However have you been in a race and you started chatting it up with the people around you? Just as a means of diversion or as way to help them if they are struggling? When you pass others, or others pass you, how often to you give words of encouragement? I am guessing this happens a lot – the running community is incredibly supportive of each other.
So while this “team sport” idea might seem a little controversial, as running tends to be very individualistic, we do tend to work together in a race. Prime examples include all have seen those viral videos of one runner carrying another runner across the finish line. My favorite example is that famous video in 2018 Boston where Desi and Shalane worked together when Shalane needed a portapotty break.
The race directing community is just an extension of the running community (at least, for those of us that are RDs and runners). This year is just an incredible example of that. While those of us that produce racing events are highly competitive with each other, this is mostly because this helps make our races better. Just like in running – while a race can be very individualized, with our own goals and plans, and not only are we trying to beat ourselves with a PR or a BQ – we are also in some small part, trying to beat others – whether in our age group, or just running besides us. They help us drive to the finish line when it starts to get tough mentally and physically. This type of competitive drive applies to races as well as runners – it helps us get better and obtain our goals.
And while this year was incredibly difficult for race directors, having been shut down for more than 15 months – we came together and supported each other, just like it was a race. The Race Director community came together much like the running community – sharing best practices, past experiences, goals and successes.
So often we heard the Governor (or other public official) state that the pandemic was a marathon, not a sprint. Well – there was a lot of irony there for those of us that were prevented from putting on marathons, but we understood the reference as marathoners. And as things were coming back on line, BUT road races, we didn’t feel that “we were all in this together” – unless we were talking to our fellow RDs.
I would like to thank my fellow race directors for helping us stay sane and bringing races back on line. Thank you to Drew Appleton of Gray Matter Marketing, Jay Paganelli of True North, Amy Rice of On Your Left, Dave McGillivary of DSME in MA and John Mortimor of Millennium Running in NH. There are many others that helped – all over the country. There have been webinars and FaceBook groups and many emails of sharing how to execute safe events, how COVID has affected our races, obtain permits with virus protocols and get back to work. Just an awesome sharing of ideas and best practices to help us all get to that finish line together.
But a heartfelt thank you to all of those that kept us positive, on task and alive in these last 15 months. We have been all in it together, and we are all ready to move forward – competing again, but supportive.