Boston Prep 16 Miler draws 350 runners
After Saturdays snowfall, the air on race morning was clear and cool. By the 10:00 a.m. start, the temperature had risen to the mid-30’s, and while the sky was overcast, the sun peeked through at times. All in all, a great day for a race!
Jim Johnson, of Madison, NH took first place honors for the men, with a time of 1:33:25. He was followed by Samuel Fazioli of Salem, NH (last year’s first place finisher) at 1:34:49 and Timothy Catoggio of Boston, MA at 1:35:07.
First place honors for the women went to Christine Shaw of Manchester, NH with a time of 1:42:34. Leslie O’Dell followed at 1:45:45 and Kathleen Michaud at 1:48:13.
– Greater Derry Track Club
Tim Catoggio and I work together so he gets the shout out with a finish line photo. Tim drove up in a borrowed car and had to leave before the awards were presented. The overall winners and age group winners were presented with a bottle of New Hampshire maple syrup. Buddy would be jealous!
We prepared for the race in the gym at Running Brook Middle School. Most runners were in the cafeteria where there were tables and chairs. We sat on the bleachers.
The crowd seemed small but we figured most people were sitting in the cafeteria. It turns out that only 350 people ran the race this year. They promised shirts to the first 700 and capped the race at 900 runners.
Someone told me that there is a near-by 5K that has attracted a lot of runners. I didn’t see another race in the area that day on Cool Running. Something is keeping runners away.
The course is very challenging and I walked on several hills. I was not prepared for this race, and I knew it when I signed up.
The challenging course keeps many from signing up. The bad weather probably kept some registered runners from showing up, and cut down on race day registrations as well.
Race Director’s Challenge
This is one of the challenges of organizing a race. You can’t predict race day weather when a date is set. If it rains, snows, freezes or a ‘Nor Easter shows up, what are you going to do?
A competing race can pop up, or a race can loose it’s appeal. For one reason or another the running crowd moves on.
There are many factors that determine registrations and race day turn out. Some cannot be predicted and some factors are un-knowable.
The Fred Brown Winnipesaukee Relay race was cancelled after 25 years. I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve heard it was due to a diminishing pool of volunteers. Over 25 years, I’m sure “Winnie” had it’s weather challenges also.
I’m always looking for races and every now and then I find one that has been cancelled. Sometimes it is due to a loss of interest from the running community, lack of volunteers or the person behind the event has decided to move on.
Organizing a race is a lot of work. The larger the race the harder the work. For a person or group on a mission to raise money for a cause dear to their hearts, the results can be disappointing if everything doesn’t go their way.
I certainly hope that “Derry” won’t go the way of “Winnipesaukee”. For the organizers it has to be disappointing when only 350 out of 900 bibs run the race.
When the number of runners diminish for a given race, the returns for the race director also diminish. After many long hours and months of planning, the check to the sponsored charity can be a let down.
The Melrose Running Club produces two races. We raise a lot of money with a lot of help from volunteers, the community and local businesses. Giving those big checks to some very deserving groups is what makes me proudest of being a member of this club.
If we were not able to draw the large crowds and get the large donations from area businesses, the results would not be as gratifying.
There are certain expenses a race will incur whether they sell out or not. Police details, facilities and equipment rentals. The timing and registration company usually gets paid per runner, but has a minimum.
Shirts usually aren’t an issue as the sponsors often cover this cost and want as many printed as possible. They are paying for this advertising and want all the shirts given out. Derry had atleast 300 left over shirts this year.
How medals can effect returns
Finisher’s medals are paid for in advance and un-used medals cannot be returned. Derry doesn’t have a finisher’s medal so that wasn’t an issue for them. If they did have a medal they would have ordered atleast 700 and possibly 900 medals.
Using Derry as an example with the following assumptions, here is how the numbers might work.
Derry ordered 700 medals
400 runners signed up and 50 staid home, for a total of 350 finishers
Derry had 300 unpaid for medals
They would have lost $600 on a cheap medal and $1,200 on a decent medal.
That is a lot of money to loose on a race that size and for all of that work.
These losses happen all the time. Shirts may be paid for by sponsors and food may be donated by local businesses, but medals are paid for up front and cannot be used elsewhere.
The expense of medals for all finishers can be a significant budget item. That is why many 5Ks no longer provide a finishers medal. If a race ends up with more medals than runners, that expense comes right off the bottom line.
I hope that the Derry16 Miler continues. We were all challenged and we all had a good time.
Run well my friends,