There’s nothing I love more than a walk through the finish line long after the race is over. Physically and mentally exhausted from the fifteen-hour day that started at 3AM, I can still hear the voice of the announcer in my head as I watch cars begin to flow where thousands of people crossed the finish line earlier in the day. There’s still a few pieces of debris floating in the wind, but other than that, life is back to normal.
Earlier in my career, I often doubted the significance of the work I did as an event professional. While I was in graduate school in Boston, I was surrounded by people doing something ‘significant’ with their lives. They were doctors, lawyers, financial analysts, you name it – and I here I was, just trying to start a little event management company. I wondered how I could make a positive impact as well.
It wasn’t until I befriended Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray that I began to learn the importance of the work that we do. He taught me that race directors are all “in the business of raising the self-confidence and self-esteem of millions of people”. All one must do is stand at the finish line of any race to witness the greatness of the human spirit.
People don’t just roll out of bed one morning and think, Today I’m going to run a marathon, or, Today I’m going to do a century ride. There seems to be a higher calling that motivates someone to do something that crazy – a mother or sister stricken with breast cancer, a fallen family member in Iraq, or even just a commitment to oneself to make a transformation to a healthier lifestyle. Whatever the motivation, hundreds of thousands of participants run, bike, swim, and leap over obstacles for a greater purpose each year.
As I stand there after a race is cleaned up, I think to myself, Wow, we did it! We pulled it off! It is mind-blowing to see all the planning, all the decisions, and all the people that came together at the same place for the same reason to create this thing we call an event. The past twelve months of hard work has finally paid off. It’s in this very moment that I realize my passion for the work we do: I absolutely love the process of creating something from nothing that truly changes people’s lives forever.
Even though our races start and finish, the impact we make lives on forever. Earlier in my career, a friend of mine emailed me a link to a YouTube video of someone that had run my marathon in Denver, Colorado. I had worked tirelessly on this event for over a year and was questioning whether it had all been worth it. I was going through the dreadful post-event emails when I came across this one: “Isn’t this your race Anton?” it asked. It included a link to the following video:
Take a few minutes to watch the video. How does it inspire you? Pause to think of the impact you make as a race director, then let us know how our team at RaceHQ can support your efforts to create spectacular events that change people’s lives forever.