Last year, my friend Mallory and I ran a half marathon that finished on the finish line of the Rose Bowl. It was Mallory’s first half and my fifth, and we had a great time doing the race together.
This year, I worked that race. My new job is at the company that produces the Los Angeles Marathon and the Pasadena Half, as well as a few other smaller races. It was certainly a different experience being on the other side of the race, seeing how it works behind the scenes.
It was a good, worthwhile, exhausting weekend. I worked at the expo on Friday and Saturday and then arrived at the race at 4 am on Sunday to prep for the event. I didn’t leave there until around 1:30 pm. My role at the expo was to answer questions people might have about any of our races and to register people for the ones that are upcoming, notably the marathon in March. On race morning, I worked at paid bib pick up and then continued to register people after the race.
I spoke to hundreds of people over the course of the weekend. I got to share my experience of running the marathon last year, take photos of runners at our artsy backdrop, and meet some cool volunteers. The mom of one of the volunteers asked me to fill out a form verifying her son’s service hours, and I swear I almost said, “Shouldn’t a real adult do this?” But it turns out that at 25, I am the real adult.
The morning of the race was a bit stressful; there’s bound to be some hard to deal with people in every bunch (trying to be diplomatic here) but I do feel like my coworkers and I handled any issues that arose really well. I have a renewed confidence for my ability to focus on the task at hand and avoid any distractions from working the long line at bib pick up!
I think my main takeaway is that I never considered all the work that goes into setting up a race and then breaking it down after the fact. We were on the field taking down the finish line setup and the signage long after the runners had left. By the time I got home and laid down on my couch on Sunday afternoon, I felt like I’d run a half marathon myself!
If you’re local to LA or ever in the area in January, I recommend running the Pasadena Half Marathon. The course is beautiful and the finish through the tunnel and onto the Rose Bowl is a really cool experience. And I’m not just saying that because I work there!