Race Day Tidbits
Race Day advice started with last week’s e-mail and will continue until race day. You are one of just over 1.000 runners! Simply the sound of that is exciting! We all know the elevated levels of positive energy, anticipation, even jitters that come with the days leading up to the race and they peak just before the air-horn starts the race at 8:00 a.m. Oh yeah! Just the thought makes my spin tingle.
If the weatherman is right, we’re looking at slightly cloudy, 46 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and around 60 degrees for the awards ceremonies on race day. You can’t order much better weather.
Upon Arrival – Parking
Our parking crews will be out early on race day to direct you when you arrive on campus. This is our 10th year and we have the process pretty well nailed down. A couple of things: we know you’ll be excited and we do our best to make things as easy as possible. There are a lot of parking volunteers, they do this once a year and they’ll be almost as excited as you. Please honor their directions and park where they direct you. We spread the cars out to maximize traffic flow and park as many people as possible in a short amount of time. What that means is you may be asked to park somewhere that makes absolutely no sense to you.
In the early years some runners missed the 8:00 a.m. start because they were still sitting in their cars out on the road while we parked cars serially as close to the festivities as possible. The absolute farthest you may have to walk is less than 5 minutes and less than 2 if you run (I’ve had to walk 10 minutes to get to the festivities for other races I’ve run). Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. One other thing, please don’t hit any of our volunteers with your car. Yes, it has happened in the past. Everybody is excited!
The first thing I look for when I get out of my car at a race is a Port-a-Pot because I nervously drink about 20 gallons of water on the drive. There will be a couple Port-a-Pots in the parking areas. If using one isn’t an emergency there will be an entire bank of Port-a-Pots just beyond where you sign-in, about 65 in total. If there’s a line 3 or 4 deep in the parking area you’ll probably be able to walk to another one and go right in, up until around 7:20 that is. By 7:20 all the Port-a-Pots are in pretty heavy use. After the start of the race the first water stop is 2 miles with 2 Port-a-Pots. Guys – we appreciate it if you use the port-a-pots and not our bushes. Plus there are men and ladies changing tents, again, mostly guys, please use a changing tent, no-one needs to be moon’d. Yes, that’s happened in the past as well.
If you want to re-hydrate after a port-a-pot visit, bottles of water will be available in the big white recovery tent.
A Good Crowd
You will need to know your Bib Number to pick up your packet. We distribute packets by Bib Number as opposed to name. All the Bib Numbers will be posted on the wall as you enter the tent to pick up your packet. However, the quicker and simpler way is to look it up ahead of time. Registration is closed and we will post the final list of Bib Numbers before 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 9th. If you registered before March 30th you can look up your Bib Number now, otherwise please check the website Monday evening. Both the Bib Number and the Runners Guide links are at the top of the home page.
As of March 1st we have to order all the SWAG in order to get it in time for race day. That means we have to guesstimate the number of people that will register between March 1 and the day of the race. If you registered after March 1st we ask that you pick up your shirt after you finish so we can honor those who registered early. We had to guess your shirt size. I got the wrong shirt size once because I arrived just before the start and they didn’t have my size. It was one of my early races and I had registered about a week after they opened registration almost a year before.This is a pet peeve of mine. We guarantee you get the size shirt you ordered if you register before March 1st. We believe will have enough shirts in all sizes. Please do not give our volunteers a hard time if you registered after March 1st and they ask you to come back later for a shirt. They are just following my orders. You can blame me if you must.
If you try to e-mail us this week we ask for your graciousness ahead of time. This is a very, very, very busy week for all of us. We’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.
We use past experience for final projections when we order SWAG, bibs and chips. This year more people signed up after March 1st than in previous years so we had to cut off registration. We’re capped out so you’ll be running with a good crowd!
Where It All Happens
The Starting Line, the Finish Line and all the festivities are in the same spot. There’s a campus map on page 10 of the Runners Guide. It’s strongly suggested that you read the Runner’s Guide ahead of time. It’s an informational guide not a bunch of advertisements. There are hundreds of volunteers and they will be wearing bright Lime Green Hats (it’s also our Finisher’s Hat so you’ll get one at the finish line). There’s an Information Booth and much more.
We’ve become known for 2 things other than a beautiful course which stem from the same root, (1) organization of the race and (2) extreme friendliness. We’re a 55 and over community (if you’re 55 or over and you’re looking for a fabulous lifestyle in the years ahead, do yourself a favor and come visit us sometime to learn more). We have teams of people focused on the campus, dining, wellness (hence pool, hot tub, showers) and a lot of other areas, that’s the source of the organization and since people over the age of 55 tend to focus more on family and relationships our volunteers, quite simply, are happy to see you and they go out of their way to make sure you have a wonderful experience. Please feel free to stop, talk and engage with both our volunteers and each other. We actually think about stuff like that, for example, the tables at the pasta dinner and in the recovery tent are round because they make it easy to talk to the people you’re sitting with.
10th Anniversary Year
You picked a great year to run! It’s our 10th Anniversary so it’s a special year. If you’re running 26.2 you have the honor of participating in the final year of the marathon. Beginning in 2019 we’ll be focusing all our energies on a Half Marathon and a 10K. Our marathon registrations have been dropping over the years and when we dug into it we discovered that fewer of us are running marathons (myself included) and there are fewer people taking up the challenge. There are less marathoners and there are a lot more marathons to choose from. Plus, we bump right up against Boston. The Half has emerged as the shining star and by focusing on it we hope to provide a wonderful running experience for more people in the years ahead. Marathoners, we hope you’ll come run our half as a training run in the future. Marathoners both you and the half runners will qualify for a Road Apple Award again this year. In years to come, The Road Apple Award will remain as an award that can be achieved by running the Garden Spot Half and the BIH Half in the same calendar year.
Packet Pick-up and Pasta Dinner
Friday Packet Pick-up is from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. and the Pasta Dinner starts at 4:00. I encourage you to come if you can. It gives you a jump on Saturday, takes off some of the edge, plus our dining services team does a fantastic Pasta Dinner. On top of that a number of our Amish Friends have booths at the expo. If you bring a dozen old shirts along Mrs. Fisher will turn them into a quilt for you. If this is your first trip to the area two Lancaster County favorites include Shoe Fly Pie and Whoopie Pies. Make sure to try them while you’re here. Friday night is a great way to jump start the weekend.
The Kids Marathon runs Friday night at 6:00 p.m. – for the kids who are running, you get into the pasta dinner free with a paying adult.
The race is just a week away and while you might feel like a wimp, I always do, keep those runs short and slow this week. The goal is to give your body a short breather to fully restore and rebuild itself after a season of training so that you can go out and have the best run ever!
See you next weekend!
Scott – rd