4 days…

Wanted to share a cool idea that we’ve come up with for trail marking that I haven’t seen being used out there yet.  We’ll call them “trailies”.  This is a take off of the words that the idea originated from- “throwies” and “glowies“.

I just learned about “throwies”about a week and a half ago and started on the idea late, so we won’t be able to have too many of them (about 100) on the course.  Thus far, the idea is going so well that it seems possible and quite economical to do all night time markings using “trailies” in the future.  We’ll have the standard fare of reflective tape and glow sticks this year since the materials have already been purchased and distributed to trail markers and we want to try it out first.  The lights and batteries I ordered got here 5 days ago and my test subjects have been lit constantly for 5 days now and are still burning pretty bright.

Cost breakdown of a throwie: 5mm LED light= $0.16, CR2032 battery= $0.20, Clothespin= $0.04, and 3″ of electrical tape= $0.01.  That puts the total at around 40 cents per marker, half of which can be re-used for next year.  Seems very reasonable to mark an entire course well with LED lights spaced at 50-100 yds, significantly reducing the # of runners going off course.

Add a 17″ outdoor balloon and rent a helium tank and you’ve got some “glowies”.  We’ll have a different color of glowies marking each aid station through the night, hopefully you’ll be able to see them from afar as you’re trekking through the desert towards your destination.  If there’s wind we won’t be able to float them up very high, but on a calm night they’ll be floating over 100 ft. in the air.  Apple Valley might get some UFO sightings Friday night :)

The light in this balloon has been going for 5 days now.  The 17″ balloon (about $0.25 each) stopped floating after about 15 hours, plenty of time to get through the night!  (FYI- If you buy a pre-made “glowie” you’ll pay about $2 each and they only glow for 3-4 hrs.  and get a smaller, poor quality balloon that only floats for about that long).

Here are the ingredients we picked up at the local health food store to make a big batch of vegan broth for the aid stations.  Abe and I have been busy making electrolyte snow cones and we’ve got some awesome boiled red potatoes marinated in Italian dressing that we’ll be serving at the aid stations.

Many nights spent organizing once the kids are in bed.  Our garage and storage unit are filled to the max!

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13 responses to “4 days…

  1. Thanks a bunch for all of your hard work!

  2. Matt, you haven’t left a single stone unturned! You’ll probably have that horse trough filled with ice cubes – no, don’t take that challenge. Looking forward to the vegan soup, pizza, and everything else.

  3. Yay vegan broth!!
    Thank you!

  4. I definitely appreciate the vegan broth. The last ultra I did had soup at many of the aid stations but of course it was not vegan. Oh, how I wanted some soup when I was cold and tired in the middle of the night.

    I had some concerns about there being a lack of organization at this race because it’s in it’s infancy but it seems like you know what you’re doing. The LED trail markers are a nice touch.

    • thanks. we’ll see how it comes together, definitely gonna be some things that don’t go as smoothly as planned or that we overlooked but i think that overall there will be more good than bad

  5. Throwies are awesome and using them for trail markers is pure genius. I love it.

  6. Great Idea. I should package and sell them to RD’s on Ultrasignup.

  7. Pingback: Planned marking improvements for 2013 | Zion 100 Mile and 100k Trail run

  8. That’s pretty badass, guys! I’ve been trying to figure out how to light my course without spending $3-5 a light. Problem solved! I’ll be sure to give you guys credit. That might even deserve a free race entry. -Charles J, Ouray 100

    • Thanks, Charles! Any time you want to switch out entries, I’d be game… Always looking for a reason to get out to Ouray!

      • That sounds excellent! Let me know if you want to run Ouray this year. I’ll hold you a spot. I would LOVE to run Zion. Probably wouldn’t be ready this year, but maybe I can get out there in 2015. Your buckle looks awesome, BTW. I want one!!! :D

  9. You don’t know how happy I was to find your site. We have a 24 hour trail run in our local park every winter and you solved my problems very inexpensively. I saw a set up to rig a photocell in the loop so they shut off during the day. Might try that next year as we had some teens that weren’t participating in our run “borrow” about six of our lights while exiting the woods. Had they not been partaking in native plants (10 degrees out on a PA afternoon) they wouldn’t have been drawn to the blue aura if I had had some way to meter the on/off time!

    • Thanks for letting me know they worked, Mark! I saw another race with mucho $$ that had some really nice LED lights and was thinking about using their system but when I talked to them about price per marker it ended up being close to $5 per marker and they LED’s only lasted 24 hrs. These last a couple of weeks!

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