This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a whole new way. In fact, the past two months I have had the opportunity to see a race evolve from the ground up.
On March 17, 2012, at the Go Green 10k in Los Gatos, I met the race director of the brand new to Santa Cruz race, Run Surfer’s Path Marathon & Capitola Half Marathon. I introduced myself and said I wanted to help launch the race in any way I could. From that moment forward, I entered into a whirlwind two months of social media promotions as a member of the inaugural race committee with my good friend, who was also the volunteer coordinator for the race, Alisyn.
Together, we kept the Facebook and Twitter pages up to date and helped drum up excitement for this inaugural race. It was great watching the excitement for the race spread from the middle of march when we had about 400 runners signed up, to race day when there were about 1000 runners registered to run the the first year’s events.
This past weekend it all came to a head, starting with the race expo on Saturday in Capitola Village. We had a great group of volunteers, including my good friends Maggie, Alisyn’s beau UMM, and Meg who helped with registration, and a great set of vendors, including our two main sponsors: New Leaf Community Market and Fleet Feet Aptos. Thank you all for helping make this race a real success!
Meg, Me, Maggie & Umm Registering Runners at the Expo
After a loooong day of volunteering, we headed out for dinner and beers to decompress before the main event on Sunday, which for the race committee began at 5am sharp (and for our set up crew…at 4:30am).
We had an amazing set of volunteers, including some of my teammates from Santa Cruz Endurance, Alisyn’s friends from Running Addicts, our friend RussianBear and a number of school/community groups from Santa Cruz who came through in a huge way.
RussianBear with his adorable 2-year old puppy near the Capitola Half finish.
Without all our wonderful volunteers, this race would have never happened with the success it did.
I also had the joy of experiencing this race in the ‘traditional’ way. At about 6:50am Sunday morning, I decided to run the inaugural Capitola Half Marathon. I threw on my bib, chip, and grabbed Meg, and headed to the start.
The race was incredible! From a runner’s standpoint, seeing all the course marshalls along the way, and neighborhood crowds out to support the race was awesome. The aid stations were full of energetic groups who were just as excited to be there as I was to be running.
My one problem on the course? Well, it was personal: my GI tract decided not to cooperate (major fail). I was running a great race for the first 4.5 miles, and the need for the bathroom hit. I clocked it, and I lost 2 minutes. Evenso, by the time I hit mile 7, I was only at 57 minutes. Still on serious pace for a PR! Then, my GI tract acted up again. Another 6 minutes lost waiting for the bathroom at mile 8.5. And with that, my PR slipped just out of reach. And by just out of reach, I mean I finished in 1:51:39…a mere 22 seconds off a PR. Thank you, GI, for ruining my perfect weekend.
I love the Santa Cruz tradition of finishing ON the beach! Its possibly one of the best race traditions we have. And then, there’s a free icebath like 200 feet away…which can’t be beat.
I was still elated with my run, the course, the volunteers, and how well the race weekend had pulled together.
Meg and I at the finish! Congrats to Meg who scored a HUGE PR on the half!
One of the best parts of the course, according to some of our runners, were the cyclists, who helped make sure the leaders didn’t get lost on the course and that the last runners on the course made it in safetly, encouraging them to finish even though aid stations and course markers had started to be taken down.
One of our fabulous two cyclists! They were fabulous!
After my run, I stuck around the finish line, helping get the food out to our finishers, cheering on at the finishline, guiding runners along the course, and helping with tear down and clean up. It was a long day, and weekend, weekend to say the week, but a very very rewarding weekend.
Alisyn and I near the end of the long, but rewarding weekend. We were starting to get tired at this point…
I am so excited at how well the event went, and am excited as we’ve started to plan the event for 2013! I had no idea what exactly to expect from being on the race committee, and I definitely learned a TON about what all goes into a race — from the volunteers, sponsors, man power, organization and promoting a race — to make it a success both for the committee and more importantly for the runners. Seriously, the positive comments we’ve received from our runners for this race have been incredible! Couldn’t have asked for a better outcome!
Did you race this weekend? Have you ever been involved on a race committee or volunteered for one? What was your experience?
**Most of these photos are courtesy of Alisyn or Brightroom Photography (photo thief I am!)***