The final days before the event are a whirlwind, but, Dave says, “This kind of pressure is a privilege.”
By: Dave McGillivray, for Runner's World
The Boston Marathon is a little less than a week away, and all’s going well. As a little trick, I always pretend an event will happen a few weeks before it actually does, so it all should be over by now, right?
I actually complete everything I can do in advance so I’m able to dedicate the final week or so to troubleshooting and making myself available to anyone who needs me. (And writing this blog, of course.)
During race week, my mind is constantly on the race. I’m thinking about it almost 24/7. As each day passes, I have 24 hours less to get everything right and to think of all the contingency plans and the “what ifs.”
This final week is also when we have a more accurate forecast of what the weather might look like. It’s time to start implementing the plans that address the most probable weather conditions.
I am always asking myself, Did we do everything we possibly could do to ensure the highest quality event? What am I forgetting? Even with only a few days to go, what can we do better? What can we do to enhance the experience for all the runners? It becomes a delicate balance between wanting to implement a new idea at the last minute and having the patience to say, “Maybe we should hold off until next year for that one.”
Today, I am reviewing checklists—no different than an airline pilot before takeoff. As I cross things off, I’m coming up with new things to add. It’s a vicious cycle that won’t end until the starting gun fires on race day. I’m carrying my small handheld voice recorder with me everywhere I go (whether running, driving, or just working) and recording any good thoughts or ideas I can muster up.
I’m also following up with everyone involved in the logistics of the race. I trust them, but we are all human. We can forget things or miscommunicate. For me, the goal is always to prevent fires instead of having to put them out.
I have my “game face” on now, as does everyone else involved. As New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick often says to his team, “Just do your job.” Doing my job is all I am focusing on now. It will all be over before we know it. And then it will be time to start planning next year’s race.
Even with all these final checklists and follow-ups, my thoughts always revolve around how grateful I am to be in this role. People ask me all the time if it is a lot of pressure to direct the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world. My response has always been, “This kind of pressure is a privilege.”
I will see a lot of you at the starting line! Weather is looking good, too!
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