I can certainly understand the concern and I've made every attempt in working with other race directors in learning the challenges they face in hopes of working contingencies out in advance, planning as meticulously as possible to avoid many of those "first year" miscues people may be fearing. So in an effort to further dispel those fears I have joined up with ATRA and Goodpeoplerun.com in their mission to provide a 15 step series of standards for all trail running events. ATRA, American Trail Running Association (found at www.trailrunner.com) really wants to make this the gold standard so to speak in providing runners with a race where you know the expectations are met across the board from course marking, safety, preparation and many other steps. Many of these steps are what you find at any well organized ultra but some certainly are missed at others. Here are the 15 standards, I encourage you to take a look and check out www.trailrunner.com for ongoing updates for the trail and ultra community.