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 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 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 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 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 will keep your cool. Run safe. See you at the races.