2019 Gallup Gallop Awards

THANK YOU to the 589 runners, 55 volunteers, and 17 sponsors that made this year so special. Our runners alone generously donated $1,438 to Food Gatherers while registering, with thousands more dollars coming after we balance our books for the race operations. Our runners also delivered the goods, quite literally, when it came to fresh produce! We haven’t received an official number yet from Food Gatherers, but it appears to be well over the 1,200 LBS. provided in 2018.

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Brent McDermott
State of the Race:

Conventional wisdom says that a race should be ready to rock with about three weeks to go. With 29 days to go, we aren’t 100% there yet, but the number of balls in the air keeps shrinking by the day. Here’s a quick “State of the Race.”

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Brent McDermott
A Local Guide to Ann Arbor Running

Last weekend, I met an awesome couple at Lillie parkrun that just moved to Ann Arbor. This was their first foray into the local scene, and they were eager to meet some local runners. Remembering how challenging it can be to find the right crew, I promised to make things a little easier for my new pals…

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Brent McDermott
Firecracker Frenzy

Despite the obstacles, Firecracker always manages to draw a mammoth crowd by being so damn FUN. Whether you are there as a runner, spectator, or shameless race promoter, this race knows how to find your endorphin zones.

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Brent McDermott
Thank God for To-Do Lists

Thank God for To-Do lists.

Meeting with co-director Steph Evans on Friday was a reminder of two things.

1) How far this race has come in one year.

2) How much we have to get done in the next six weeks.

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Brent McDermott
The Straw is in the Barn

92 days till race night and the hay is already in the barn. Anyone that talks running with me has probably heard me use this running truism, but this time I mean it quite literally. Technically, it’s straw, but let’s not split hairs over it. Yep, I am speaking about actual bales of straw-in an actual barn- actually earmarked for Gallup Gallop!

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Brent McDermott
Long Distance Relationships Are Hard

“We’ll make it work... I’ll call you every night, and we can take turns visiting. It won’t be that bad, I promise…”

Sound familiar? If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you know what I’m about to say next. Long distance relationships are f****ing brutal. Why is this germane to Gallup Gallop? For the last nine months, the race director (yours truly) has been managing the race remotely from Western Massachusetts!

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Brent McDermott
WHY I RUN | Keep Moving Forward

The week of his passing, several extraordinary things happened. Kirk was an organ donor, and due to his marathon training health, his body was able to help 150 people. An average donor can help 8 people. Kirk’s passing was a blessing to 150 other families! The Steen family was informed immediately that Kirks heart valves went to help children, and each of his kidneys saved a life.

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Brent McDermott
WHY I RUN | British Invasion: parkrun Edition

Five years ago I HATED running. It was 2013 and I had just completed my first super sprint triathlon, tricked by the encouragement of a hometown friend. It wasn't very far and we didn't really train much for it, but... we survived. Naturally, I decided that the most logical thing to do was to run like a maniac until I didn't hate it quite so much. So when a friend told me about parkrun, a free, timed, weekly 5km run/walk/jog event in my local park, I decided that this was the perfect thing for me.

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Brent McDermott
WHY I RUN | PR Run Club

There’s a reason why PR is sort of the speakeasy of Ann Arbor’s running community. Even if you are an Ann Arbor regular, you may not be aware of PR Run Club. We have a studio downtown, but no sign. We have a logo, but it’s elusive. But if you are a runner, chances are you’ve heard of us. Some say we are a little obsessed—a little "intense." Whatever bad things you’ve heard, it’s not true. Well, at least not entirely.

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Brent McDermott
WHY I RUN | Four Decades of Unexpected Friendships

Once released some years later, autism overlooked and buried deep, I took my newfound treasured ‘friend’ with me, and after nearly four decades, it has yet to leave my side or dull its edges. Instead, every year brings new excitement, experiences and challenges on surfaces and venues I likely otherwise would have never had the notion or the courage to explore in addition to the unforeseen personal and professional opportunities and invaluable connections I have had the opportunity to make with incredible people willing to look past my social blunders and rough exterior, all of which I was once told would never be possible.

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Brent McDermott
WHY I RUN | Jack's Running Pack

Lauren and I have both been known to swing in, actively sweating, and grab lab or shepherd mixes for a spin around the adjacent park. The dogs love it - tongues and tails wagging, sprinting up and down the block, and then hitting the water bowl when we get back.

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Brent McDermott
WHY I RUN | Chasing Cloud259

It's amazing that no matter how much I put in to running, I get back much more. My obsession to go from a 4 hour and 29 minute debut marathoner to a sub-3 hour marathoner  has led to a podcast called Cloud259, Running on Air

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Brent McDermott
If WE Build It, They Will Come

That morning, I realized that I had to change my old ways of thinking. It turns out, I had misheard the spring trees in the Arb. They had actually said, "If WE build it... they will come" because it truly does take a village to put on a good race. That revelation also made me realize that I needed to take control of the things I could, and not worry about the number of registrations in the queue. If I assembled a team to help shape my race vision and turn it into reality, the sign ups would follow. 

If a race falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? 

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Brent McDermott
...But Why Are There Polar Bears On The Island?!!

Every great mystery / sc-fi series immediately follows an answer to one question with two new ones. The best modern example of this is the early 2000's hit, Lost. 

As a ride-or-die fan of this show, I used to go into every episode pining for answers to the show's longest standing mysteries: Who are The Others? What happens if they don't push the button? And, my personal favorite, why are there polar bears on the island? Every season, a few of the big questions would get answered, but not without a whole new set of riddles to obsess over. 

As you might have guessed, this is exactly what planning a race is like.

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Brent McDermott