Moving to Colorado and living the dream?
August 22, 2013 7:41 PM   Subscribe

I would like to move to Boulder/Denver-area, CO early in 2014 and want to switch careers. I would love to be a race (running, not driving) director/event manager, work in race timing, etc. What can I do in my current situation to help my odds at success?

I currently live in the middle of Missouri and work an uninspiring desk job. My SO and I have decided a good move for both of us might be to the Denver area. Since we're moving anyway and my job is lame, I want to try and get into what I really want when we're out there. Everywhere has races & outdoor athletic events so what can I do to get some good experience in Missouri?

So far I've thought of volunteering at events and working on day-of race crews. What else can I do to gain skills for my ideal line of work? What unexpected skills or experience would stand out to someone hiring for event management/timing/race directing?
posted by thewestinggame to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would guess that there aren't very many jobs in this very specific field. For instance, a lot of the small races (trail running) that I have been in have used volunteers (work-trade for a free entry to a different race or minimally paid $10/hr for people to do the timing). This is very different, of course, from something that is an enormous well-oiled machine like the Bolder Boulder for instance. I live in Denver and all the races that I have done have been in Colorado.

I would imagine that any outdoor recreation program volunteering experience and event planning experience would help. I imagine that race directors have a shit ton of balls in the air so managing people and delegating would be good skills. Could you send this question to some race directors and do some informational interviews?
posted by fieldtrip at 8:13 PM on August 22, 2013

I personally would try to do some research on who does this sort of thing as a race director, and then try to find their bio/background to see what their experience is. Maybe you could contact them and say you're interested in getting involved and would love to meet up. I'm not sure being a race manager/director is a real career. You should figure out what the people who run these races do as a normal day-to-day job when there isn't a race.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:45 PM on August 22, 2013

You could look into working with Lifetime Fitness. They have taken over the Leadville Race Series, which includes historic Leadville 100 ultrarunning event, for example--and by all accounts, they're really going to be needing to beef up their organization there. Lifetime is a pretty big company, with offices and locations all over, so it's possible you could get involved with their activities even before you move.

Even if it's not a long-term position, you might be able to gain some valuable experience that would help you with a future career as a race director, without having to strike out on your own immediately.
posted by Superplin at 9:06 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Anecdotally, I know of someone who has a job just like this who came from an event producing background--everything from weddings to red carpet events to corporate functions. Maybe get connected with someone in your community who does this?
posted by justjess at 9:44 PM on August 22, 2013

I participated in the Lyons Outdoor Games this summer (Lyons is just a bit north of Boulder). The event was coordinated by Human Movement; check out their site and it may give you some ideas of who they've hired and what they do.
posted by craven_morhead at 6:23 AM on August 23, 2013

I agree you should look into general event planning. Small events are generally run by volunteers (or a local running shop that helps produce a number of races per year). Large events are run by full-time staff or companies that are hired specifically for this purpose. Check out Event 360, Inc. They run a lot of events throughout the country. Also, start volunteering with the large races in your current town - Komen events are often very big and well run.
posted by jrichards at 6:26 AM on August 23, 2013

Following on the Komen suggestion, consider applying for jobs with other nonprofits that do races as part of their programming. Maybe you could get a job with someone like Team in Training that would allow you to do the kinds of things you're excited about but also have plenty of work when you're not actually putting on a race.
posted by TrixieRamble at 7:38 AM on August 23, 2013

IronMan is based in Boulder... they hire for all kinds of positions, especially if you're willing to travel. Not sure wassup beyond that -- although I do have some friends who work for 'em -- but I'd reach out to them, see if you can set up an informational interview.
posted by ph00dz at 12:44 PM on August 23, 2013

USA Triathlon is located in Colorado Springs if you're up for a longer commute and would like to travel a bit with your job. My friend took a job there after leaving a sports marketing firm on the east coast.
posted by icaicaer at 1:33 PM on August 23, 2013

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