Every electronic device I have, my watch, my phone, my laptop…they’ve all been operating on a 2% charge this week. I only have enough time to charge them for a few minutes at a time so they never get above 10%. It’s as if they’re mocking me. They know the lack of energy they have is a metaphor for my life this week. All the low battery alerts, ‘will shut down if not charged…’ . I get it, I get it. I need to sleep. I need to take a break. There’s just no time. There’s not enough hours. And when I finally do sit down to rest, there’s Garmin, tellimg me to MOVE! On Saturday night, I finally got to bed at 9:30pm. At 12:41am, I woke up to check the time and make sure my phone had enough charge left to sound the 3am alarm, only I couldn’t go back to sleep. My race day to-do list was running through my brain. I couldn’t stop worrying about setting up barricades and brewing enough coffee. At 1:30am, I gave up, got out of bed and went to work.
Last year when we decided there wouldn’t be another Baker’s Dozen Half Marathon I was sad. I knew the race was cost prohibitive to produce but the community surrounding the event was my favorite of all the races I’ve hosted. I didn’t want to see it go. Then I thought, I could put together a club race that’s a little shorter and bill it as a fun run. I wouldn’t have to incur the costs of course certification, I could cap the entries around 100, just like Oktoberfest and put out a huge spread of food at the end…just like the original 4K Doughnut Run. In order to make it visible to everyone in our greater community, I decided to post it as an event on the Montclair Running Company page rather than the closed Fueled by Doughnuts page. I listed Montclair Bread Company as a co-host. Oops! When you list a co-host on a FB event, it sends the information to everyone that follows said co-host, which in this case is an additional 20K+ people. In under 24 hours, over 1000 people said they wanted to attend bRUNch. Shit.
In December, I met with the traffic team from Montclair PD to review the final preparations for the 5K Doughnut Run. During the meeting, I casually mentioned a hypothetical race that may or may not take place on the same weekend the Baker’s Dozen would have been. I was shocked when they told me to go for it. They looked at my proposed route and gave me conditional approval to launch sales. Shit.
I decided to cap the race at 1000 participants. The food at the finish line was going to be the star of the show and I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew…or in this case, produce, especially coming off of doughnut duty for 3000 runners in December’s race. bRUNch sold out in less than 36 hours. Shit.
I didn’t have Gina or Hillary as a co-director this time around. Jessica & Jessie, my bakery team, decided we would divvy up the duties to manage the best we could. We ordered hooded sweatshirts in lieu of tech shirts, insulated coffee mugs instead of medals and we reached out to local restaurants to provide food at the finish line.
(Most) everything went according to plan. We had a hiccup in the last week of planning. The course was designed to loop up and around a church. This loop created an additional 4 turns which meant more officers would be required and more barricades would have to be placed. MPD and I decided to avoid the church traffic, eliminate the additional expenses and cut out the loop. This shortened the course by .2 miles. But hey, it’s a fun run right?
The week leading up to the race was predictable. The was lots of box making, bib stickering, and production planning. I unloaded boxes, moved boxes, stacked boxes and restacked boxes…so much moving. On Friday, barricades were delivered, all 60 of them. Jess, Brad and I unloaded them from the delivery truck and stacked them next to the building. As soon as I picked up the rental van, we loaded them into the van. On Saturday, after the group run, Brad, Dan Z and I drove all over Montclair placing the barricades on the appropriate street corners. Hours before the race, Brad and I, a couple people from the MBCo staff and Matt drove from corner to corner in Montclair setting up all the barricades in the street. Hours after the race, Matt, Alex & Brad collected all the barricades and loaded them into the cargo van. First thing on Monday morning, when I just wanted to become one with my sofa, Jess and I had to unload all 60 barricades from the cargo van to the truck coming to collect them. I need a barricade break!
While the rest of the team was busy with packet pick up, I spent Saturday making doughnuts and croissants for the finisher box. Hillary, Kate & Chris helped me make 1000 yogurt cups on Friday, checking a big to-do off my list. After making doughnuts and sandwiches for the TSA during the government shutdown, race production seems infinitely easier than ever before. I tried to create a nice assortment of salty/sweet treats/fuel in the boxes. There were glazed doughnut bites, cinnamon sugar doughnut bites, spicy everything croissants and yogurt topped with Yana’s Mom’s Granola and fresh berries.
Once the race was underway, I could finally breathe. It was a great day with a couple snags. To spite the fact that we started brewing coffee at 2am, our brewing system couldn’t keep up with the demand and people had to wait for coffee near the end of the race. We left the goodie boxing until the last minute because the yogurt cups needed to stay refrigerated while the other components needed to stay at room temperature. Jessica led a team of volunteer bRUNch boxers and barely got all of them completed before the first runners were back.
I underestimated the anger that would ensue given the race was .2 miles shy of 5. I spent the remainder of race day, once all the runners were gone, monitoring our social media feeds and managing the fallout.
I get a lot of comments from runners and curious on-lookers after every race I host. “You’re really killing it.” “You must be making so much money!” “That race must have made $100,000!” If this was true, wouldn’t there be a race in town every weekend? If it was that easy and that profitable, wouldn’t more people be hosting races? First off, the $68 registration fee that 1000 runners paid, included the processing fees the registration site charges per transaction so the actual race only received $65 per runner. Those awesome hoodies everyone loved and the amazing coffee mugs each runner received at the finish line totaled around $35 per runner. Over half our budget went to making the coveted race swag. Why? Why couldn’t we just get cheap starchy tees and not hand out medals? Crappy swag = crappy race = no repeat business = no more sell outs. I want runners to actually wear their race shirts and come away with something they can use and be proud of. That still leaves $30K I can put in my pocket, right? No chance! So where does the rest of the money go? Each race pays the police to help shut down the street and direct traffic during the run. For every officer on duty, the race is charged their overtime rate for a minimum of four hours each. Captains are required too and their rate is double. Each car used, each motorcycle used, they all get billed to the race too. The race is required to send out notification to all the residents in Montclair. Not only do we have to pay to print over 5000 mailers but we have to pay for the postage too to the tune of $2,000!!! The porta potties, the barricades, the table rentals, water, coffee, doughnuts, milk, boxes, plates, spoons, bagels, top finisher prizes it all adds up. So what’s left at the end of the day? Our employees have enough clementines & water bottles to sustain themselves for the next month, give or take. We were able to donate all the leftover bagels to homeless shelters in Newark. I don’t organize these events to make money, I do it because I absolutely love bringing the community together and seeing the fruits of my labor on race day. I love seeing the first timers cross the finish line and the families and the PRs and the cheering and the smiles. I love it all.
I don’t love the guy who showed up at 10:45am and called me a ‘fucking cunt’ in front of a patio full of children when I couldn’t produce his packet because the remaining race gear had all been donated to charity.
When all was said and done, I only survived the weekend because of uber eats, who delivered breakfast, lunch and dinner from all my favorite Montclair eats from Friday - Sunday.
Weekly Training Log
Plan: SWIM 2300
Reality: BAKE 3AM
Plan: RUN 2x1200 @ 7:00 pace; 5x300
Reality: Completed as planned
Plan: SWIM 2050; BIKE 60:00 workout
Reality: Swim complete, Bike didn’t happen.
Plan: RUN 2mi tempo
Reality: Easy run, couldn’t muster the energy to start the tempo.
BIKE: 60:00 workout - Wednesday make-up
Plan: GRIIT @ Architect Studios
Reality: BAKE 3am - Challah braiding
Plan: RUN 1:30 minutes
Reality: Completed as planned to spite ridiculous winds