Even with Valentine’s Day in the rearview mirror, February always seems to have a bit of love and kindness in the air. In the last few weeks, we have been out and about in the community – at The Run Show in Boston, launch parties with local Run Clubs and my own personal running groups. At each of them, we have the joy of talking to other runners – about our race experiences, our training goals, injuries, what the weather for running has been like – just normal runner stuff. I could talk running all day. But I always approach these conversations wearing two hats – my “runner” (I getchu) hat and my “race director” (logistically – what happened and why) hat.
I have completed hundreds if not thousands of races in my life, from 300m indoor hurdles as a HS athlete (at which I was TERRIBLE!), to 6 marathons, 3 half Ironmans, mud runs, relays, beer miles, and everything in between. I do love races and events, in fact, I love it so much that I made a career out of it, one that is a labor of love.
There are so many times during conversations that I get so overwhelmed and humbled with our role in the running community. I listen to all your goals and the sacrifices you make on the way to those goals; the time given up with family and friends, the transportation and logistics of races, the costs involved, the pain of injury, the comforts given up and the mental toughness to get out the door to run. Heat, cold, rain, wind – all great reasons to give up and do something easy. I get it, because I do the same thing – go through all those feelings, struggles, commitment. This past Fall, I had trained for and completed the Marine Corp Marathon and through all of those training miles, all the feelings and emotions in the lead up to the race, all the logistics to getting to the start line – I was cognizant of how all of that translated to all of you and how large our responsibility was in providing you the race deserving of this dedication.
So as we plan our races, it is always at our core as to what race day means to all of our participants – how important it is to them to achieve that PR, BQ or goal. And I want to deliver the type of event that lives up to all that you have accomplished in the weeks preceding the event. You have done so much to get to that start line, that we want to help give you that experience deserving of the work. It can be so overwhelming in that desire to this right for you – this responsibility. Whenever I approach our start lines, before the gun goes off and I see the police lined up, the DJ making the last minute announcements and how palpable the nerves and excitement are just crackling through the air – I get shivers and goosebumps. I LOVE that excitement for all of you, but I feel my knees buckle just a bit. Our Police liaisons often say that a race is pass/fail – as long as no one was seriously hurt, we passed. But we know it is so much more than that.
So it is an honor and a privilege and we are so grateful that you are sharing this incredible experience with us. We know there are lots of races and events out there, but when you choose one of ours – know that we get it, what it means to get to that start line. Unlike a concert or food festival, or some other event – we know that you have spent weeks in preparation, DIFFICULT and challenging preparation. You have worked and sacrificed to run on race day. I understand what it takes to run a challenging race. And know that we don’t take any of this lightly – it is not just a job, not just a business. This is a labor of love in hopes that we give you the race that you have worked so hard for and deserve.
So keep sharing those stories with us, keep filling out those post-race surveys letting us know how to improve – we read them all and we strive to improve each year, to learn from our experiences and listen to our fellow runners. While we can’t implement all of them, there are plenty of ideas that we have heard and added. And thank you for joining us at our events. We can’t wait to see you all again!