Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happiness is?

60 degrees on a late Dec. day. Hard to believe it was that warm but it sure did help our turnout for the 15th Race Against Time 5k held Sunday at the Central Y.....shorts and tee shirts....just like a nice spring day. 73 pre registered and 126 day of for 199 total. I lucked out with the tee shirt order which i had to place prior to the Christmas holidays....i ordered 200 psc. We had 15 no shows. Maybe they decided to go play golf rather than run. We had 10 states represented: CA, CO., DE, KY, MD, ND (yep North Dakota), NJ, NY, PA, and VA. 115 of those from Delaware. We went through 30 gal. of water......150 soft pretzels, and 14 doz. bagels. Six runners under 18 minutes and 182 finishers. Lets see if my luck continues with this Sunday's Union Tavern (formally) Bankshots Road to the Super Bowl 5k. Yes.....two weeks early this year. Couple of reasons: 1. Hope for better weather and 2. I get to start my vacation a week earlier. I already have the long sleeve tee shirts in my garage. Once again i had to order prior to Christmas. 275 psc order. Cool logo too. Soft pretzels, Grotto Pizza, bananas, and beer for all who run or walk. Ravens game on at 1pm and plenty of time to get ready for our Eagles game at 4:15......Barb and I wish all of you the very best in 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The world of music.

This Christmas many will get mp3 players.....you know...i-pods. Many will download their favorite tunes and rock and roll to the music. At our events the number of runners and walkers who wear these devices continue to grow. I have both an i-phone and a i-pod nano. I love to listen to music when i go for a walk or when riding a stationary bike or working out on the EFX machine. I seem to get a better workout while listening to music. I may be one of the few race directors who allow runners and walkers to wear these devices during our events. All I ask is that you unplug as you get close to the finish line and you are aware that most roads are not totally closed to traffic. I do have one concern. At our 6th Delaware Marathon coming up on May 17th I hire bands to play on the bandstand provided at start finish area. I budget over $1000 to pay these musicians. But if wearing a mp3 the runner has made a decision to listen to his or her own music and not live music. Maybe I am wasting my money on live bands. With our new venue of Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park we can not have loud music till 9 am due to the new residences across the river. On the other hand a DJ can control the volume of the music so i am considering a DJ. to entertain. If you were a race director what would you do? Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Customer Service

Even in road races it is so very important to stress to your volunteers customer service. We really try our best to accommodate you. Sometimes we run out of a tee shirt size and sometimes we run out of tee shirts completely. When this happens I like to cut entry fee to $15. At our Shannon Matthews 5k this past Saturday a runner came up to me at day of registration table. His son had his ATM card and he could not get money to run the race and we did not accept credit cards. He did have $10 but was $10 short. He had a gift card to TGIF Fridays for $10 and asked me if he could use that toward day of entry. No problem .....we used his gift card as part of prize structure. Many times a runner comes up to pre- registration only to find out that we do not have them registered. If they signed up online i have a back up list of those who did so and can take a look to see if we missed him or her. Sometimes the mail is a bit slow and we do not receive the entry in time. We ask the person to fill out a day of registration form and get either cell or home phone number. Most of the times we get the entry in the mail the next few days. Sometimes a person thinks they have registered for an event online only to find out that they did not or in some cases signed up for the wrong event . That happened last year when a young couple showed up at my 5k in Newark and we did not have them on the pre race roster. They had the receipt from Active.com that they did sign up for our race online. I took a look and realized that yes.....they did enter online but for the 5k we were managing in Wilmington the same day. I gave them both race numbers and tee shirts and worked out payment with the other race director. So if you are having a problem and need help just see me or my wife Barb.....we are here to help you solve your problems.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Race directors nightmare.

The 15th Race Against Time 5k marks the last run walk event of 2008 and the 100th event that we managed for the year. On January 4th it all starts over with the 20th Union Tavern (formally Bankshots) Road to the Super Bowl 5k. The following week is the 33rd PSCI Icicle Ten miler then i get some time off. Our next event will be the March 7th Kelly's Logan House 5k. It is a real crap shoot to stage a road race in the winter weather. The race directors nightmare.....ice, snow, sleet, wind and cold temperatures. I use to stage a Winter Series from the JCC with 5k's in Dec. Jan. Feb and March. Problem was ...you guessed it....the weather. I had to cancel events due to icy conditions. I decided then and there that it was just not worth the effort to continue this series. If you follow my schedule you will notice that i moved the Race Against Time 5k to the Sunday prior to New Years eve rather than trying to stage at 4pm event prior to First Night Wilmington on New Years Eve. The main reason was traffic issues. You may have noticed also that the Road to the Super Bowl 5k for the Wellness Community is now two weeks early. The Sunday after New Years Day. Why.....main reason is i would hope for better weather earlier in January. The PSCI Icicle ten miler stays in the same time slot. The JCC Snowball 5 mile race has moved weekends. We use to be the last weekend in February and now we are the second Sunday in March. Why? Better chance the weather will cooperate. I will not accept new events in these winter months. It is just not fair to the organizations trying to raise funds. So bundle up......it is going to be a long cold winter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It is an itis thing......

We have all had it. Tendinitis, bursitis, and maybe even arthritis. Achillies tendon, elbow, wrist, knees. Not much to do about it except stretch, ice, and Advil. But in severe cases you get help. I have not run in 3 months now. I have a serious case of one of the itis in my left hip. I went to my orthopedic Dr. Steve Dellose who took an x-ray. I am not bone on bone and still have cartilage so that is good. It really is painful to get out of my car or from behind my desk. I have to grin and bear it as my hip pops back into place. Not good. I asked the doc if an injection would help. "Not yet" was his answer. I asked him if I would eventually need a new hip. "Not yet" he answered. Plus the doc said "NO running." My comment back was, "I can barely walk let alone run." So now what? He sent me to physical therapy. I decided to go to Elite PT at their new location at the JCC on Garden of Eden Road. Jimmy Hashimoto or Hash has been working with me. He is awesome! I am dedicated to getting better and have been doing stretch exercises daily. I have been able to ride a stationary bike. I tried walking but the next day i was really sore. Yoga has been my salvation. I go to Empowered Yoga on Penna. Ave. I had a streak of 19 days in a row. I take the hour class week days and the hour and half class either Saturday or Sunday. To me it is like a long run on the weekend. If it was not for my hip i would say i have never felt better. My weight is down 10 lbs. I gave up vodka and bread. I go back to Dr. Dellose on the 16th. I guess I will find out more at that time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Who emptied the piggy bank?

I received my statement today from Cap Trust. I use these folks for my SEP plans and IRA's. I looked at it.....shook my head .....and I placed it in my Cap Trust file. I decided not to open it. I have what they call a "diversified" portfolio. I decided that i did not want to be depressed so in the draw it went. Who knows how long this free fall will continue. I am thankful that my wife has a good job with benefits (no i did not marry Barb for PSU tickets.....but health benefits is another story) and my business is still strong. Almost every day i get questioned, "has the economy affected your events?" Good question. Our beach races were down 20% this summer. For two good reasons. One is of course the economy and the cost of gas over the summer. Many of our participants come from the DC area and they just did not drive to the beach every weekend. Secondly, my three biggest events in Dewey had horrible weather with heavy rain and lightning. A double whammy. My other events have been very strong. Both the Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving Day events had record crowds. What has effected my events the most is sponsorships. It is getting more and more difficult to get companies to help sponsor our events. I leave sponsorships up to the organizations that hire us. So what will 2009 bring? I don't have a crystal ball but i doubt i will be opening my financial statement in the months to come. See you at the races.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Exciting Times

At this years Turkey Day 10k and 5k in downtown Wilmington I had a feeling we were going to go over the 2000 participant mark for the first time. I was correct. The 10k is pretty easy to score with 587 finishers. One chute is all it takes. But as I got to the starting line for the 5k I realized just how exciting it is to see so many lined up to run. When the cannon went off I headed to the finish line to get all my vols organized. The 5k goes past the finish area on its way to the turnaround. Wow...what an impressive site watching all these folks running by. I set up two long chutes to time the runners. And to be honest with you I could have used 3 chutes but we just did not have the room on the roads with runners coming both ways. Open chute one...close chute one....open chute two....close chute two. 1416 finishers. Thus making this Delaware's largest road race. Total: 2003 finishers. Is this race too big to time by hand? Yes and no. I can get the job done but there is a better way. Chip timing. On Tuesday prior to race day I sent the race committee a note telling them that after 30 years of handling the finish line duties I will no longer time this event. I will continue to be race director. With chip timing now available it is time to step up and make this race even better. I hire a company who uses chip (transponder timing) for my DE Marathon and Caesar Rodney Half. This will make number 3 chip timed race that i manage. Three of Delaware's premier running events.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Turkey Trot fever.

Not sure who came up with the name Turkey Trot but you got to admit it sure does fit the occasion. Two of Delaware's oldest races take place this week. The Turkey Trot in Newark and the Thanksgiving Day Run Walk in downtown Wilmington. Both have some things in common. For one both are 10k/ 5k distances. The Newark Turkey Trot now in its 35th year has used the same 10k route for the past 34 years. New neighborhoods have sprung up and the roads are repaved but the course remains the same. The 30th Annual PNC Bank Run Walk for MS on Thanksgiving Day starts downtown at the PNC Bank and continues out and around Rockford Park. Both events are usatf certified. This years Newark Turkey Trot in Newark may surpass the 1000 mark for the first time ever. The Thanksgiving Day event may be Delaware's largest running event with up to 2000 runners. But it was not always this way for these two events. The Newark Turkey Trot use to be a 10k only. Slowly the number of runners dwindled. The 5k was added years ago and this event soon began its come back. Same thing with the Thanksgiving Day event. We use to run a 10k only starting and finishing at Brandywine Creek State Park. We would get 400 to 500 participants which was at the time a really great turnout.....problem was we outgrew the state park. When title sponsor Bank of DE now PNC Bank built its downtown headquarters we decided it best to move the event into the City of Wilmington and add a 5k to the mix. These two events are almost like homecoming for many....just a great way to see family and friends. And yes....to work up an appetite for turkey dinner. Hope you can join us.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So you want to stage a road race?

This is the time of year when I start getting requests from those looking to stage a running event in 2009. Funny how every one of these organizations wants to stage a 5k. What ever happened to the 10k or longer? Are we saturated with 5k's here in the area? I guess not. My new half marathon at the DE Marathon may be the only new race I organize in 2009 longer than a 5k. I get requests from organizations wanting to promote new parks, from folks who have lost a loved one, from existing race directors who are unhappy with the direction their race is going, to schools looking to raise funds. The first thing Ido is to put a budget ESTIMATION together for them so they can see what it will cost to stage a 5k. I like to work with the goal of having 200 participants. The number one comment I make is that to "make money you need sponsors to help pay expenses." Here is an example I use to show how important sponsorship is for a road race. A few years back Westside Health staged a 5k. 80 folks signed up at pre registration price. But race day was disaster. A nor'easter came through and even though we were able to get this event in only 40 folks finished the race. Not many signed up race day due to weather. But you know what.....these folks listened to what I said about getting sponsors. They ended up grossing $12,000. So for those who are considering a road race as a fundraiser......I would love to help you out....but remember....."it takes money to make money".

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Great weather a 5k, beer and friends.

Kelly's Logan House was nice enough to allow us to use their facility for the 2nd Veteran's Day 5k held this past Sunday. Proceeds from this 5k went to the DE National Guard Reserve Foundation. The inaugural year we had 165 participants. Not bad for a first time event. This year we had a new route which runners raved about. I will certify this course for next years events that will use this route which includes Catherine Rooney's 5k for Ulster Project DE. CSC was our title sponsor. Besides Kelly's Logan House, Plexus Fitness and MOT Running Co (new running store in Middletown, DE) came in as sponsors. We had a great crew of volunteers mostly made up of CSC employees and the Women's Univ. of DE Rugby Club. Total pre registration was 65. Of those 36 signed up online. Day of race weather was perfect. Sunshine and around 60 degrees. With nice weather and a noon start (plus beer at after party) 120 runners signed up race morning for a total of 185 participants. Delaware had 130 participants, Penna had 37 runners, New Jersey 9, Maryland 8, plus runners from Chicago and Colorado. We printed 150 tee shirts and ran out so this was our only real issue of the day. Folks did not mind paying the $20 for this worthy cause. Seven runners broke 18 minutes. With Steve Lafferty running a 15:48. I-pods, $50 gift certificates to Lowes, gift cards from MOT Running Co, plus other prizes were given away as door prizes. Overall winners won gift cards to the Logan House. Age group winners won medals. Refreshents were Michelob Ultra, pizza, soft pretzels, bannans, and oranges. High Point Dairy donated ice tea and lemonade. Many in the crowd were Veterans of the Armed Forces. A nice fund raiser for DE National Guard Reserve Fdn. Thank you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

You be the judge?

I wrote in an earlier blog about the issue with the Nike San Francisco Women's Marathon not awarding the fastest women her first place prize since she did not start in the elite group. Same thing happened in Chicago with the 4th place finisher Wesley Korir also being denied prize money since he did not start with the elite group. Jim Estes, the race referee of Chicago Marathon ruled that Korir was not eligible for the elite prize money because he had been in a seperate race. The following statement came from a publication i subscribe to called Road Race Management. The sidebar called: Elite Start Creates Confusion went on to say that both the Nike San Fran Marathon and the Chicago came out with the following statement: Chicago organizers announced that they would give Korir and undisclosed monetary "bonus" for his performance in Chicago and in San Francisco, race sponsor Nike announced that it would award the women who ran the fastest time equal prize money to the elite race winner. I agree with both decisions......case closed.

Monday, November 3, 2008

New York City Marathon

Barb and I spent Sunday cleaning out our attic. So much stuff up there.....i found my finisher certificates to all the 13 marathons i have finished. My first marathon was the New York City Marathon back on Sunday, Oct. 23rd, 1977. This was I believe the first or second time they ran all 5 boroughs of NY City. I finished in place 2198 in 3:39. But get this....only 6, 000 participants. This past Sunday, the NY Marathon had like 40,000 runners with over 55,000 getting shut out. Wow! I saw this article online that talks about the new NY Jets football stadium selling licence seating. Some 600 fans have bought in and the Jets have raised over $16 million from these sales. The New York Road Runners Club is considering selling licences to those who want to partake in future NY City marathons. So for those of you who want to run this events in future years......start saving. Here is the info:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chip times or not.

Get a load of this.....at the Nike Women's Marathon held in San Francisco, the overall winner was not declaired the winner. Huh? Yep...24-year-old Arien O'Connell, a fifth-grade teacher from New York City, ran the fastest time of any of the women. Problem was she did not start with the elite women who started 20 minutes earlier......She ran a 2:55:11 a pr by 12 minutes. At the awards ceremony race officials called out third place winner....then second place winner and then overall winner who ran 3:06. Arien went to race officials who confirmed her time but said that since she did not run in the elite race she was not the official winner. Isn't that what chip timing is all about? I remember a couple years ago at the Caesar Rodney half marathon.....Betsy Carpenter was going to go for a new age group state record in the 50-54 age group. Problem was she started the race about 4 minutes late. But with chip timing she was able to get a gun time and a chip time. We allow chip times for those age 40 and over and Betsy had her record. As a race director i believe that race officials in San Fran made the wrong call. Here is the link to the article in the SF Chronicle.....what do you think?http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/21/BAUC13L3GQ.DTL&tsp=1

Friday, October 24, 2008

Homecoming USA

Now that the busy homecoming weekend is over I can get back to a regular work schedule. We had 6 events this past weekend. Four of those homecoming 5k's. Tower Hill, Wilm. Friends School, Ursuline, and Sallies. A marathon relay in Dewey Beach on Saturday plus a 5k in Claymont on Sunday. Wednesday took us to Dover for the 3rd Governor's Cup 5k. This noon start was for state employees as part of the Del A Well program. Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield were sponsors. Gov. Minner and Lt. Gov. John Carney were on hand to support the runners and walkers and to say a few words of thanks for all the support over the years. The weather was awesome and we had 301 finishers in the 5k run walk and another 50 in the one mile walk. I saw many of our regular runners and got to chat with the Governor prior to the start. Did you know that Gov. Minner is big on fishing! Guess she will have more time for that once January rolls around.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CCHS Delaware Marathon course update

In an earlier blog i talked about the new 2 loop route for our May 17th DE Marathon that will start and finish at Tubman Park. (next to the Amtrak station) So here is the latest. Doug White is getting very close to certifying for us....This chore has not been easy. When you have a 2 loop route that has to start and finish at the same location plus a section of lap one (Riverfront) that we can not use for second loop ....well....this makes for quite the puzzle. But it is done and i really believe you will just love the new course. To make up distance on the second loop the marathon runners will come back to Tubman Park where the half marathon runners take a left and to the finish line while the marathon runners will continue on the river walk (at Harry's heading south) past the shops and the rowing club to turnaround point. They will come back to Tubman Park the same way and continue on the loop route. I decided that flat is good and that our other choice was using the hills of Rockford Park......so there you have it.....2 loop marathon course....one loop half marathon course and stand alone 4 person relay.....We are going to show off our City of Wilmington like never before! Hope you can join us.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


First time events are always the most difficult to manage. I go to meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page so when race day comes there are no surprises. Race numbers are assigned, tee shirts are separated for pre and day of event, volunteers are pouring water, safety pins are available, awards are organized, and a course map is posted. At last Wednesday nights Inaugural Delaware Tech 5k on the Riverfront my volunteer crew was outstanding. Everything i asked was taken care of prior to my getting to the registration area. What a pleasure this race was to handle. I was able to walk around and chat with the runners and walkers and do what i love to do....take photos. My goal is always to have nothing to do race day. The less I have to do the better I have done my job. I would say that means to delegate and when it goes right everyone benefits. The photo that I have with this blog are two of the 5 runners who joined me in 1996 to run the Team in Training Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska. Eddie Osienski and Sharon Mossman. Both of them were at the 5k to support Del Tech. It was fun for me to chat with them and catch up. The six of us who went to Alaska to run raised over $36,000 for TNT. And we had a fabulous time together. More on that later......so if you see me hanging out not doing much at my events.....smile.....I may just take your picture.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chips....not sticks.

It's good to be home. I had a fantastic time in Ireland. I flew into Shannon and stayed 4 nights in Killarney, County Kerry. Played golf and continued on to Lahinch, County Clare for 2 more days of golf. Three sunny days and three rainy days. And yes....it was a wee bit breezy. I visited the pubs and chatted with the locals. The pubs are all NO smoking. The salmon is delicious and the Guinness is a bit warm. In the last few years 1500 pubs have closed. Some say due to the no smoking laws....others say it is the 30% tax on beer and 33% tax on alcohol. I only saw one runner in Killarney but did see a local running club on a training run on the way to the airport. There must have been 12 or so running on a sidewalk all wearing their club colors. The roads over there are so narrow that if two cars pass each other there is no where for the runners to go. The countryside is beautiful. Cows, sheep, bulls, and horses all grazing in the fields. I saw my fair share of castles and was able to explore some of the shops in these small towns. I saw more rainbows in a day than i see in a year here in the states. If you like french fries your in luck....they are called chips and are served piping hot with all entrees. Put a little vinegar on them not salt and ketchup. Pretzel sticks are no where to be found...too American i guess. So it is back to the real world here in Wilmington.....i better get back to work now....

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Bucket List

Maybe you saw the movie? I did....and one one of the things i wanted to do in my life time was play golf in Ireland. So......off I go on Saturday flying into Shannon for a week of golf with my golf pals. So how do i handle 5 events while away? Here's how...... get organized and delegate to my other teams. I will handle the 5k to Fight Cancer in Drexel Hill Saturday morning since my flight does not leave till 9pm. Chip and Doris Bixler help me out when i have mulitiple events. They will handle my other event on Sat at Pro PT in Middletown. My other team is my friend Jon Clifton. Jon will be working the 5k in Newark on Sunday. Chip and Doris will be back in Middletown Sunday for the Variety Club 5k. Next Sat. Jon will assist my Barbie at the 5k for DE Hospice. I am back for the DE Distance Classic on Sunday. To stay organized I always put a bucket together for each event. By bucket i mean a USPS basket to hold the following: race numbers, pens, pre and post race signs, check payable to sign, time machine timer, score sheets, bandit tags, safety pins, cash box, course map, camera, shoe box to place day of apps in and anything else that may be needed. With rain due this weekend chalking the route with white field chalk or spray chalk will not work. Thus i also have stocked for both groups my directional arrows that you stake in the ground. Results for these events will be posted on my website when i return. Let's see.....if race is at 9 am here.....it is 2pm in Ireland.....give one hour to awards ceremony so now it is 10 am your time and 3pm Ireland time...or time for a Guiness! See you when i get home.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The 3 B's (no pun intended)

The 3 B's......Beer, benedryl, and a bagel.....that is what i needed following the 10k portion of the Dog Fish Brewery race on Sunday in Rehoboth. Since i continue with physical therapy on my hips (tendonitis) i decided not to run in the 5k but to walk the 10k. I was really excited to be able and walk the new "trail" that was part of the race route. For the 8 am start i decided to start at 7:20 am. This way i would not hold up volunteers etc with an expected finish time of hour and a half. I had my fanny pack with water, cliff bar, and power gel. The course was well marked so i had no problem finding my way.....the trail is really peaceful. Listening to my i-pod I was walking a 14:20 pace. At the turnaround a group of women was setting up the water stop......I said thank you for your help and continued on my way back to the finish line. I figured i would get a good look of those running the 10k since i was heading home and they were heading out. The lead biker came by and a pack of 3 followed. I really enjoyed cheering on my friends. I looked at my watch 14:17 mile pace from mile 3 to 4. I rounded a bend in the road when out of no where a swarm of bees (hornets?) got me. I sprinted to get away from them but got stung pretty good on my hamstring, hip, thigh, groin, and butt. Ouch....To make matters even worse I dropped by I-pod nano and had to go back to where the bees were to retrieve. Once back to the finish i got some ice and started to ice down the areas where i was stung. I waited for Barb as she too ran in the 10k. When Barb came in we went over to the para medics who told us to go purchase some benedryl. Barb went to the 7-11 down the street. I went inside the bar to have a beer and a bagel. The benedryl and advil seemed to work. I would say that over 50 or so runners got stung...it was the talk of the post race party. Too bad since the race itself was a blast. Not sure what a race director can do.....Maybe change the route next year? I guess time will tell but i doubt i will partake next year if route is the same. Mike Holloway, XC coach at Sanford School said it best, "talk about a real pain in the ass" was his comment as he iced down his butt.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Heads up ladies!

This was emailed to me by the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America).

Dear Running Leaders,
Today, while reading the Washington Post, I was reminded about the importance of continually sharing the RRCA Running Safety Tips. The following is an excerpt from the news article written by Dan Morse, Washington Post staff writer:
"A 30-year-old jogger was raped Monday night after being pulled into a wooded area of Rock Creek Park just south of Kensington, marking the second time in the last week a Montgomery County woman has been taken into woods and sexually assaulted, police said. Investigators are examining whether the events are related, but thus far have found no evidence to that effect. In the most recent incident, the 30-year-old started her run about 7:45 p.m., wearing a portable music player. As she jogged along a footpath in the area that crosses under Connecticut Avenue, just north of the Beltway, a man came up from behind and grabbed her. After the attack, she was unable to find help from passing motorists, so she walked home to Kensington, and was driven to a local hospital, where she was treated for the assault and trauma to her face, neck and shoulders, police said. She remained hospitalized today."Our sympathies go out to this women as she recovers from this tramatic incident.
As a result, I emplore everyone in the running community to email their members or email event participants and remind the ever growing number of runners to practice safe running which includes leaving the headphones at home.
The RRCA offers a varity of running safety tips that can be found on our website. We encourage RRCA members and the running and fitness media to cirulate these safety tips in newsletters, on websites, in print, radio, and visual news broadcasts as widely and as often as possible.

a side note:
This also happened a month ago in Bridgeville, DE....so please be carefull when running.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

He is doing what?

A couple years ago Marathon Man Dean Karnazes came into Wilmington to run his 47th consecutive marathon in 47 days on his way to running all 50 states in 50 days. I got to chat with him that day and to tell you the truth.....he is the real deal. Today I was riding a stationary bike at the JCC just prior to my physical therapy appt. On the tv above was the Regis and Kelly Live tv show. I never watch this show unless i happen to be at a gym that has it on. Kelly comes on to let us know that Dean Karnazes was in New York getting ready to start a 48 hour run. Yep....you heard me....48 hours. And on a treadmill no less. He is trying to run 241 miles to set a new world record. So for those of you who can't sleep and want to check on his progress here is the link to the web cam following the action.
Just click on the icon on the right hand column. Don't fall asleep watching.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Delaware Marathon on Facebook

A good friend of mine who has participated in our CCHS Delaware Marathon relay asked me if she could set up our Delaware Marathon on Facebook. I gave her the ok....Stacey Haddock is now in charge of administration of this new feature on our Delaware Marathon website. (btw...our new url is www.delawaremarathon.org). For those of you not familiar with Facebook ...it is basicly a photo sharing website that you can join and ask friends to join. You can post all kinds of neat stuff and keep in touch with friends and family. This will take you to the DE Marathon Facebook page:
Feel free to make comments....send photos.....be cool.....

Monday, September 8, 2008

A close call with Huricane Hannah

A close call..... I remember back about 12 years when the sceduled Bottle & Cork race was threated by a huricane. I'll never forget leaving Wilm. Friday morning in rain and wind only to arrive in Dewey in sunshine and warm tempertures. I left a voice message on my work number letting runners know to call back with updates about the event. Over 100 phone messages were left on my voice box. Dewey missed the brunt of that storm and the Cork race continued on schedule. This past weekend a similar storm call Hannah was approaching the beach just in time for our Cork ten miler / 5k. We had 435 pre registered runners and walkers as of the Thurs. prior to race date. I arrived in Dewey Thurs. evening and once again left a message on my work voice box letting folks know the weather conditions in Dewey. On Friday I met with the Rehoboth Police Dept and Dewey Police Dept.. Both gave us the ok to continue with the event but in case of a State of Emergency we would have to cancel. I called the Delaware State Police and they too said ok to proceed. I left a message on my voice box letting folks know that we were prepared to run ....but I could not make the call till race morning. I woke up at 4:30 am Saturday and walked outside. Hot and humid but NO rain. The heavy rain we got in Dewey Friday pm had moved to the north. The weather channel showed heavy rain to the south. It looked like we had a window of ok weather till about 10am. I had 79 voice messages from 9 pm Friday till 5:15am Sat. I left a new voice message telling folks that the weather was hot and humid with NO rain and the race was on as scheduled. From 5:15 am till 11 am Sat. I received 102 phone messages. These were runners looking for the latest updates. Why not just post on my web page? I did but i asked folks to call my voice box with hourly updates. It is just easier for me to make a phone call with updates on a day when i am dealing with these major issues and just can't stop what i am doing to power up my laptop. We lucked out with the weather.....450 total finishers......147 no shows. I had many runners come up to me thanking me for the hourly updates. Communication is the key.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Life in Dewey

I am so very lucky to coordinate 11 events in Dewey Beach and one in Ocean City, Maryland. At this past weekends 2nd Dewey Beach Lions Club 5k we had 138 finishers (down from 180 last year) and had 16 states represented. Here they are in alpha order: AZ, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, and VA. So neat to see folks join us from around the country. I must admit....our numbers of finishers are down this year in Dewey. The economy? The cancellation of the Bartenders Ball? The weather? Not really sure but I think a combination of all three. Folks just are not spending money at the beach like years past. I talk to the bar owners.....they all agree. Folks drink at their beach rentals....come out at midnight....drink two beers in the bar.....and head home. Some folks still have not gotten over the cancellation of the Bartenders Ball last year and thus are boycotting our Seven Sister events. Too bad....they are missing out on a great time. And the weather...ugh. Two of our biggest events the Jimmy's Grill 5k and the Venus on the Half Shell 5k had huge thunder storms the morning of the race and heavy rain. Same thing at JD Shuckers.....rain and t storms. Looking at our 2008 standings we have 33 male and 22 females who have done all 9 events in the series. Not too bad. Plus where else do you have two pirates show up in pirate garb and start the race with a cannon.....Look for Pirate Pete and Pirate Woody to start off the 32nd Gary P. Lister Bottle & Cork ten miler with a bang! Hope you can join us.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So simple

As race director I get many runners and walkers asking questions prior to a race. Most of these questions are fairly simple. "Where is the start?" Who do i make checks payable to? Where is pre- registration? Where is day of registration?" I realized years ago that simple signs saves time. I always place my START sign for folks to see. I post a sign at the day of sign up table so you know who to make checks payable to and for how much. I have signs for pre and day of tables. And I always try and post a course map. Even when folks are from out of town..... runners like to see a course map. So...in a nut shell....i no longer get asked these questions at races. Pretty cool huh?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Delalware Marathon news you can use.

Some great news concerning our 6th CCHS Delaware Marathon. Race date is Sunday, May 17, 2009. Kid's Run One for Fun will be staged on Saturday the 16th. Our new venue is Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park located next to Amtrak Station. With the new venue comes a new route. This year we will run a two loop marathon course starting at 7 am. Rather than a ten mile distance for our sister event we have decided to go with a half marathon. Start time will be 7:15 am. The popular 4 person relay will start at 7:30 am and consist of 4 legs of 6.55 miles each. For those of you who know the area here is a short description of route...for those out of town I will post map on marathon website soon. The new marathon and half marathon routes will start at Tubman Park and continue across Market Street to Water Street to West Street to the new Justinson Street to the end of the shops on the River Walk. You will then proceed on river walk back to Tubman Park. Back on river walk to EDIS which is at the end of the river walk then follow to Poplar Street to 4th Street to Walnut Street to 16th Street to N. Park Drive past the Brandywine Zoo to foot bridge across the Brandywine to foot path to Adams Street to S. Park Drive. From there you head up S. Park Drive to Lovering Ave. to Kentmere Pkwy to Bancroft Pkwy. to dead end at 9th Street. Go left to Union Street to 4th Street to Lincoln Street (Little Italy) and back to 9th Street. Continue on Bancroft Pkwy to Kentmere Pkwy to Lovering to S. Park Drive to 16th Street to King Street and follow King Street back to Tubman Park. Not as flat as in the past but i believe a much more enjoyable run. More to come.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Answer to my ?

So what is a race director to do? I got many emails about this one.....but the two folks involved in this incident did contact me to explain what happened. Seems that the missing runner called her friend (who had just signed her up) to tell her she was not feeling good and was about to leave on vacation and thought it best not to run in the race. Since her friend already registered her she gave her race bib to another friend. He did not bother to change info on the race tag thus running in someone elses name. Make sense? Either way all they had to do was tell Barbie or I and we would have asked him to sign a waiver for insurance reasons and to scratch out her name and add his name, age and sex. Oh well....mystery solved......I think.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What is a race director to think?

A friend of mine who works for the FBI was nice enough to give me a FBI hat celebrating the 100th anniversary of the FBI.....i wear it all the time....little did i know that i would soon feel like an FBI agent. Here is why.....Our Seven Sisters Series in Dewey Beach gives away a gift package if you complete all 10 events. Our JD Shuckers event took place Sunday the 8th event in the series. I love to take photos of my races which i post on my website. It is easy for me to list names with photos by using my race software to produce a listing in numberical order. One of the photos and matching race numbers just did not make sense. The race number was assigned to a female runner 40 years of age who has completed all 7 events in the series. But some guy was wearing this race bib. I looked up the race bib on my results board and that too stated that this tag was assigned to a 40 year old female. To make matters worse the day of entry form was written out for the 40 year old female runner and signed by her friend who signed her own name. I called the missing 40 year old female and also her friend who signed her up and asked them both to call me or email me back. I have yet to hear back from either of them. What really upsets me is that this person won a medal thus taking away an award from someone who really deserves the win. What a shame. What is a race director to think? Your comments are welcome.

Friday, August 8, 2008

"Free" stuff

I pulled into my driveway and could not help but notice that UPS had delivered some boxes. I mean stacks of boxes left on my porch. How about 1000 Snicker Marathon Bars. Yep...."freebies" to give away to participants at our events. Every once in a while I get an email from companies looking to promote a product. They figure it is a great way to get their product in the runners hands. When Propel first came out they sent me about 50 cases to distribute at our events. (good thing I have a double car garage). I have been a pretty good customer ever since. Other companies that have donated in the past have been Power Bar.....Cliff Shots......Herr's Chips.......Power Gels......Gatorade and the latest has been Fuze. (I love the orange mango flavor). Back when we held the DE Marathon in Middletown Gatorade sent me 12 five gallon water containers with GATORADE printed on them. There was no way i was going to ship these used containers back. The Gatorade folks know how to market a product. They figure that I would use these water containers for years to come. How true....i still use them today. If running the Bottle & Cork this Sept. we have a surprise "Freebie" for all participants......I think you will be pleased. See you at the races

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Two for the record books

Many years ago Delaware Sports Club member Doug White started to keep age group state records. He used 5 year age groups 18 under to 70 and over. Doug was the official record keeper. I would post these state records in my Sports Calendar that i use to publish years prior to the internet. As time went by I was able to develop my website races2run and Doug asked me to take over these state records and post on my website. Some records have stood for years. Others change yearly. At our 5k the Latin Way 47 year old Sandy Gibney set a new age group record with her 20:03. This time broke a 21 year old record held by Joan Mehl (20:24). Two years ago at our Bottle & Cork ten miler, Juliet Bottorff set an age group state record for 18 and under in 68:20. This past Sept. she broke her own state age group record running a 66:37. We only accept records on usatf certified routes. If records are set i ask the race director to send me the usatf certification number and complete results. Keep on racing!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Venue

A year ago i wrote that things were getting very tight on the Wilmington Riverfront. By that I mean our days using this facility may be numbered. How true was my prediction? Let's say my crystal ball was correct. Our 6th Annual Christiana Care Delaware Marathon will have a new venue next year. Race date is Sunday, May 18, 2009. We have moved our marathon to the Harriett Tubman Riverfront Park next to the Amtrak train station. Why? Money...that is why. The Riverfront Development Corp. has signed a 3 year contract with Wilmington University to hold their graduation on this Sunday in May starting at 10 am. With 3000 folks coming into the riverfront plus the possiblity of a Blue Rocks baseball game the RDC would not give us permission to use the Riverfront that day. We only pay $150 for our permit to use Lot E on the Riverfront. The Chase Center will get much more for the Wilmington Univ. graduation. Plus our old venue used years past is slated to be developed into a hotel complex. One thing i have learned over the years is to take a negative and make it into a positive. So stayed tuned. We had our first meeting with the Riverfront Development Corp.and they have given us the ok to use the riverwalk for the first loop of our new route. Wait to you see what we have in store! Our next meeting will be with the City of Wilmington Police Department to go over proposed route. Once this is ok'ed I will make announcement of where we will be running and the distances to be used. We have our work cut out for us but I have a great committee that i work with plus the City of Wilmington does its best to accomodate our wishes. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Awards Presentation

The awards presentation at our events go smoothly. But some folks can't hang around for their awards. At last Sunday's Grog Shop 5k we started the awards presentation ten minutes later than usual. You can blame me....i decided it was best to load up my car with my finish line chutes and tables than to rush into the restaurant and leave the finish line a mess. As I was loading up my van a couple came up to me and stated that they won awards but could not stay since they wanted to go to church. No problem....go see Barb inside. She is waiting for me to get the awards started. Tell her you have to go and she will give you your medals. Problem solved. My Barbie handles the award presentation. She is very good at this ..much better than i am. In between age groups awards she gives away bottle openers, socks, and hacky sacks. Barbie yells...."Who paid the most for gas to get here? "Who came the furthest away.? Anyone's birthday today...?" All who come forward win a prize. We also have Pirate Pete who helps pass out awards and he gets someone out of the audience to help him....Now how many events do you get a pirate to help out? At this event we also recognized Rich and Marge Warshauer. They were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at our race. How cool is that! We presented them with a $50 gift certificate for dinner to any of the Highway One restaurants. Barb also likes to ask the overall winners questions...."where you from?" "Where did you go to college?" "Who are you taking with you to spend your $50 winners gift certificate?" So yes......sometimes our awards presentations take a bit longer than most but hey....we have beer, we have hot dogs, we have great settings to stage these events. So if you win an award and have to go....just see Barbie or I ....we will be happy to give you your award so you can be on your way. Like they say in Jamica...."no problem mon."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Follow the arrows.

My nephew Max has been helping me out with some of our events this summer. He asked me when i started using white arrows on the road to show runners which way to go. I told him that back in 1979 i was in san diego to run 18 miles of the Mission Bay Marathon as part of my training for the Paul Masson Marathon to be held three weeks later. I was staying with friends in San Franciso and took a flight to San Diego....I checked into the Hyatt Hotel in Misson Bay.....The 18 mile mark happened to be just outside my hotel. I got a ride to the start and ran back to my hotel room....nice way to get in a long training run. One of the things about this marathon that stood out was how they marked the route. Huge white arrows on the road were hard to miss. They did NOT use paint ...they used field chalk the same stuff they use to mark ball fields...what a great idea. So i borrowed that idea from San Diego and have used field chalk ever since. The chalk usually washes away once it rains. Yellow field chalk is sometimes used for longer events like the Cork ten miler, Caesar Rodney half and DE Marathon. So when running our events....just follow the huge white arrows....promise..you will not get lost.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Celebrity Starter.

I always get a kick out of who is going to say a few words prior to the start of one of our events. At our Citizen's Bank Caesar Rodney Half Marathon, our US Senator Tom Carper is always on hand to greet the runners. I hand him our wireless microphone and as always...the Senator has some nice lines. Not sure who is paying attention but he is always well spoken. Cannon Man (TJ Healy) starts the race with a bang! Or make that boom as he fires off his cannon. At our beach events my wife Barb greets the runners and walkers at the start. She sometimes gets a bit looooooooooooong winded but that is ok. She is my wife. If Pirate Pete is there he will start the race with his cannon. When he is not there we use our megaphone's siren. Not as loud but it does the trick. Other celebrity starters that come to mind are Lt. Gov. John Carney, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, Rep. Michael Castle, Judge Jane Brady, and CEO of Christiana Care, Dr. Robert Laskowski. All are well spoken.....all are respected.....and all really appreciate you taking the time to help raise money for so many charities. On May 30th I helped out with a unique event. Brad Bolding and Josh Strively, two trainers from Plexus Nemours location in downtown Wilmington ran around the Brandywine and Nemours building for a combined 8 hours covering 56 miles, raising close to $3,000 for the American Heart Association. It was called "Distance for a Difference." The official starter for this event was no other than U of D head football coach KC Keeler. I had the chance to chat with him and was very impressed that he took the time out of his busy schedule to start this fundraiser. So next time you get to the starting line unplug your ipods....and listen up....these folks have some nice things to say about YOU! See you at the races.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Strolling Along.

For my company to manage a road race we MUST have insurance. I work with the Road Runners Club of America and Zutz Insurance for this. Believe me....it is not cheap. The RRCA states in our insurance certificates that NO baby stroller, headphones, rollerblades, dogs, or unregistered runners allowed. This one paragraph waiver is also posted on all entry forms. I also post this one line on the top of each details page on my website NO BABY STROLLERS ALLOWED IN THE RUN PORTION OF THIS EVENT. YOU MAY WALK WITH STROLLERS. You ask why? Because accidents happen. I bend the rules a bit and allow ipods and headphones. All i ask is that you unplug as you get close to the finish line. I also bend the rules with baby strollers. I DO allow you to WALK with strollers. A classic example of someone running with a stroller and causing an accident.....a very good friend of mine was running in a race in New York Central Park. A guy pushing a stroller cliped him on his heal. Down he went .....he did not finish the race. The guy pushing the stroller did. Even though roads are closed to traffic for our events accidents can happen. We held a 5k in Woodstown a few years ago. The course was out and back on country roads and the Woodstown Police closed all roads to traffic. So what happens....an 88 year old women pulls out of her driveway......sees all these runners on the road and panics. She hits the gas rather than brakes and hits one of our runners. The runner was rushed to the hospital and has since recovered. So when I say NO baby strollers allowed in the run I have my reasons. Take a look at the photo above.....a drunk driver runs into a pack of bikers.....need i say more. See you at the races.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dark & Stormy

no...not the drink you get in Bermuda but what the weather was doing the morning of our Jimmy's Grill 5k in Dewey Beach. I was up at 4:45 am As it got light outside around 5 am i noticed that the birds that usually hang out in my back yard were no where to be seen. I turned on the weather channel and it showed a major storm coming into the area. Around 5:30 am it starting raining....and i mean really raining. Then thunder.....lightning and more heavy rain. My cell phone rings at 6:15 am. It was my liason at the RustyRudder, Meggin ......she asks..."what do we do in case of severe weather? Since the race started at 8 am i told her that i thought the storm would pass by and we just may have to delay the start. And if the storm does not clear out ....we have plenty of beer to drink. Barb and I left our condo at Spring Lake and headed out to place mile markers and set up the course. The turn a round was no problem. But as we continued in the neighborhood of Seabreeze the heavy rain flooded out the neighborhood roads. As i got out of my car to place the 2 mile marker i had to laugh as the water was up to my ankles. Bellevue Street next to the Bottle & Cork was even worse....maybe a 8 to 10" of water. This 5k may indeer turn into a run swim event. We continued to the Rudder. We set up registration under cover and opened on time at 7 am. At 7:40 i made the decision to delay the start 10 minutes. The storm was now gone and the weather was actually pretty nice. We had 48 no shows. We were lucky. ....and all enjoyed the Jimmy's Grill fried chicken and Bud Light at the post race party. Just another day in Dewey Beach. I would bet that the only folks who knew it rained in Dewey that moring were the runners.....everyone else was still sleeping.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chill Out!

Chill out......summer is here and so are high temps and high humidity......as a race director my job is not only to manage and time a road race but to make sure you "the runner" have a safe and enjoyable race. We hire local police to manage traffic (cost around $320).....we hire para medics JUST IN CASE (cost $160)......and we have volunteeers in safety vests on route. We have plenty of spring water at the start, finish and at registration area and we have gatorade at the finish line. When temps are high we bring out our "ice chair" . If you have never sat in the ice chair you really should give it a try. It cools down the core of your body. All you do is place your arms in the packed ice. I love this chair! At the Race for Time 5k on Saturday morning temps were in the low 80's with high humidity. My wife Barb made an announcement as runners headed to the starting line. "All runners and walkers go over to the table of water and drink a cup of water and bring one with you to the starting line." What a great call....even with a water stop on route we try and do our best to get you hydrated. The paramedics were very busy that morning. So please.....drink plenty of fluids before during and after your race.....and don't be afraid to sit in the ice chair.....promise....you will keep your cool. Run safe. See you at the races.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two sets of twins.......

What are the odds of having your male and female overall winners both being a set of twins? This happened at our Kid Shelleen's 5k for Cliff. Overall winner was Kyle Lanier from Lincoln University, Pa. He ran while his twin brother Kareem played good uncle and watched his brothers kids. Justine Barr, 18 years old from Wilmington was the overall female winner while her twin sister Melanie was first in the 14-18 age group. Kid Shelleen's 5k for Cliff was a benefit for the Wellness Community....all 208 finishers and volunteers were treated to what was called, "kegs and eggs" breakfast. Plenty of Michelob Ultra was onhand. Talking about Michelob Ultra I will be announcing a new series for 2009 that Michelob Ultra will sponsor. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Leader of the pack

Ready....set .....go.....But who is going to lead your race so the lead runner follows the correct route? Something many race directors really don't think about but is so very important. You MUST have someone who knows the course lead the way either on a bike, motorcycle or car. When i manage events in the City of Wilmington we always have a motorcyle police office lead the way. Some routes in residential neighborhoods I will lead the race in my vehicle. I have the flashers on and i make sure the volunteers are in the right place prior to the runners getting to them. At our Delaware marathon we have both police officers on motorcycles and bikers leading the mens and womens leaders. Now....when we do our events in Dewey Beach.....we lead our events in the Dewey Beach Police Gator. My wife Barb rides along to make sure the police officer goes the right way. Don't mess with Barb. And don't get in her way....what would I do with out her?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Family affair

One of the most rewarding parts of being in the "race directing" business are the folks you meet. And after 31 years of race directing I have met my fair share. One of my greatest pleasures is to see couples who ran in my races years ago now showing up and running with their kids. One such instance was at this past Saturday's 8th Annual Miles for Molly 5k at Dead Presidents in Wilmington. Dan Frydrych came up to the day of registration table I was working at with his wife Wendy and 15 year old daughter Emily. Dan and Wendy were competitive runners back before Emily was born. Now daughter Emily is joining them.....how cool is that. Dan won the male 50-59 age group in 18:54 a 6:06 pace and Emily placed placed 2nd in the 14-18 age group in 23:51 a 7:42 pace. The Miles for Molly 5k continues to be one of my favorite events to manage. Liz and RT Christopher have raised over $100,000 in the last 8 years from this event. Proceeds go to the Children's Beach House in Lewes. And that is what this is all about. See you at the races.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A streaker

I can tell you what John Sarmousakis from Newark, De has been doing for the last 21 years on Father's Day. My Sprint tri at St. Andrews School. Yep...he has done all 21 events. The only female participant who has done all 21 events is Jerri Myers from Parkesburg, Pa. I always save a spot in the event for the both of them . So to the both of you....i hope to see you next Father's Day in Middletown. This years triathlon went really well. The weather was pretty good....the water was warm.....and the setting just can't be beat. We had a huge turn out from the Dover YMCA ....a group called the Triple Threats joined us. All first time tri athletes. All money raised in this event stays in Middletown. My volunteer crew sets up on Saturday and breaks everything down on Sunday after the race. Then it is off to Rich Nelson's house for a beer or two....take a dip in his pool and pig out on a great spread of food. A really neat way to enjoy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The BIG Check

As a race director it is always nice to be able to give money away....yep.....that is what we call proceeds to the beneficiary. In this case i had the pleasure to contribute $5,000 to the Christiana Care Center for Heart and Vascular Health as part of the proceeds from out CCHS Delaware Marathon. With me in this photo is Timothy J. Gardner, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Heart and Vascular Health and Penny Viqneau, Vice President of the CH&VH. Pretty neat check if i say so myself. As always.....we thank all of you for making this event a success. I have more to say about our 2009 CCHS DE Marathon but that will come at a later time. See you at the races.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

one difficult decision

I had one of my most difficult decisions today....not sure if you know Becky Yencharis. She is now 89 years old and started her running career 29 years ago at the St. Anthony's run. She actually drove herself from her home in Claymont to partake. With temps in the 80's and high humidity i had to be the one to tell her "NO".....I would not allow her to run the 5k. She told me she had an aid to walk run with her but you have to realize ....she is 89 years old and it is hot as hell outside. It would take her about 1:30 that is an hour and a half to finish. That is like me running a ten miler in this heat...NO way Jose. I spoke to her aid.....I said..."ok....take her to penna. ave and back...a half mile out and half mile back...about a mile." Becky agreed. Still she was out there 30 minutes. She finished and said...."i never would have made the 5k." I said..."Becky....you started your running career here....i do not want you to finish your career here." All in all a great day...hot ....humid....and no one had issues with the heat. See you at the races.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm back.....

OK...here goes.....my very own words of wisdom as a race director. I will use this bit of technology to keep you updated on what's new in the world running and walking from a race directors point of view. Feel free to make comments and ask questions. As always.....see you at the races.