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February 26, 2017

One more week to go before the final Better Half Marathon

It seems that when anything gets closer to the finish line, or to the end of a project, the pace picks up.

This next week is one week away from the final edition of Moe’s Better Half Marathon. Things were going along at the usual pace; and then, with the start of this last week, there have been some noticeable changes in operation.

One of the first things to notice is that we have more runners registered now than we had in total last year. The race committee had a certain anticipation that this might happen, but not quite at the speed at which it is happening. We were looking to see how many runners were pre-registered Friday evening; and as we were watching the total number of runners, it jumped by 5 runners in two minutes.

The problem is that you try to estimate how many runners will be signing up for the race, based on what took place the year before. Things are looking like the number of shirts we ordered might be a little short if this pace continues.

We were discussing the cause of the increase; and two things seemed to be part of the increase. One is that today, the entry fee goes up from $50 to $60; and while $10 is not a steep increase, it is still $10. But even with the entry fee at $60, the race is still one of the least expensive races at this distance. Most are closer to the $75 to $100 range for a late registration.

The second thing that could be a factor in the increase during the last week is the weather. Most weather reports give an estimate of what the weather will be like about six or seven days in advance. The television weatherperson’s estimate for next Sunday is a low of 55 degrees, and moving up to 80 degrees later in the afternoon. That is a little warm for a half marathon; but it is still a lot better than heavy rain with a cold front and temperatures in the 30s.

All the necessary planning is done; and assignments for the various jobs during the race have been gone over. A few changes were made, and a few items that need to be done this last week were listed. The largest portion of these last-minute “to do” items for insuring a successful race for the runners are quick trips to buy food for post-race refreshments; double-checking on outside help and setting time frames to get it all done; and making a list of assignments for the volunteers.

One item that takes a lot of worry off of me is that most of the expenses of putting on the race have been paid for, and there is still money in the checking account. The items left are mostly costs that need to be paid on the day of the race, or that weekend; and in terms of race costs, these are more on the lower cost side.

The last three days are the busiest ones for the race committee. Friday is getting pre-race packets ready for registered runners who want to pick up their race shirts on Saturday. Stuffing a shirt and race number, labeling the packet with the name in alphabetical order and adding any race flyers or goodies to the bag are done; and then the hardest part begins. This involves packing 300 packets in enough boxes and taking them down to Core Running Company for Saturday’s pre-race pick up. People who have trucks or big vans are necessary for this.

Saturday night is moving night, when much of the race material and set-up equipment is moved out to Tanger Outlet Center after the stores close. Then, around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, we are back again setting everything up for the runners who show up at 6:00 a.m.

All in all, the last week of race organization that has taken place the past eight months is now condensed down to one week. I know that age plays a part in why my hair is gray; but the last week of race management is a factor that I am sure is also part of the cause.

I wonder - since this is the final time Moe’s Better Half Marathon will be run - if my hair will get some of its original color back?

Moe Johnson
Dr. Maurice Johnson - better known around San Marcos as “Moe” - is a professor in the Department of Health, P.E., Recreation and Dance at Texas State University - San Marcos. Moe has been a fixture in the San Marcos running community - both as a runner and race organizer - since way back when Moby Dick was a minnow. His column on running and fitness appears each Sunday in the Sports section of the San Marcos Daily Record.

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