November is not only the anniversary of Rhode Races, but also the proverbial end of our racing season. This year we produced a record number of events at 18 total races. We also had a record number of participants (I don’t have this exact number, I just know it was more!) But this means we also had a new record for volunteers, vendors and support staff. Add all that up and it means we are so humble and gracious for everyone that helps us put on a race.
This year’s volunteers had an especially challenging year with ALL the rain. There are so many amazing volunteers who stood out for hours in the rain, wind and cold waiting until our very last finishers had passed by them. Only because Ocean State is fresh in my memory for amazing commitment – but the Narragansett Running Group was being pelted by rain and wind (they were at Mile 21.5 on the full course and 8.5 on the half) and they were so caring and concerned for every participant, with apparent disregard for their own comfort. And Marty Crowley from Cumberland XC was at the last aid station and waited for the very last runner, even well past the cut off. And this was after a long day at the State’s Class XC Meet the day before. These are just two examples of what amazing volunteers we have but we are so incredibly grateful to have them on our courses.
As far as the vendors, police and medical teams – yes, we pay them to be out there – but again, their care and concern for the runners are so inspiring. They truly go above and beyond. After one particularly operationally challenging race this year, the Police liaison stated that our job was at it essence “pass/fail” – and because of their careful input to planning and thoroughness to their roles, we are always so thankful to have another year of “pass” – only minor injuries, scrapes, blisters, etc.
Finally, to our Rhode Crew, after 8 years of races we have a team that is knowledgeable, confident in their roles, dependable and just rock stars out there. These guys often start at 2:30am and work 12-16 hours in a day in ALL types of weather – rain, heat, wind, dark, they are troopers. They are willing to jump in and do whatever it takes to keep our runners safe, protected and cared for.
Our small full-time team swells to a cast of hundreds each race day and we know we are one small cog in that event success. We have found trusted partners in our race execution that mirror our goals and dedication to the participants. And for that – we are so inspired and grateful.
And thank you – to all of our participants for putting your trust in us. We hope that you will continue to run with us in 2024 and beyond as we continue to learn and improve.