A month ago, when Mary Wittenberg shared the news that Paula Radcliffe would be running the marathon again this year, my first words were–well, they’re not words usually heard in polite company.
Let me be the first to assure you that this has nothing to do with my opinion of Paula herself. There aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary to do justice to her awesomeness. I mean, 2:15??????? No, my little hissy-fit had to do with the fact that about 12 hours before receiving the news of Paula’s plans to run in NYC, our editorial team had sent the marathon program to the printer. It was full of exciting predictions about the wide-open women’s race and it had a photo of a male runner on the cover because there were just too many incredible women in the field to attempt to choose the incredible-est among them.
So…we spent the next few days working closely with our extraordinarily accommodating design team to scrap all that and start over, then worked with our printer (also in the ranks of the World’s Most Patient and Understanding) to adjust the printing schedule, then finally worked minute-by-minute with the unflappable Bryan Emerson of NYRR’s business development squad to guide the delayed shipment of 42,000 programs to our fulfillment house, which worked round-the-clock to insert the programs into the goody bags that all of you will receive at the expo when you pick up your race materials.
Thanks to a lot of hard work by EVERYONE, and a few prayers, and amazing communication, it all got done in time, and your beautiful program, with Paula in all her glory (and a flatter stomach than any woman, even a 2:15 marathoner, has a right to 10 months after giving birth) is there at the Javits Center, waiting for you. We hope you enjoy it.
With all the anxiety now in the past, I can sincerely say that I can’t wait to watch Paula storm off the starting line on Sunday. She, too, has an incredible team working with her, and it’s hard to imagine the effort that has gone into their preparations over the past few months. The payoff for her–and all of us–is going to be one heck of a race.