BE SEEN RUN STRONGER
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When I reached out to nine of our favorite race directors, there was one similarity I noticed. They answered my questions within a day or two; (unheard of when dealing with athletes.. trust me I know because I manage the NATHAN athlete team.) One RD sent back answers and pictures within minutes of me hitting "send." Another cited his passion and enthusiasm for what he does as the reason for getting back to me so quickly. With all the hard work that goes into a trail or ultra running event, dedication is a must... and it shows! There is no denying the fact that without race directors, we would have no races. We have them to thank for the goals reached and the bar we set for ourselves, even though their names may be the ones we curse during those tough moments.
I had originally planned to do one blog post dedicated to our favorite race directors. Due to their amazing responses, and social media attention spans being what they are, we'll go ahead and do this in two posts and split it up into regions of North America, East and West. So we bring you part one of this two part blog.... The BEAST COAST. Part two will cover the west coast, Texas (needs its own region) and Canada. Enjoy and stay tuned for part two.
Our first featured race director hosts trail races on some of the gnarliest trails that PA has to offer. Rocks, brutal climbs, crazy weather, and rattlesnakes are all possibilities at any of Craig's trail races. Most of us in the NATHAN PA office are way too familiar, as we have suffered some of the trials on his trails.
As is true with most race directors, Carl Perkins puts his heart and soul into the January race he directs. The PHUNT memes begin popping up on Facebook in June and only escalate in frequency from there. With a 25k loop course and an option to continue on to 50k, or stop for the day and enjoy the amazing homemade soup, PHUNT is conducive to a massive gathering of new and seasoned trail runners alike.
At age 71, Bob Becker is quite an accomplished runner and shows no signs up slowing. With numerous Badwater finishes (the most recent one at age 70 and he's signed up again this year!), Bob is no stranger to running in extreme heat so he knows a thing or two about what his runners will go through. Florida sets the perfect stage for two of his races, one on road and one on trail.
"May your goals forever be in sight.." is definitely Bill Schultz'motto. The perfect tagline for someone who race directs a 24 hour track race. (His race is run on a 400m track. Yes, you read that right!) The finish line is always in sight. His experience with timed races goes back decades and his enthusiasm for these events has not wavered.
Race directing can be stressful, there is not doubt about that. If Tom is ever stressed you would never know. I challenge you to find the guy without a smile on his face. You can tell her really loves what he does. Tom throws an impeccably run race in a gorgeous area of PA when they leaves are just right for fall foliage viewing.