In the final countdown to Marathon day it is an appropriate time for all of us – NYRR staff, volunteers, and runners – to take a step back and express our thanks to our families and friends who understand and continue to support us in these last days filled with pressure and in many cases anxiety. I know I not only thank my family, but I thank the family and friends of our staff. These are the days when the age old quest for “balance” is put on a hold for a bit. This is the point where every minute for all of us has added value and pressure. So while we might not show it over the final two weeks until Marathon day, it is important for all of us to take a moment to thank our own “support staff” for their understanding and support. Especially good advice for runners as you start to focus (not obsess, of course…..) on your race day ahead.
What’s happening at NYRR as we fly through these last days before the big week? Lots. We rolled off a weekend with a super youth Jamboree at Icahn stadium (over 1,200 kids whipping around the track with the wind swirling around them – thx youth services team!) and cross country event at Van Cortlandt park (thanks Jeff Decker!) as well as lots of marathon, marathon, marathon. If not for the sweats and jeans, you would have thought Saturday and Sunday were weekdays in the offices.
In addition to Marathon, this year there are also several key longer term initiatives requiring focus and attention of a few of us these first days of the week. I hope you’ll see the pay off of those efforts in the coming years.
Put it this way, the days always fly at NYRR, but these days move at warp speed.
While it seems a long time ago, several of us had another dress rehearsal for all of you early Sunday morning as we rode and ran the marathon course. Several on the event team cycled the course as they continue to survey it and groom it for the big day. Our event team cycles the course over and over in the weeks before the race. It is just one of the many, many things they do to ensure we are ready for race day. This crew is tough. Usually leaving NYRR on a weekend morning at 5 a.m. some of the guys like Jim Heim, travel in from the far suburbs – so they are up and out for the ride by 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. – when many of their peers are just heading home for the night. Eric Talve and Jim earn their cool race day jobs – as the course guys – they will ride it over and over again starting in the middle of the night on November 2 – ensuring it is ready for all of you when the start cannons fire.
I join for a few rides each year and was lucky this time to swap my bike for my running shoes and to run from mile 2 to mile 16. You are in for such a treat – it is such a fabulous course with a character all its own. We always return with more ideas to make it even better, but also with respect for all that it is today. Lucky you to embrace every bridge and turn in less than 12 days time!
As the heat is on, the good thing is – as with many things worth working for it life – it will all be worth it. We are the luckiest team in the world to stage this event for you and I am lucky to work with the best team in the business. Our sacrifices pale in comparison to the huge sacrifices many of you and your friends and families have made in preparing for marathon day. Know that your satisfaction and fulfillment on race day are what drives us. Together, with the hope that running will become a way of life for you that benefits you greatly going forward.
You have worked hard to get this far. We are counting on you to start resting up so you can make the most of the big day! Take it easy, Mary