that you are connecting with your participants, and then maximize those opportunities. Are people listening to your content, and if they’re not, it’s not benefiting you.”

Rue shared ways to engage with participants, “to lean-in and gain their attention and buy-in: speak their language; keep it simple; make it fun; give them a reason to return; and get creative.”

A recording of this webinar is available below.

Active at Altitude, organizers of the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, reported 179 participants registered for the session, representing 40 states, as well as Bolivia, Canada, Great Britain, Iceland, Macedonia, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The next webinar in the RD Master Class series presented by Marathon Printing is titled: Mastering the Art of Live Event Communication, and takes place on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. MST. 

Who is this for? Race directors and event organizers who are interested in gaining mastery over their live event communication – with runners, volunteers and support teams.

Registration is free – see for more details.

More info:

For details on the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, go to

Contact Event Director, Terry Chiplin for further information,, or + 33 06 79 76 31 53

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