I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Race Director


Race Directing is a skill, I think. Some of those skills are obvious from the gecko (that should really be get go) and some can be perfected with practice. And some might never get it.  

I timed a race the other day. Timing is the other side of racing that  runners don’t see, but expect and in this story, what race directors don’t know, but expect.  

I received a phone call from the race director of a race I was to time the following morning. “What time will you start marking the course?” Marking the course? I replied unsure of her question. “Yes” she replied in out of breath voice, “I’m walking the course with my husband and I don’t know where runners should go and I don’t have that device used to mark courses” 

“The course is measured and you mean you want to mark the miles for the runners, I assume”
 “Yes” she replied.  I offered my GPS and said I would bring it with me. Someone should be able to run or bike the course with it and mark first, second, third mile. Little did I know there was no first, second and third mile to be marked. 

Wait on that comment.  

When I got to the race, the RD asked for safety pins. “I don’t have any” I replied. She quickly let me know how disappointed and unhappy she was. “Did you request them or were they offered by the timing company?” 

No. She replied confident. “I assumed you would bring them with you”. I wanted to say what my mind was thinking *no, moron, you go to Walmart and get a box like the rest of us RDs do, that’s the job of the registration table unless you request it of the timing company* 

She then took me to the registration table so I could show her how to give a registered participant their bib and chip. I gladly assisted. As I was leaving she said “how are today’s people going to get in your system?” 

“I will get that information from the registration application.” 

“Where are the registration applications? I don’t have any. You didn’t give them to me” She said.

I’m sure the registration table has them I replied sensing her stress building.

“No, we don’t have any. I thought you’d bring them.” I paused trying to find the right words to tell her that is one of the very first things created for a race by the RD. My mind really wanted to say *No, bitch, you are the race director. I am not part of your organization, I time your race.*

“I’m sorry, usually RDs have their own application, you need a waver and usually the logo, instructions, things the Timing Company wouldn’t know” I said trying to sound sympathetic instead of annoyed.

Minutes later she runs to my desk, “you will tell runners where to go, right?”

I blinked twice and shook my head once, “I don’t know the course at all, I can’t direct your runners. The course is layed out, right?”

“No, the path is only 1.3 miles. What’s a 5K?

*You are asking me what a 5K is??? Did you at least google the damn thing?*

“No one remembers what it was last year” *Oh God, so you don’t have a map or at least an idea?* “I walked it yesterday with my husband and I don’t know where they should turn around”

*you waited until the evening before to walk the course? What race director does that?  you stupid moron*

 “Tell me how many times they should go around?  3 times, right? 3.9 will be okay?”

*yes, if that’s what they intended to run. Try to explain to a 5K runner why their pace is .8 slower*”

“No, it’s not okay. You are going to run into a lot of problems like that.” I offered.

“Then tell me what I should do”.

I looked at her perplexed. *I can tell you what I need to do, sit at my station and work on what I get paid to do*.

“You need to cut off .8 from the distance to make it a 3.1, so if they….” She stared at me with a blank look in her eyes. “Never mind, I’ll mark the turnaround for you”. I ran to .26 and put a few of my cones there marking the place where runners would have to turn around TWICE. “Get a volunteer there”.

“You will do the announcements for me, right?”

*Me??? You haven’t done anything, why not take the credit now?”

I kindly (believe me, it was getting hard to be kind) explained the RD should do the awards, it is how you connect with your audience after the race. She agreed to find “somebody else”.

At the starting the multifaceted RD asked “What do I do now?”

You say GO!

The runners went off, about 30 some with no age that the RD forgot to get to me, but in the end it all miraculously worked out.

I wanted to cut the woman a slack, after all it was a great cause, ovarian cancer. I asked “Such great cause, what’s your connection?”

“Me? I saw the posting and applied and got the job”

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