We recently had a “strategic planning retreat,” which in our case really meant that four of us got together in a fun setting (Sunriver, Oregon) to do some running, eat good food and hang out with local ultrarunners. Oh, and also deal with all the stuff that built up and we put off for the past year or so. We used a vigorous, data-driven approach and had lots of great brainstorming as we came up with ingenious solutions for everything (LOL).
Actually, here are some of the highlights – the magazine has grown its circulation by about 20% in the past year and our readers gave us higher scores, for the most part – especially for our new graphic design, the quality of our columnists and all the great photos. But there was plenty of constructive feedback too, so we will be incorporating more variety into our content by tweaking the focus of some columns and adding a few new ones as well.
We are improving our website with a more user-friendly online race calendar and searchable results. We’ve also put all past issues of UltraRunning in digital format and subscribers can now access the complete UltraRunning archive with just a few clicks.
And for our one big new idea, we’ve launched the UltraRunning Race Series, which will “score” all North American ultra finishes. The series emphasizes inclusiveness and participation, and encourages ultrarunners to focus on at least one quality race at each of the sport’s four traditional distances every year.
We will post standings for seven age groups and both genders, and we will calculate them overall and for each of the eight regions we’ve mapped out for the US plus Canada. There are a whopping 146 categories that can be contested.
Most exciting is that the top male and female overall scorers will receive automatic entries into Western States 100 next June. Scoring for the series started last May, and the first year is over halfway completed, which means you already have some scores. Check it out at ultrarunningraceseries.com.
The December issue of UltraRunning features the topic of coaches for ultrarunners. With new technology for tracking, analyzing and sharing run data, ultrarunners and their coaches can work together without ever even meeting each other. Learn more starting on page 22.
Our annual Favorite Things is chock-full of great gift ideas for every ultrarunner on page 28. Also don’t miss our tribute to the people who enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the sport – a photo collage of the photographers who bring us their art every issue.
As you are reading this, Tropical John Medinger is deep into the year-end stats and is busy conducting our annual Ultrarunner of the Year (UROY) voting process. Our online countdown starts with #10 on December 21, and look for our best ever UROY issue in early 2016.
In the meantime, we hope your holidays are wonderful and that all your wishes come true – but if not, may your every run be a great one.