Looking From The Inside In

In my last blog I spoke to those experiences in this year’s Boilermaker that really stood out if I was an outside observer. Today I write about the highlights from the perspective of an ‘insider’ to the race; an insider like me. Like my previous list these are not in any order; just my usual stream of consciousness (or unconsciousness).
• The safest Boilermaker ever. Last year we had 196 medical encounters with our runners either on the course, finish line or post race party; this year we dropped to 108. Nothing made me happier than to see the Docs in the Medical Tent sitting around like the Maytag repairman. Why did it happen? Two reasons; one I know and one I suspect. The first reason; absolutely perfect running weather, 58 degrees at race time. The second reason; smart runners. We went through hundreds of cases of free water and sports drinks at the Expo; I think it paid off.
• The flyover. As magnificent as the flyover was it was literally at the last minute that we received word it would even happen. The general perception from the community was it was dead and my plan was to ‘get ahead of it’ and announce no flyover prior to the race. That’s one announcement I was glad not to make. With the departure of the 174th from Syracuse we will be even more challenged to get aircraft.
• The Today Show. Most people are aware that The today Show was on location to film Vivian White who is running the distance from her home in Illinois to Kirkuk Iraq where her son is stationed. I always get nervous when celebrity types’ come to the race because of the potential of excessive demands on staff/ volunteers. Well, my concerns were unnecessary as they were very easy to work with. Let’s hope when the segment runs in August the Boilermaker gets some play!
• Timing. There, I said it! While I was very confident with the team we had and the new protocols put in place was I at least a little bit nervous; you betcha. I am glad this is finally put to bed!
• The weather. Traditionally I start watching weather forecasts very carefully the Wednesday prior to Boilermaker weekend. It’s my opinion that weather predictions further than 72 hours out have real accuracy problems. While Sunday was looking to be spectacular I was concerned about what we were looking at on Saturday. That day you could feel the energy building up in the air and I felt badly for the walkers who were pelted with large drops of rain at the mid-way point of the course.
I know there was a fair amount of disappointment for our late arrival runners when the decision was made to shut down the Expo early and move the 15k packet pick up to ECR (the start line). This decision was not made on a whim. After taking to two meteorologists and looking at the storm track on T.V. I met with the Expo team and we came to the conclusion to shut down early. Was it pretty; no. It was sort of like trying to make a battleship do a 90 degree turn. While it might have been smoother I still believe it was the right decision.
• Sponsorship/ runner participation: What a difference a year had made with the economy. Races ‘run’ on sponsorship and I had real concerns about retention. Well overall we did OK; lost some and got some. In regards to runners the numbers finally ‘popped’ in late Spring. We ended up with the 2nd largest race and largest amount of participant’s % (89.1) in our 32 year history.
Part II of my observations to follow…

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