Organization for the RMR 2022 began in May 2019, a month after the successful 7th running of the annual event. We were coordinating our plans with the police and VDOT, with restaurants and medal companies, with clothing and timing companies and sponsors, and with our 700 runners and 200 volunteers. And when the world shut down 3 weeks before the gun was to go off in 2020, we closed our doors along with everyone else. We started our planning again in September 2020, hopeful that the world would find a way to allow us to gather safely the next April, but by February we recognized our hopeful planning would have to cease.
In November 2021 we re-opened registration for 2022, feeling somewhat listless and foolhardy. A band of 7 met and planned and sought permits and food and venues. In February, when the police informed us they would not be able to staff the event, some of us were quite ready to admit defeat. But Paul and Pablo convinced us to carry on by claiming they could find a road-free course. We would have to abandon the marathon, but we would host the half. They never claimed it would be certified or exactly 13.1 miles.
By April 10, 2022, our 8th (or 10th) Runners Marathon of Reston - nearly 3 years in the making – would finally take flight. 320 of the 430 registered runners crowded together on the South Lakes High School track, held their breath during the National Anthem, and dashed off behind Tim Smith and Mark Colturi on their bikes through the wooded trails of Reston. Fun fact: Tim and Mark had not dusted those bikes off since the summer of 2021, and found they were only barely able to stay ahead of our lead runner, Aaron Church, who kept a 5:48 pace going for 13.1 miles (or 6:05 pace for 12.5 miles, depending on whose Garmin you believe).
90 volunteers – all decked in hoodie maroon sweatshirts - made this event possible on Sunday, and were busy feeding, watering, directing and encouraging the runners. Our key volunteer veterans knew just how to organize their teams, with Neil and Heather at packet pickup, Jordan at the finish line, Dan Grove on the water stops, David Breese and Jarrett Marquis in charge of the sentries, Marcy, Luciana and Claire on Food, Amy greeting volunteers, Dennis on Awards, Brian and Pablo on photos, and Anna/Gordon with their phones to their ears on race day. Nine of us had gathered on Saturday with our buckets of chalk, flour, cones, and signs to make certain no runner would get lost, and when Dave called me to tell me the first runner had made it to the second lap we all breathed a sigh of relief that at least one runner had not gone astray.
Almost all runners who left the track at 7:30 in the morning returned (just one bloodied his eye on the sidewalk and earned himself a few stitches), and all were wrapped in blue fleece blankets at the finish line. Several runners noted with some dismay that we had chosen to give them 2020 medals (tastefully re-marked) and shirts, but most were gleeful at the large pile of bling rarely seen at the average race. Reston Runners can be proud of their many members caring for the community with such generosity and grace at this event,.
After 10 years of managing so many details of this event with my hubby, I will be training a new race director for 2023. We seek additional planning members – just let us know if you are interested!