For a self-proclaimed non-runner, there’s one race through the streets of his home town that M pours his heart and soul into every year. His father was one of the original organizers in 1977, and ran the show for many years. The race has grown to over 7,000 participants since then, draws elite runners (Ryan Hall holds the course record), and has been featured in Runner’s World magazine as one of the top 100 races in the U.S.
My inlaws are full of stories about the race- like spending hours putting together swag bags, having to eat dinner on TV trays because their entire kitchen table was covered in piles of completed registration forms, and having to take the dog to the vet because he ate some of the bibs and safety pins…. etc, etc. It was always M’s job to help his dad hang the posters around town.
When M’s father passed away, it was Uncle Rick who took over the show. Now he’s gone, so it belongs to his sons and nephews this year. They’re determined keep it in the family, so M is in NY this week working with the rest of planning committee. M will be in charge of staging the start of the race (it was his dad’s idea to institute the wave starts, so he's most interested in that part). He's also busting out his old design skills to create this year's t-shirt.
He means well, bless his little heart
I often wonder what M’s dad was like. As I’ve mentioned before, M doesn’t talk about him much. It’s a shame we never got to meet. I think we would have gotten along really well.
Do you have any special traditions for honoring the memories of loved ones?
If you've ever organized or volunteered at a race, have any tips to share?