I posted this bit on my law blog, and republish it here. While superficially it looks like pure self-aggrandizement, it’s really just another excise for me to thank our volunteers without whom the race would not be possible and to encourage others to volunteer. Somewhere. Anywhere.
There are three kinds of people in the world: Those that get things done, those that watch things get done and those that wonder how things got done.
Last night in New Rochelle I was honored by Meals on Wheels at their annual gala for getting something done. Not for its organization, dedicated to getting meals into the homes of those that can’t get out, but for community service in putting together a half marathon trail race that has averaged 700 people a year over the last several years. We get registrants from 15-20 states each year, and net proceeds go to the trails and parks.
But writing about myself isn’t exactly my comfort zone, as regular readers know. You noticed that the prior paragraph says “We?”
I write today with a broader message. About volunteering.
Stick with me here, because this time I hope to have a point.
The room last night at the gala was stuffed full of volunteers, people who are doing things for their community. People who get things done. For many of them the volunteer work they do is completely divorced from their occupations.
When I put on the race, we turn out about 200 volunteers on race day, handling a wide variety of race logistics needed to put on an event that rambles a giant loop through multiple jurisdictions. I chose a photo for this post that included a few of those volunteers for a damn good reason.
When Meals on Wheels does it, it isn’t a one day affair after a few months of planning, but a month-in and month-out commitment to give something back to the community.
Volunteering is like that, giving people a chance to step out side the box they have placed themselves into and get another perspective on the world while helping others.
Professionals in particular, I think, need to do that as many of us become so consumed with the profession — be it law, medicine or any other — that it myopia becomes easy. We become known for doing x, and as a result become ever more specialized in life regarding that x. But in doing so many of us unwittingly lose sight not only of the big picture, but all other pictures.
So get out, step up, and do something different, even for just a few hours a week. Being the person that gets something done is rewarding not only to those that benefit your actions, but for yourself as well. It’s good for the soul.
OK, short preach/pitch over.
Now about that headline calling saying that today is “Eric Turkewitz Day.” Well, it is in New Rochelle. By proclamation of New Rochelle’s mayor.
And October 28th will be “Eric Turkewitz Day” again, this time by proclamation of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. And I have the documents to prove it.
One fun little note about the documents — and this includes citations and proclamations from statewide legislators — is that much of the information comes from the little bio that I wrote for the official gala program.
But I had no idea that, when I mentioned my dog Tucker McDoofusPants in that bio, it would end out in many of those official proclamations.
The Mayor said, “So let it be written.” And it was.
This is a copy of the pre-race e-mail blast for those that managed to lose it already:
The forecast is for unseasonably warm weather, rather than the cold, rain and mud that always makes things interesting.
Since we only have 3 water stops, we urge all runners to carry supplemental water.
With a bit of luck, this answers all your questions, though some of you will refuse to read to the bottom and send me questions anyway:
1. Start Time: The first wave starts with a gunshot at 9 am. If you don’t pick up your packet Friday or Saturday, please leave ample time before the race for parking, packet pick up, port-o-potties, bag check and schmoozing. We don’t really care if you schmooze, we just want you to get there early and not walk up at the last second and demand attention.
2. Wave Start: Four waves, with five minutes between each, and an estimated 150 runners per wave. The race is electronically timed and we know from your chip where you’re supposed to start. Don’t screw that up. Your bib numbers and wave assignments are already on the website. You need to know your wave to claim your number.
Some runners in later waves will be faster than those in earlier ones. This is deliberate, because putting all of the middle-of-the-pack runners in the same wave would cause congestion on the trails. And we hate congestion on the trails.
3. Number Pick-up: We strongly encourage runners to pick up race numbers and shirts prior to race day at Westchester Road Runner at 179 E. Post Road in White Plains:
Friday: 5-8 pm
Saturday: 10 am-4 pm
Those that pick up their packets there will receive a free copy of Trail Runner Magazine as long as our big box of 200 extra copies holds out.
In addition, Westchester Road Runner is offering 20% off non-sale shoes and clothes, at the time you pick up your numbers.
The store will also recycle old running shoes to charity. Rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn them in a year, get rid of them. Someone else will be happy you did.
You must pick up your own number and nobody else’s. Please bring ID. The only exception is picking up for someone with your same last name or address. Please do not ask for additional exceptions.
4. Number transfers are not permitted. Veteran P2Pers will remember that if you transfer a number, a kitten will die. And it will be your fault.
5. Tech shirts were guaranteed to those who registered by September 1st. If you don’t get a shirt at check-in, you can pick one up after the race on a first come, first serve basis (depending on the number of no-shows). Our shirt policy can be found at this link. I believe that we ordered enough that everyone will go home with a shirt.
6. Late Registration: If you have a friend that still hasn’t registered, well isn’t that laziness pathetic for an endurance athlete?
If they come to number pick-up on Friday or Saturday, or to the registration area between 7-8:30 am race day, we’ll likely squeeze them in. But we will not oversell the race and swamp the trails with too many runners. Please check the website for updates on late entries. Print out this entry blank, fill in pages 2 and 3 and bring it with you to register at Westchester Road Runner or on race day.
7. Parking is available in two parking lots and on the street. The lot in front of the High School will fill up early. The lot behind the High School on Clove Road is quite large, and has a walkway bringing you past the front of the school toward the start.
Don’t even think about parking on Broadview, as that is the racecourse. Click here for a printable map of the parking areas, which you can click again to enlarge. Please consider carpooling to alleviate congestion.
A taxi from the station should cost about $7. We expect many Manhattan/Brooklyn runners so keep your eyes open to share a taxi with other runners.
Or use our Facebook page to see if you can hook up with another runner for a ride. Maybe you’ll get lucky.
9. Baggage Drop is available at the start. You can check one bag, which will be brought to the finish line. Your bib will have a numbered pull tag that can be pinned to your bag. Please don’t leave valuables in the bags, as we are not responsible for them.
10. Course Markings: We expect to lay down about 500 bright pink flags with our Colonial Runner logo, placed at trail intersections and occasional intervals. Some people will ignore the flags and run off course anyway.
11. Toilets: Porto-potties at the start (get there early!), the 7.5-mile mark (Saxon Woods golf course) and the High School locker room at the finish.
12. Water/Medical: Water and medical attention will be available at only three spots during the race, in addition to the start and finish. These aid stations are at miles 4-ish, 7.5-ish and 10.8-ish. Carry supplemental water due to the expected warm weather.
13. Mid-Race Drop-Out: If you get injured, or are too exhausted to finish, you should check in with a volunteer at an aid station. If you can’t make it to the aid station, tell a volunteer on the course. If you tell the police you are injured they will transport you to the emergency room, not the finish line.
14. The course closes: A sweeper will discharge police and volunteers, starting in Wave 4 and finishing in three hours. Please stay in front of the sweeper! We estimate that middle-of-the-pack finishing times will be your regular 1/2 marathon pace plus an extra 10-15% to account for the rough terrain. If you’re slower than the sweeper you are on your own, but we will leave the flags in place so you’ll only be lonely, not lost.
15. Kid Races: We will have kid races again, brought to you by the Tailwind Track Club. Young ‘uns will run one mile on a course that takes them on a dirt trail around the twin lakes in front of the high school (with rocks, roots and uneven ground, suitable for tripping and falling).
The one-miler is free and will start around 9:30, after the 4th wave sets off. Print out this waiver and bring it with you. Even younger kids will run/crawl on the football field and track afterward. Listen for details on race morning.
16. Post-Race: We have four restaurants providing food: Café Mozart and Roasted Peppers from Mamaroneck, and AJ’s Burgers and Modern from New Rochelle. The Hudson Milk Co. will give you cold chocolate milk after you finish. Bottled water from DeCicco’s. Fruit from Stop & Shop. Surprises from New Rochelle Chevrolet and The Rock Club. We expect to start an awards ceremony at 11:40-ish.
There will also be a medical tent staffed by Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital and an ambulance from TransCare. We hope you don’t visit them, except to say thanks.
Several massage therapists will be on hand to assist with post-race stretching, organized byTony’s Kneaded Touch in Norwalk, CT.
17. Post-Race Showers! We’ve once again arranged for the High School locker room to be opened so you can shower and change.
18. No Dogs. We have dogs. We like their happy, wagging tails and like scratching their bellies. Sadly, we don’t get to make all the rules for the school grounds. That means Tucker, Princess and Snoopy have to stay home. (It’s also the reason we can’t have beer – so stop asking me! I tried!)
19. Volunteers: This event is put on by NewRo Runners. Our entire race committee, race director included, is volunteer. We expect 200+ volunteers on race day. Please be nice to them, they are working hard. Kissing volunteers is permitted. Except for the high school cheerleaders. Kissees must be 18 or older to participate.
Feedback: We started with 50 people in 2008 and will probably register 700 this year. We have quickly become one of the largest trail races in the nation, without ever having been reviewed by any running magazine. The vast majority of our runners learned of the race by word of mouth. We encourage feedback regarding the event to know what works and what doesn’t as we continue to grow and continue to rely on word of mouth as our main means of marketing.
You can also follow ongoing details on Facebook and Twitter (@PaineToPain).