Last year we were happy to have 35 or 50 runners. We did a good job and all the participants had a good time. (When I say good time, I am not judging their speed; I am saying they had fun.) I figured we could do the same good job for about 3 times that many runners and everyone would still have fun.
Just when I was thinking of how to make the public more aware of these races I met Steve Lastoe
(AKA: Steve at NYCRUNS.COM). We promoted the race series on his website and decided to try advance registration. About 20 people paid in advance for the entire series and our first race had 96 people. Yea! Our next race had more and our third race had almost 200!
But we had problems. The system we used to score the race that worked great for 50 or 100, did not really work at 150 or 200 runners. We were not able to accurately match the finisher’s times and their bibs. We added a finish line “shoot” so we could better gather the bibs but that had problems too. This is about to get very technical, so if you really want to know more or have any solutions please join the Race Committee. I also don’t want to dwell on the negative because the Summer Speed Series was a huge success.
It was a success on many levels.
• It was a financial success. We have not finished counting the proceeds yet, but I think each race made more money than all of last years races.
• It was a success for the runners. Many ran all of the races and reported personal records or improvements over the summer.
• It was an organizational success. The Race Committee was able to adapt our method of scoring to provide quick and accurate results.
But it was really a success because of the volunteers who showed up without being asked and did things without being asked. For example: With the race to start in 5 minutes I realized that it would be a good idea to set up the finish line. I looked behind me to see that it had already been set up, but a volunteer that I did not even know was there. Or after I carried the clock, megaphone, and the timing computer to the start and realized I did not have a fourth hand to sound the air horn I looked around and saw two PPTC teammates with their hand out saying “Michael, Can we help you?”
What I am trying to say is that this very successful race series was the result of the hard and smart work of the volunteers from the Prospect Park Track Club. I might have been the “face” of the event” but this was truly a team effort.