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
Momentum

Two short weeks ago I was convinced that we were going to have to fold up our tent, give the handful of registrants their money back, and pretend like the Gallup Revival never happened. 80 registrations later, and I'm starting to wonder if we are going to sell this thing out. 

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Brent McDermott
USATF Certified FRESH!

But today feels like a turning point. Hal Wolfe, the Gallup Gallop's former caretaker, emailed me with a fresh certification, which has lifted my spirits. Despite hitting the cover off the ball as a race director, Hal stepped down this year because of the time commitment that was required. He didn't have to dedicate hours of his time to meticulously measure the course on a hot summer day, construct a new map, and file the necessary paperwork to the USAF, but he did anyway. And the mensch wouldn't accept the standard wage for his labors. This anecdote tells you what kind of guy Hal is, and how much he loves this sport. If nothing else, getting to know people like Hal, Laurel Park, Brian Herrald, Nick Stanko, Ian Hancke and Doug Goodhue have made this adventure worth it. 

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Brent McDermott
Confessions of a Running Junkie

It's well documented that runners are a strange and neurotic breed. We punish our bodies in pursuit of PRs, BQs, weight loss, runner's high, clarity to make important decisions, and in some extreme instances, self actualization and enlightenment. 

The thing that I sometimes forget is how irrational the sacrifices are that us junkies sometimes make.

To best illustrate my symptoms of a neurotic running enthusiast, I've sketched out a timeline of events for Sunday, May 6th. 

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Brent McDermott
Trust The Process

During my third lap around the park, the sun was starting to set, and endorphins were starting to buzz through my brain and tingle down my spine. As the clouds parted and gave way to light, so did the fog that was the source of my logo writer's block.

Then...SQUAWK! A pack of fierce geese shared the shit out of me as I turned a blind corner over a bridge. As soon as my heart rate slowed, a sense of relief washed over me. Anyone that runs through Gallup Park knows that it is overrun by these mean geese. On race night, they will be a part of the course just as much as the bridges and foot paths. Of course, then, an elegant yet menacing goose should be the icon of the logo. The only problem? It only lived inside my brain, and like I said, I can barely draw stick figures.

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Brent McDermott
Meetings, Decisions, and More Meetings

Since starting my Gallup Gallop race director post about a month ago, I've had 13 race meetings, made about 57 decisions, and second guessed myself at least 100 times. 

But... things are really shaping up. The Ann Arbor Track Club has been incredibly supportive of my vision for the race, especially considering the fact that this actually is my first rodeo. Despite making changes to the race's date / time of day, target audience, logo, marketing campaign, and charity partner, everyone at AATC has been unwavering in their support. Plus, their catering game for board meetings is on point, which is a serious plus for a perpetually hungry runner.  

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Brent McDermott
So... you wanna be a race director, huh?

It turns out that putting on a 5K takes a lot of work. Over the coming months, this running diary will document what happens behind the scenes to run a *hopefully* smooth race. If you've ever caught yourself daydreaming at the start line of a race, wondering "I wonder how this all gets done?", then swipe on some Body Glide, suck down a GU, and try to keep up! If you couldn't care less how it is that your chip timing, race shirt, and finisher's bagel happens, ignore this section of the website, and sign up for the race under the "Registration" tab.

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Brent McDermott