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.