4 days away from race day and the phone constantly rings. “Is registration closed?” ‘Can I still get a windbreaker?”
As the phone rings, the beep in my computer alerts me of more emails. Some of them are more registrations on line, some are questions pertaining to the race “do you have babysitting?” “Can I switch my size?” “Can you tell me how to get there?” “I won’t be able to run, can I get a refund?”
Most of these questions can be answered by visiting our website where we have carefully addressed every issue. But as part of the job we accepted when we decided to organize Celebrate Life Half Marathon, we answer every question and smile.
Behind the scenes it’s a different story. Stress is building up as the day approaches. Our dream come true, an increase of 70% over last year has demanded adjustments of food, water, Gatorade and volunteers. And even though the registration has a disclaimer that allows us to only give windbreakers to the first 350, we know the chaos that race day will be if we have to tell 150 additional runners “Sorry, we ran out. We only promised 350”.
So we ordered and overnighted more paying higher prices so that we can avoid the chaos.
I know how that can be. I have been there. “How can you charge me $28 and not give me a windbreaker? If I had known I wouldn’t have come”. And the truth is that it all is fine. The race is a great, well organized event and if there are a couple of disgruntle runners who won’t come again, well, that is fine, others will take their place.
But that is not enough for me. Even though I won’t see 90% of them for another year and out of the 10% that I will randomly bump into at local races, I am only friends with a handful of them, I don’t want any of them to be unhappy. What drives that desire to please everyone at an event I organize?
Behind the desire to please them, is the fear of upsetting them, of them not liking me whether they know me or not. And that fear goes beyond the desire to do a good race.
I am guessing at the bottom of all of this, is the little girl some of us still carry inside who wants to be loved for what she does. “Love me for what I do, not for who I am” it’s an easier way to allow others to only see the façade of the good race director rather than the person behind the stage.
That person will remain safe and won’t get hurt as long as she stays behind the curtain. Unknown to most.
And for now, that is how I like it.
3 years ago