About NATRA Blog

This page is meant for folks to post their thoughts on the Saturday group run. I (Neil) will post a blurb about who showed up and where it was held. From there, I hope that other runners will share their thoughts since we often have different experiences on the same run. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Musings on Lucky 13th Year Directing BBBSF Half/Walk/5K Fun Run

Today I'm feeling more proud than usual about the race I directed yesterday with our Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff Board.  I do not think the event could have gone more smoothly. This was clearly the lucky 13th time.

I cannot remember so many people telling me how they smashed their course PR. There were definitely more smiles crossing the finish line, and I would know, having taken thousands of finish line photos over the past decade. Our Facebook insights of shares, comments, and likes is sky rocketing today and by tomorrow should exceed 20,000 served.

What made this race go so smoothly? More than 75 volunteers who put their heart and soul into the race. While the planning for this event goes on year round for me, the last 72 hours are when it all magically comes together; thought some of you would appreciate what goes on behind the scenes:

Thursday 3-6 PM :   80 runners picked up their bibs, far greater than I expected; mom, Adam, and I were thrilled.

6:30 PM: BBBSF Board barbecue near mile 7, just below the last big hill up to A1 Mountain. Bill Shaler smoked ribs and a roast and we had about 25 board and office worker attend, our best pre-race party to date.

Friday 9 AM-1 PM: course crew gathers with pickup trucks and quads at Chip Ogden's plumbing shop near downtown. I buy the Dog Haus breakfast burritos, we wolf them down, chase them with the first frosty beverage of the day, load up the course marking materials, and head up on Observatory Mesa to carefully put arrows in the right direction. This can be a challenge if you forget which way the runners are heading, when you are driving in the opposite direction. After about 3 hours we drive back across the course, critiquing/poking fun at each others arrows. At the same time, the office sends the Big Brothers Big Sisters truck around town to collecting all the food, water, and gatorade.

4-8:30 PM: Ensure Porta-Potties delivered in right place; Course crew become Italian chefs to cook the pasta ready for packet pick up at 6:30 PM, ready to serve 250 hungry participants. Of course dozens of runners still show up an hour early expecting their bibs to be ready, so I am there gladly reducing one runner at a time before dinner is ready. At 8:15 we load up the truck, with all the supplies, and of course there are always the stragglers who need to pick up their bibs. I oblige and cut it off at 8:30 PM.

9 PM to 11 PM. Charge up both timing machines. Load up civic with registration boxes. Get all awards in back of car.

11 AM to 3 AM: Sleep interrupted by "what am I forgetting?" This time it was the safety vests - go to garage, trip over cat who thinks its time to eat. Shut up Colby.

Saturday, Race Day, 3 AM: Sleep is over-rated. Double check all items loaded in car. Make sure SD card is in camera and not in computer.

4 AM-7 AM: Course crew goes back over the course ensuring nobody has messed with the markings as has happened in past and they set up aid station tables.Position volunteers at aid station.

5 AM-7AM: Run Flagstaff and I set up timing and finish line area; Barricades arrive; Walkers go off at 6 AM, race day registration; Ambulance and Sunny 100 takes their position; Jim Driscoll and I meet with volunteer road guards who will help with traffic control on the downtown streets.

7:30 AM-11 AM: And the race is on! This year my best man David McKee was not feeling well, leaving the door open for me to jump into the Kid's Dash. Finally, I get to participate in one of my events. Dang those kids were out for blood.  While I finished dead last, I still beat David's PR.

11 AM to 11:30 AM: Post photos to Facebook and Picasa for downloading and sharing.

11:30 to 12 PM: Pour over results and make sure no glaring errors, like the walker who did not get switched from half marathon to walker event. Easy catch since I knew the runner.

12 PM to 2 PM: Awards ceremony at Charly's Pub and Grill. Cider tastes soooo good. Thanks to Matt Bial for hosting the great party venue.

2 PM to 5 PM: Pass out.

5 PM; Diana and I order a Pizza. Yum.

8:30 PM: Pass out.Sleep throughout night.

Sunday: Well here I am writing this and compiling ideas/improvements for next year's race. Here we go again. Number 14. August 8th. Mark your calendars.

And of course it goes without saying, next on my plate is Soulstice which along with its usual snows will be here sooner than you think.