How to annoy race directors


By Jack McDermott

I would like to dedicate this article to the un-sung hero — the race director. It has come to my attention that some race directors have become so skillful at handling the minor race-day problems such as race bandits, missing finisher cards, and no-show volunteers – that managing races has become less of a challenge to these esteemed individuals. Therefore I have developed my list of “Eleven Ways to Annoy Race Directors and Wreak Havoc on Race-Day”. The secret is to pretend that you are someone annoying. (For some of us like myself … it is an easier task than for others.)

Good luck, and remember, if we all work together we can make race day a living-hell for that special someone.

1. The Olympic Hopeful Tell the race director that you are on the Hungarian National Team and that you need a 5K qualifying time for next month’s Olympic trials in Budapest. Hand the race director a jar of urine. Tell the race director that he/she is responsible for drug-testing it within 48 hours. Inform him/her that you are required to give another sample after the race, but to be official, the race director will need to supervise it.

2. The Lawyer Bring a friend dressed in a three-piece suit to pose as your legal counsel. Tell the race director that your “lawyer” has found several problematic clauses in the waiver statement on the entry form and therefore you refuse to sign. Offer to negotiate specific language with the race director. If the race director insists that you must sign or you can’t run — have your lawyer threaten to file a lawsuit against him/her under the 1964 Civil Rights Act for discrimination.

3. The Federal Official Arrive with several friends decked out in dark suits and dark glasses ten minutes before the start of the race. Inform the race director that you represent the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C., and that the off-road course runs over an ancient Seminole burial ground. Tell him/her you have a court injunction stopping the race. Hand the race director a crude map of an alternative course that is “roughly five kilometers.”

4. The Rock Star After you finish the race, fill out your finish card with the name “Elvis Presley.” Have a friend tip-off the National Enquirer that there was an “Elvis sighting” at the two-mile mark. When interviewed, tell the reporter that the Elvis sighting was a cheap stunt by the race director to increase participation. Try to garner as much negative publicity as possible.

5. The Pet Lover Run the race with your German Shepherd “Killer”. Demand that Rex be given a race number. At the awards ceremony, when Bill DeGrummond is awarded the age group winner of the over-65 age category —- make a scene. Claim that although Rex is 8 years old, that it is actually 72 in “dog years!” Warn the race director that, if snubbed, “Killer” may get so angry you won’t be able to control him.”

6. Woodward & Bernstein Tell the race director that you are an investigative reporter for a rival Tallahassee running newsletter: The Flat Foot. Tell the race director that several “unnamed sources” have confirmed that some of the race sponsors may be Communist front organizations. Ask the race director for an official comment. Proceed to interrogate race volunteers asking: “Are you, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”

7. The Policeman For races that serve beer after the race – tell the race director that you are an off-duty police officer. Demand to see the Gulf Wind Track Club’s liquor license. Ask the race director if he/she has been carding under-age runners. If the answers are not satisfactory – make a citizen’s arrest. If the race director resists arrest, use a stun gun and call for back-up.

8. The Lover Before the race insist that you must see a list of all pre-registrants. Inform the race director that your runner/ex-girlfriend has taken out a restraining order against you (due to a stalking incident), and that you are legally required to stay at least 200 yards away from her at all times. Pretend to find her on the list, and ask the race director for a 200-yard “head-start” so you can comply with the court order. Also request a separate finishing chute.

9. Speedy Gonzalez Talk to the race director before the race about how excited you are to run despite your less-than-obvious disability. Proceed to run as slow as humanely possible. Run backwards if necessary. Try to take at least 5-6 hours to complete a 10-mile race, and “guilt” the race director into staying well into the afternoon to see you finish. After the race, tell the race director that your ride must have left and you need a ride to the bus station. Then ask for bus fare or a place to stay for the night. Keep asking for free stuff until the race director says no.

10. Jimmy Hoffa Tell the race director that you represent the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Bring along two very large friends to act as your “goons.” Inform the race director that you are “unionizing” the race volunteers to negotiate wages and dental benefits. Insist that all race volunteers fill-out union identification cards. Tell the race director that if he/she does not cooperate, your associates “Vito” and “Guido” will start negotiating in earnest on your behalf.

11. The Tax Man For races that give cash awards – tell the race director that you represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Explain to the race director that although the track club is tax-exempt – the cash awards are taxable for the winners. Ask the race director to provide proof that all cash-winners have filed their W-2 forms, and that the FICA tax and Federal Withholding Tax, has been properly calculated and deducted prior to the awards ceremony. Warn the race director that if he/she does not comply with this request – you will make a few phone calls and the race director will face a personal tax audit.

Well, everyone, that is all I can think of right now. And remember – It’s not whether you win or lose – it’s whether they have beer at the finish line.