Race promoters have tried many strategies to beat Mr. Murphy and his wheel of woe.

Those few that have survived, found that the strategies that work come with a price.

I think that price that is just too high for most new race promoters to pay AND manage to stay in business.

That is why today is a special day.

Today, I’m going to help you beat Mr. Murphy!

However, before you and I can get into defeating Mr. Murphy, we need to first understand each of his immutable laws.

When you know his laws, and how they have a direct impact your race promotion strategies, you then begin to see how each obstacle in your way can be overcome.

Note that this is only an introduction to outthinking Mr. Murphy, which is why we’re only going to explore the 10 of Murphy Law’s of Racing today.

There are more, but trust me, 10 will be enough!

#1 – If something can go wrong with your race, it will go wrong with your race.

This is the classic Murphy’s Law of Race Promotion.

This law points to the universal nature that lack of skill will result in a bad race.

But Instead of looking at this law as some sort of certainty,

Take it as a word of caution.

Don’t overlook the small things, and don’t accept winging it as good enough.

Because a forgetting the details is enough to cause a huge problem later.

#2 – You never find a lost piece of equipment until you replace it.

I know you’ve experience this one.

In racing, it’s your stake hammer, that cable that connects your iPod to the sound system, or the power strip you need for the computers.

Only when you give up and order a new one to you discover the storage box it was hiding in.

A good way to keep this law from coming true to by having designated storage boxes for all your equipment.

And an inventory list taped to the top.

That way, you and your staff know what box contains what, and will help you leave a venue with everything you came with.

But it will also help you pull all the right boxes out of the garage on race day too.

#3 – Gear will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.

This one is a painful law to experience.

Generators, pop-up tents, computers, and sound systems — all your most valuable gear are impacted by this.

They are goners long before your shovels, stakes, and tables.

This means that you need to take care of the equipment that is the most sensitive, most expensive, and difficult to replace.

But this also extends to your family, your staff, your friends, and your racers.

Those are irreplaceable too.

It doesn’t always have to be about gear with this law.

Valuable relationships can also be impacted if you do not care for them.

So take extra time with the things and people you value the most.

#4 – Smile. The next race will be worse.

Do you believe your next race will be easier?

Chances are it won’t be.

You never will be able to predict if tomorrow’s race will be better than today’s.

So why are your worrying about it?

Make TODAY matter!

You need to enjoy your race no matter how difficult it is.

And you need to keep smiling even when it gets hard.

Remember, you could be in a cubicle right now, pushing TSP reports.

Instead, you’re having a bad day racing.

And the worst day racing is STILL better than the best day in a cubicle.

#5 – Left to themselves, races tend to go from bad to worse.

This one should be a no-brainer.

Yet, every year I see Race Directors leave their staff and go race their own course.

If you’re gone, who is watching your race?

Even worse, if there is a problem — or someone gets hurt — does everyone know what to do?

But the lesson here is not to make everything more complicated by ignoring problems.

Problems get worse with time.

That’s why you need to be on top of issues before they get out of hand.

#6 – Enthusiasm and last minute motivation can always be overcome a lack of planning.

This speaks directly to the procrastinator in us all.

Enthusiasm is great, but if you don’t do any planning, no amount of it will save you.

Does it mean that a race cannot be pulled together last minute?

No. But the chances of you actually succeeding are highly unlikely.

The less time you have, the worse your plan will be.

#7 – A racer invariably gets hurt when they are at the furthest most inaccessible point on your course.

This is so true.

So true that Mr. Murphy brought a lunch and a camping chair for this one.

How many times does an injury take place at the start or finish line?

Just about never!

However, leave it to racers to find the hardest locations to get to before they hit a tree or trip over a rock.

This speaks directly to your emergency response plan, and why you need to have course marshals out and about.

This is never a matter of if, always a matter or when.

#8 – The first 90% of race planning takes 90% of the time, the last 10% takes the other 90% of the time.

The time it takes to plan a race can expand beyond the time you’re given.

And you will overshoot your deadlines more than once.

As the saying goes: “You will never have enough time.”

But then again, Einstein proved that “all time is relative.”

This means that the time you spend on planning your race will seem like enough time now.

However, as race day approaches, you will suddenly feel like there are too many things to left to do.

Which leaves us with another saying, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”

Plan the big things now before you are overtaken by work, family, health, bills, life, and the next season of Game of Thrones.

#9 – If you are short of everything but racers, it’s race day.

This is an important one when it comes to making sure you have enough of everything.

Paper, pens, ink for the printer, power, paper, waivers, water, bib numbers… the list goes on and on!

You need to keep a list and check it twice.

This is also true when it comes to staff and volunteers.

You need to recruit, recruit, recruit because you will never have enough volunteers.

And if volunteers are too hard to come by, you need to hire some staff to fill in the gaps.

Also, expect to be short.

Remember, two is one, and one is none.

#10 – The important things in a race are always simple; the simple are always hard.

The strategy is hard. The planning is hard. Getting insurance policies is hard. Canceling a race is hard.

But you know you need to have all of them.

You know they are important to a successful race.

Without them, nobody comes, you don’t make any money, and you’ll probably get sued.

That’s why Reckoneer.com and the Merchant of Dirt Podcast are here to help you.

Learn the important things, even if they are hard, and you will be successful in this business.

And now you know.

Posted by Kyle Bondo

Kyle started Reckoneer with the simple mission of helping those who want to become race directors and learn the mechanics of outdoor recreation engineering. Kyle demystifies outdoor racing with over 20 years of endurance and outdoor industry business knowledge. Combined with his top-rated podcast Merchants of Dirt, dozens of articles, lessons, and infographics, Kyle has made Reckoneer the premier educator in outdoor event management. Build better races today!