Weather, cars on the course, and having enough water are just a few concerns.
DAVE MCGILLIVRAY, for Runner's World
As a race director, what are the things you most worry about that keep you awake at night? - Karen D.
I could write a book on this one! Runners just need to worry about themselves; race directors, however, need to be concerned about thousands of runners. There are so many components of a race that need to miraculously all come together in order to have a successful event. The areas that worry me the most include:
- The weather. It's just about the only thing you can't control but that wreak havoc on your event. The best you can do is to plan for the worst (weather) and hope for the best. The two conditions I worry the most about are extreme heat and/or significant wind.
- Runners going off course. This doesn't happen too often, but when it does, it is both dangerous and embarrassing. It doesn't matter whose "fault" it is. However, as race directors, we need to be sure that it is clear to all participants which way to go, especially the leaders and those in the back of the pack and especially at newer races with complex courses.
- Running out of water. It is always challenging to calculate exactly how much you need at each water station along the course. If you underestimate either the amount of water or the number of cups and run out, it is not a good thing for the race or for the runners, especially if it's a hot day.
- Medical issues. The one area I'd rather have more support than not enough is medical coverage. Although it is exciting to see increased interest in our sport, some participants have not prepared properly for the distance and end up getting into trouble out on the course. When that happens, it becomes our problem.
- Cars on the course. Full course close closure is ideal; however, anyone can get in a car that may be parked on the course and drive away or back out of their driveway right onto the course. As much as we try to alert folks about the race, you always worry there is going to be one who just does not get it.
- Not enough volunteers. For some races, recruiting volunteers is fairly painless. For others, it's a real struggle. You need what you need and anything less will put your race at significant risk.
So, you ask, do race directors sleep the night before a race? Well, some do, some don't. And some just think sleep is overrated and so it just doesn't really matter much anyway.