Talk to the Handbook

Not that I’m a fan of one-upping, or I suppose in this case it would be two-upping, but if Sara’s the PR Girl and Ed’s the Web Guy, then I’m going to brand my marathon-reporting persona as “Official Marathon Handbook Maven,” or “Handbook Maven” if you prefer shortcuts (and I do).

Although not an entirely accurate synopsis of my NYRR editorial duties, for better or worse, the Official Marathon Handbook has helped define me at NYRR. For the past two years, I have been the project manager, editor, and writer of the handbook. A sly minx, the handbook has been my ticket into upper-management meetings (where the lowest of the downlow is dished); it has exposed me to the good, bad, and ugly that results from gathering every bit of minutiae about our premier event from its many orchestraters; it has made me a target of feedback about inconsistencies, errors, vagueness, compliments, and details that underwent a metamorphosis since printing. The introduction of wave starts this year brought about massive logistic changes that necessitated my unleashing nearly every writer-editor-task manager trick I had to get the book printed and the information ready to launch on the website.

Somewhat of a marathon runner myself (more on this later), I suspected that I shared the popular view of any race handbook: A reference guide for the occasional question (line up at the start, follow the course, don’t do anything stupid, then finish…what’s there to know?), a coaster, a recyclable. But a couple of weeks ago, I saw a woman on the subway reading the handbook. I mean serious—furrowed brow, page flipping, pointing things out to her friend sitting next to her—reading. If you too would like to jump on the handbook-reading bandwagon, click here for the online version.

Although we all work year-round on the marathon, it often remains this far-off thing during the winter and spring months. The more than 50 other NYRR races keep us occupied until mid-summer, when “marathon” becomes a term that’s uttered at least once a week by most. For me, “marathon” has long been haunting my days and nights, as I begin work on the handbook in early April.

The handbook was my jack-o-lantern this year—spooky, menacing, traditional, and a mischievous sign of things to come.

More (less about the handbook) to come, HM.


3 Responses to Talk to the Handbook

  1. E-liz says:

    I didn’t get mine in the mail yet, but printed it, stapled it, read it up and down, and even highlighted parts and took notes. As stressful as a marathon is for some of us (mostly if it’s the first one!), the handbook proves that everything looks as if every single detail has been taking care of and all we have to do is show up on time; this gives me a lot of peace of mind these days!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. HM says:

    Makes me happy to read this! Thank you and best of luck to you.

    Yea, that makes two confirmed handbook readers!

  3. Jessica Purcell says:

    Another faithful reader here! I think I have read through that thing in its entirety about five times already. It’s become very comforting to look at in these last couple of angst-ridden weeks before the race. Thank you!

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