One of the more interesting things that has happened over the last couple of years has been the process of getting to know the running industry. It’s a small world as it turns out.
When I first launched NYCRUNS – there was a lot more content, particularly blogs, and a lot of it fairly negative and as you might imagine much of it was criticism of NYRR. One of the first things that I learned was that a lot of what I thought I knew – I was wrong about. Some of this was the typical complaints you hear about (or might make yourself), but others were things that local race directors blamed them for, when they really had no one to blame but themselves.
As it happens, NYRR has been incredibly kind to NYCRUNS. A lot of that has been just plain openness which is not common in a “competitive” landscape and has been incredibly valuable to us as a small business still finding itself. Recently, it has been more obvious as many of you noted in this article. I’m incredibly grateful for this and I’m looking forward to building more bridges between NYCRUNS and NYRR. I hope one day we are able to do great things together. I love what NYCRUNS does but NYRR is a treasure and I want to help it shine.
I mention all of this because immediately after the marathon I flew down to Savannah to spend some time with the leaders of this sport at the Running USA conference. Being able to talk to these folks is incredibly valuable to me at this point as I make decisions that will determine what NYCRUNS continues to become. At this point – we’re a real business and I have salaries to pay – that’s a scary responsibility and I still have a lot to learn about the running business – believe me!
When we started doing this – I was flailing around. Local timers – the only resource I had were not really helpful. I think they could see where this was going even if I couldn’t and were not interested in helping me drink their milkshake. Going to NYRR didn’t really make any sense either. So, we flailed. It was a process though and probably one that had to happen. Even if I had known about the Running USA conference, I’m not sure I would have been able to spend the money to go.
Now though – getting to spend time with the most important race directors in the world is something that has incredible value to me and to NYCRUNS. Even more rewarding, they know the community at large is incredibly helpful and supportive. I’m honored to be in this fraternity of race directors. Every conversation I had the last couple of days was interesting and full of possibility. It goes both ways though – at this point even I have something to offer race directors with less experience than I have. It’s pretty cool.
The best part of the conference though was bumping into the legendary and incredibly congenial Allan Steinfeld at the elevator. I’ve rarely had a more fanboyish moment in my life. On more than one occasion, I considered asking him to sign my Central Park Marathon shirt. The funny thing was that I didn’t realize how much I respected him, or really appreciated how important he was until I walked up to the elevator and said “Holy Shit, You’re Allan Steinfeld!”. If you don’t know much about Allan – check this out. Yesterday, we shared a cab to the airport and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed traffic more. He’s a great guy and this is a great business.