Monday, April 10, 2017

A day in the life of a race director

This is what I feel like after a race

We had a great first race of the season on Saturday, a fun one to open with, The Seattle Magazine Brunch Run at Magnuson Park. 

I guess my body is not used to race days, this being our first race in a few months. The first one of the season is always hard which is why I thought I would run you through a typical race day experience from my perspective, a brief recap so you can see why I just slept for 13 hours. 

Alarm clock at 0'dark:30 - Force myself out of the warm bed. Try not to wake up my husband or the neighbors as a start the Uhaul in the middle of the night on our very suburban, quiet street. I always whisper an apology to them. 

Grab a coffee at the 24 hour coffee drive through (thank god for those baristas).

Arrive in the park and start doing parking signs, course set up, waterstop set up. Pray that there are no hooligans about to ruin the peace and quiet. Wait for my crew to arrive so I am not wandering the park at 3:00am by myself. 

Set up the course

Start setting up festival area with tents, tables, signs....

Check in vendors, volunteers, make sure set up is happening

Do a registration orientation

Meet the porto-potties guy, tell him where to set up. 

Make sure music/DJ/announcements are starting

Set up race start and finish line

Check on registration lines and bathroom lines

Get course volunteers out onto the course

Get everyone to the start line

Make sure everyone is excited and having a good time

Last minute check in with course staff to make sure everyone is in place

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - GO! 

Hope and pray that the bike lead remembers the course and the signs are still up and the course monitors are still in place and that nobody gets lost or hurt. 

Wait for the first finisher, usually pacing back and forth.

High five the first finishers. 

Break down registration, turn it into results.

Make sure food and water is ready to go.



Clean up course.

Clean up festival area.

Pack up truck.

Unload truck at our storage unit.

Return truck.

Eat. (True story - I once cried after a race because the only thing getting me through that particular race day was the thought of eggs benedict and after the race we were too late, our usual place was not serving breakfast anymore and I stood on the sidewalk and I cried!). 

Go home. This is the tricky bit. I really want to enjoy that shower, I earned that right, but I am usually so tired by this point that I can barely stand to stand. So, usually its a quick one. 

Then, the ultimate best part - sinking down on that couch, putting my feet up, taking a deep breath and then no movement, at all, not even a little bit for at least a couple of hours. Try to rehydrate. Relax. Try to stay awake to watch bad television. Usually fall asleep on the couch. 

But, no rest for the weary. The post-race emails have to go out and results have to be posted in the various places. Jump on the computer and start working again. 

Must. Make. It to 9:00pm. Do. Not. Sleep. Now! 

This particular weekend saw me in bed by 8:00pm and I did not wake up for another 13 hours. I woke up, had some coffee and food, checked email and about an hour later I was back in bed for a nap. 

1 down, 11 to go!! 


  1. I did not run this race, but I do run others you put on (my fav is the Run Scared since my non-running husband loves to do costumes and join me on that one!) and sincerely appreciate what you do for these. I'm a teacher, so on some level I kinda understand how much work has to go on behind the scenes for the magic to happen, but hearing about what all you do is eye-opening! Thanks for all you do and making my preferred form of recreation possible.

  2. Thank you Leigh! I appreciate the support and the we really do it all for you!!

  3. Wow! Very enlightening to hear how much effort goes into making a smooth, fun race day experience. Thanks for sharing!