The race director explains how the last week leading up to the race is for him.
DAVE MCGILLIVRAY, for Runner's World
As the race director of the Boston Marathon, what is it like for you, Dave, during this final week of preparation for the Boston Marathon?
Usually, not too bad. A lot of it depends on the weather forecast. If all is looking good, we are usually very much prepared for the day. If it looks like Mother Nature is going to pull a fast one on us like she did with the Nor'easter in 2007 or the inferno last year, then we need to begin the process of considering Plan B or C and start ramping up for the challenge.
During this final week, most of the committees are meeting for one last time, mainly to review their plans and to tighten up any loose ends. We hold our final Organizing Committee meeting, as well as security, start, medical, and public safety meetings. Given the level of expertise and years of service that our team collectively have invested in this race, everyone knows very well their role and responsibilities and are anxious to "get 'er done!"
By mid-week, everything is in full swing in terms of finally "executing" the plan we all have been working on for almost 12 months. Everyone has their "game face" on while going about their duties. Given that everyone is heading in somewhat different directions now, some of us may not even see each other for days. Divide and conquer at its finest. Emails and phone calls actually begin to slow down as everyone is out and about doing their part.
For some of us, there are a number of functions we are obligated to attend if time permits and only if all is going well with the execution of the plans...receptions, the expo, registration, and pasta dinner, just to name a few. The last few days are like a blur...go, go, go.
The night before the race I personally try to find some quiet time by myself and mentally go through race day step-by-step to ensure I am not forgetting anything and have everything locked in my mind. No time to take out notes and manuals to review on race day—either you know it or you don't. A good night's sleep is important, too, so we are rested and relaxed come race morning. We owe that to ourselves and even moreso to all the runners so we can be at the top of our game.
People ask, "Do you get nervous on race day? Do you feel a lot of pressure?" If I know we have prepared well and if the weather cooperates, then no, I do not. As for pressure, I've always said that pressure is a privilege, especially when directing this world-class race. Once the gun fires and the race is underway, there is a little sense of relief now that it is almost out of our hands and what will be will be. Again, if we have planned well, all will go well.
And now I am getting psyched for race day just writing all this. See some of you on Marathon Monday!