You want to start building off-road races?

That is awesome!

But where do you start?

Many new race promoters (and plenty of existing race promoters) have no clue what to do first.

So instead of bounding their planning cycles with some kind of process, they wing it.

Chances are, many of you are racers turned promoters.

And as a racer, the first thing you most likely feel comfortable tackling in your race plan is one thing you know best: your course design!

The course design is a racer’s comfort zone.

But what comes after you’ve thought up a course?


No. I see fine.


Build a race, right?

Goals? Marketing? Insurance? Permits?

I’ll figure all that out later.

Oh, but your course design?

My course design is rock’n!

Thought so.

After creating a course design, there is a reverse engineering that takes place in an attempt to make their event fit into all the other boxes.

It mixes up all the sequence of activities, resulting in an environment where nobody knows what comes next.

Now only the race promoter — if they have time — can get anything done.


Because everything is still in their head.

So they can’t share a single task with anyone unless they take the time to explain all the what’s and why’s of doing it.

And that sounds really exhausting, especially if you’re the race promoter.

Welcome to your single point of failure.

If the race promoter gets sick, has to work at the office late, or needs to go out of town, who knows what comes next?

Who knows all the steps in THAT race promoter’s process?

What process?


Most of what I just described is — in one way or another — the biggest reason race promoter’s do not make money.

Too many race promoters are unicorns.



They never do anything the same way twice.

They don’t like to share the process “in their own heads” with anyone but their closest confidants.

Why the hesitation?

Trade secrets are one guess.

The illusion that they will become irrelevant to the process is another.

However, I’m a big believer in that most think like race directors, not race promoters.

They own their job and make sharing their process difficult.

The result is a violation of one my main principles of race promotion: show value.

Being unable to share your process is incredibly inefficient.

And not very valuable.

But I’m actively involved! Isn’t that going to produce some value?

If your process is only in your head, then how do you share it?

Or do you even try to share it?

You cannot get everyone engaged or take initiative if no one knows what comes next, or what the end goal is supposed to look like.

Nor can you execute your plan with any speed, because they will always be waiting on you to make decisions.

Not just the important ones, but ALL OF THEM.

Your team will be stuck after each action, waiting for you to tell them what to do next.

When each activity has to be delegated by you, involves you, and has to be managed by you, then you’re not a race promoter.

You’re the single point of failure.

Race promoters need everyone on the team to know the plan, and they need everyone to know what order the plan goes in.

They also need everyone to agree on what the end goal is, and know how each step fits into the overall strategy.

How do you do this?

By leveraging the techniques of documentation, consensus, and orchestration.

These are the cornerstones of successful race promotion.


Let me explain.

Documentation is just getting your process out of your head. When you put it into a form everyone can see and share, you begin to remove yourself from being the single point of failure.

Consensus is where the race promoter turns a race into something of value.

Because when you stop doing everything yourself and start involving your team, you increase your capability to see the things you never noticed before.

Consensus gives your team a chance to start noticing things you can improve too.

Together you and your team will begin to create good value out of bad, and new value where none existed before.

The final cornerstone is Orchestration.

Orchestration is the simple execution of your process.

This is how the race promoter turns a documented plan into a profitable race.

But does this all tie together to create value?

Enter the Roadmap

If documentation, consensus, and orchestration are the cornerstones of race promotion, then the roadmap is the structure that these stones support.

Without one of the cornerstones, the structure falls.

This makes the roadmap a fundamental tool used for sharing the race promoter’s overall plan with the team.

It allows everyone involved to see the big picture and agree on how it will be implemented.

Agreement is the key here.

Without agreement (e.g. consensus) of what has been documented, then orchestration will be difficult.

If you, as the race promoter, are going to efficiently execute your plan, everyone needs to be going in the same direction.

And they need to go that direction the same way, each time it is used.

No one cornerstone out-weights another.

They all have to be in sync for the roadmap to work.

Let me say that again.

If one of your cornerstones is missing, the other two will not provide you any benefit.

Once you have a balance to your roadmap structure, you will begin to enjoy some benefits.

One of those benefits is having the ability to review how well your plans and processes were executed.

This is where the race promoter learns what worked, and what did not work.

Since each race is essentially your laboratory, you need a review cycle to modify the roadmap BEFORE you use it to build your next race.

None of this happens if you do not document your process, share it with others, and follow each step in your plan exactly as you laid it out.

Documentation, consensus, and orchestration.

This is your blueprint to how you build races.

Your roadmap is your guide to creating value for multiple areas within each process.

But you cannot modify something you don’t have.

Do yourself a favor and get your roadmap developed now.

Don’t build a race without it!

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!