Last year I helped out with a very casual race in North Carolina: Sunset Beach 5K. This year, the race organizer isn't able to make it so he asked me if I could take care of it this year. Gulp. I like being the number-two guy: giving support but ultimately letting someone else take all the stress. Not this time.
The philosophy of the race is casual-casual-casual. No registration, no fees, no bibs... just show up and start running. It also means no budget, so there's a lot of opportunity to improvise.
I decided to add race "medals" this year. In sticking with the overall theme, I got some sand dollars, scribbled "5K" on them with markers and strapped them to a ribbon I found at Joann's Fabrics literally with duct tape and fishing wire. I was kind of pleased with them, at least in concept if not artistry.
I had my first "oh crap" moment yesterday when I realized races typically have men's and women's divisions. So it was back to the surf shop for more sand dollars. I didn't have any more ribbon though, and there is extremely limited shopping in the area. I wound up buying some bows from CVS and unravelling them to make the ribbon.
My biggest struggle last year was dragging 3 gallons of water 1 mile across the beach to the water stop I set up. This year, I'm trying to be smart about it. I went to the local beach bike rental place and asked if they had any bikes with kid trailers or wagons. I explained to them that I didn't need to put a kid in it, just some water and race supplies. They told me their kid carriers had a 100-pound weight limit which was just fine, since I expect to carry about 50 pounds.
The lady at the counter thought for a moment, then went back into the shop area. She was gone for about 10 minutes and came back with a plan for me. They have a bike wagon that is slightly broken that they can fix for me. And it has a 1,000 pound weight limit some could carry anything I wanted in it. I got pretty nervous- what exactly does a 1,000-pound-capacity trailer look like, and does she really think I can pedal it across the sand? She assured me I could. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up the bike this afternoon.
I've been hanging flyers in the local shops and put some on posts right on the beach. I've had a decent number of people ask me about the race, so I think we'll have a good turnout. I'd like to see 100 people, but I'm a little nervous that we might get too many people that they will be hard to manage.
Running a race is more stressful than running a race.