I’m at home now–watching mindless TV after a 14 mile run out at Birch Bay to blow off steam. My two Windhorse Half Marathon co-directors, Andrea and Bolor, are hopefully both doing something equally as effortless tonight, too.

Yesterday, our day started at 5:30 am. We rushed out our respective doors just as soon as we’d each had a few sips of coffee. And this after Friday’s full day of skewering barbeque meat, stuffing runners’ packets, and go over check-lists time after time.

For some reason this year I was more anxious about directing the Windhorse race than I was last year. I think it’s because I knew what I wanted to improve upon and (until after the race) I couldn’t be sure we’d addressed all the bugs from 2011. Now I feel confident that MOST of our little bumps have been ironed out (not counting our dysfunctional communication with at least one of our gracious volunteers–who I hope will forgive us for leaving her on the course longer than she needed to be there).

There is one little runner issue, too, that I fear we may not solve in years to come. For two years in a row, our first finisher has confounded our efforts at identifying a “winner” for the race. Brian M, is a life-long friend of Bolor’s husband, Eric, and he doesn’t seem keen on winning our race, even though he’s been our fastest runner two years in a row. Last year, he completed all but the last 50 yards of the 13.1 miles and then passed off his bib to his very pregnant wife who ran it in. He pointed out to us that running the race as a relay was an option we’d given and, although we strongly suggested that the second runner station him/herself at the Clayton Beach turn around, we never said runners couldn’t divide up the full distance any way they wanted. True enough! We decided to award Brian, et al with the first place relay award…

This year, Brian M came up for the race again. And once again he ran a terrific race, coming in first-ISH. At the finish line, he was neck and neck with a friend of his. Unlike many running partners who engage in a friendly competition when in sight of the finish line, Brian and his pal coordinated their footsteps so that they crossed the line at EXACTLY the same moment. Even in photos taken of the finish, we could not see whose foot hit the ground over the line first. This year we awarded both men first place and told them they could arm wrestle over the prize.

Another relay team this year made up their own rules, too. My dear friend Sharon and her sister Julie informed me months ago that they would be running the race as a relay. Then a few days ago, Sharon called me and asked if they could run one way together and just double their time. “Why not?” I said. Sharon and Julie are back of the packers like I am. I knew they wouldn’t be in danger of ousting another relay team out of a legitimate win. But guess what? One of the other relay teams didn’t show up and Sharon and Julie got second place-ISH.

We’ve got participants making up their own rules and confounding our attempts at maintaining simplicity. But one of the terrific things about directing this little low-key race is that we can accommodate our runners and have fun–and accommodating one’s pace and having fun are just my style. So, I hope the Windhorse continues to be more about raising funds for educating children in Tsetserleg, Mongolia and enjoying Bellingham’s Interurban Trail than about strict rules of competition. We’ll see what happens next year.

In the meantime, a huge thanks to those who participated and to the volunteers, especially to Bill, Janna, and Eric, who put up with a lot from us and give a great deal of themselves during the long planning process. We love  you.


BTW runners: we’re working on getting the results up on the Windhorserun.com site. Sorry for the delay; they should be up by tomorrow.



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