2014 marked the ninth (ninth?!?!?!?!) year I’ve been race director of the Solstice Sprint 5K. As with the previous 8 years (and with the 1/4 Marathon and the Hogsback Half Marathon) none of this would be possible without the help and support of friends, family and volunteers. Most importantly, everything I do is really possible because of Shaun. Even if he sometimes drives me up a wall, he puts more time and effort into my many projects than anyone else. I don’t know anyone else who wold be willing to act as driver, Stig stand in, sherpa, web designer, bike mechanic, emotional support pillow (a life sized pillow pet!), master of all things electronic and just general good guy — then again anyone who has put up with me for five years has to be a good guy. So, first and foremost a HUGE thank you to Shaun and all the other volunteers (especially Patrick who is the world’s most awesome watermelon slicer and Emily for being queen of registration and bringing along the Dog Star pups) who helped make Solstice happen.
In addition to needing a great support team, no race is possible without some luck and educated guessing. Even though I’ve done this dozens of time before, each race gets a little frazzled and exhausting at the end. This year was no different. When planning a race there’s a lot of guessing going on — how many runners do you actually think will show up on race day? (you don’t want to pay for lots of extra shirts but you don’t want to be in the position of not having enough), what will the weather be like? will it be hot? (the worst thing that can happen is for the race to run out of fluids), how many chocolate chip cookies versus rice krispie treats versus slices of water melon?, will all the volunteers show up? and on and on and on. Experience makes answering these questions easier but there is always an element of uncertainty. The uncertainty doesn’t end with pre-race preparations. I’m on pins and needles the entire day of the race — is registration going well? is there enough toilet paper in the port-a-potties? that runner is breathing really hard is she ok? is she having an asthma attack? have we mentioned sponsors enough? do we need to mention them more? have we mentioned the charity (Farmington Library) enough? its 45 minutes after the start should we start the raffle? should we start awards? In a lot of ways race directing is like a really big choose your own adventure book. You try to make all the right choices so that at the end of the day your runners, sponsors, volunteers and charity are all really happy.
While its a big relief when the race goes off well, even when all the runners gone, the work is not over. After the race we pile everything back into our cars and inevitably it all gets dumped into the garage and kitchen in a huge pile of mess. I’m usually tasked with cleaning and organizing the kitchen, while Shaun tackles the garage. Post-race the house looks like a a hurricane hit for at least few days. In addition once all the funds are in, there are bills to pay — shirts, timing, water, food and awards. After everything is paid out, it looks like we raised just over $2,000 for the Farmington Library, not bad for a little week night 5K. We raised about $6,000 at the 1/4 Marathon for the Blazeman Foundation, so if we’re able to raise another $6,000 at the Hogsback Half Marathon for Running for Rescues, that will be almost $15,000 for 2014. Not bad at all.