Growth is a beautiful thing. This year, we added nicer shirts, we added finisher medals, and we added a second race. The results couldn’t have been more positive. This nearly doubled the number of runners for our club's race. If the weather had cooperated a little better, it would have been thumbs up all around. But with the snow hitting Charlotte and the week postponement, we had several runners that couldn’t make it. We did our best to work with them on an amerceable solution.
As with those early years of youth, growth also brings growing pains. We realize that our awards didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked. We also took note of the feedback about congestion on the course as the 4k and 8k runners attempted to navigate our double loop. We love the double loop concept because family and friends get to support their runners numerous times over the course of the race. This isn’t something that most race make possible. We will definitely work on ideas to make this better for next year.
But rest assured we are focused on more than these two areas. We are focused on gathering every bit of feedback possible about our race. All of it will go into making next year’s race even better.
On a more personal note, I am frequently asked why I do it. Why I do spend this time helping with the Winter Classic? After all, I don’t get paid for it. Our club gets nothing out of it. We donate our proceeds to the “Partners for Parks” fund.
It is somewhat of a hard question to answer because they don’t see the intangibles that I see. Yes, there is untold number of hours chasing down every task to make sure it gets done. There is the racer that doesn’t have the great experience and wants to share every detail of it with me. There’s answering the same question 50 times or 100 times and doing it with a smile and a pat on the back. The list of why "not to" could go on and on.
Really, I do it for a few reasons. First, I like helping create events. There is just something awesome about taking an idea and making it real. Few people in this world take the time to shape the world around them in some way. This is my effort to do so.
Second, there is the sense of accomplishment. Saturday evening around 6 pm, I set down my sofa and turned on my TV. I wasn’t really watching it. My eyes were closed, and my thoughts were drifting back over the events of the day. I couldn’t help but feel a huge sense of pride in what our club had accomplished.
Last and probably most important to me is seeing the runners that made our race a part of their lives. From the youngest runner sprinting to the finish line to the oldest runner making their way over the course to the vendors, families, and friends, it’s like a huge social where we all get to smile, have fun, and play like we are all kids again.
As I wrap of this post, I need to give some major kudos to our race committee. Lori made things happen on race day. Jeannette was everywhere getting us pizzas to handing out medals. Steve is our volunteer coordinator. He does more than I probably even know about, and we will miss him when we moves to Florida later this year. Gurmit, he just jumps in and makes it happen no matter what the task. Last but definitely not least, there is Mike who without his direction and leadership, I am not sure our Winter Classic would happen. He is the key stone that makes everything work.
Finally, to all of the runners participating in our Winter Classic, you all are awesome, and I cannot thank you enough for coming out to our race. You guys are the best.
The Cool Down Runner