I’ve Made It To Hollywood (Florida)!

Last week I attended the annual Road Race Management Meeting held in Florida. Representatives of all the major races primarily from the eastern half of the United States were in attendance as well as running clubs, media and vendors. Here was my takeaway from the conference:
*Races in general are seeing greater participation numbers. Some races are selling out literally in hours and others are instituting lottery systems. It makes me chuckle thinking about the Boilermaker which keeps its registration open nearly year-long and runners suddenly realize the race is a couple of weeks away and want to register!
*The on-going economic malaise is challenging races regarding sponsorship. This is a serious problem because no large race could finance their event strictly off runners without huge registration fee increases.
*Timing technology continues to evolve. There were a number of companies displaying disposable timing chips. Perhaps the most intriguing were ones that are embedding the timing device into the runners bib!
*Races are continuing to try and ‘green’ their events. This is a real challenge because in general major events assemble thousands of participants for a few days a year consuming countless gallons of water, tons of food and seemingly endless amounts of paper. How do we treat our planet with the same care and attention we give our athletes? The Boilermaker has been fortunate to have local Solid Waste Authority as a partner to promote recycling and the reduction of trash.
The weather in Florida was not great as continual gusting winds made running near the beach akin to running through a sandblast! Now I’ve got to temper my remarks because on that same day my wife (in Utica) was battling through snow flurries to get our youngest son to an in-door lacrosse game.
It’s nice to go to events like this where you can exchange ‘war stories; how about a race who had a train nearly cut through the middle of a race in progress. The Race Director blocked it off with his truck! Sort of makes any of my problems seem small.

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