Warning: I must admit, this is boring if you are not a runner. Okay, this is boring even if you are a runner.
Since I became involved in running, I have played different roles. I never realized that the easiest of them was to be a runner.
As a runner I am responsible for nothing more than myself. My level of performance affects no one but me.
I also, a few years later, became a race director. First to small races and now to a major race which I co-direct with another runner. The level of responsibility has switched from myself to all 600 (or possible 700) participants. My performance or lack of can affect all participants and also my partner who shares the same level of responsibility and stress with me. It is challenging. We, at times, receive the rage of a disgruntle runner who didn’t find any of the 12 port-a-potties or missed the 400 bagels, the pounds of bananas or the trays of ziti, chicken and pizza or didn’t like his goodie bag or his windbraker was not the color he/she would have preferred.
More recently, I became involved in timing races. My performance now can affect all the runners, AND the Race Director. And runners do not hesitate to let you know they are unhappy. I never knew we could be so ruthless.
I timed my first face a few weeks ago. It was basically three races in one; an early start, an 11.5 mile race and a 5k race, By the grace of God, I did it successfully. But in the middle of my work, a man approached my table screaming “the results are all wrong, all wrong. You’re screwing up everything! I ran the 5K and I am not there!”
I promised him I would look him up and resolve the issue, whatever it was. Occasionally a chip does not register over the mat. I took his bib # as he walked away and moved to a group of people to tell them about my low performance. One of the runners in the group seeing the stress in my face looked at me with compassion. She smiled at me.
I found out the disgruntle man had been entered in the longer race and therefore he did not show in the 5K results. Easy fix and obviously a data entry error on my part. Correction was made and results reprinted. But then… I decided to look for his entry form and YES! He had circled the incorrect race!!! I walked away from my table with the paper in my hand and broke into the circle where he was spewing his rant. “You see this?” I said firmly pointing to the 11.5 race. He smiled obviously embarrassed “ohh ohh I made a mistake, it’s okay Honey”….It’s okay???? Honey???
I walked away as the group of runners gave me an approval smile… YES!
I never knew that the easiest thing for me was being a runner. Everything else requires good performance. Running doesn’t.