Behind the Scenes at the Big Sur Marathon
The Big Sur International Marathon has been named to nearly every “Top Marathon” list in existense, and is a famous bucket list race for most runners. Today we dive behind the scenes at this historic event with Race Director Doug Thurston and Marketing/Communications Manager Hilary Fujii.
While you might not clock your best time - due to the steep nature of the course - you will have the best time because of the scenic view of Highway 1 on this one way course. I’ve run 3 marathons in my life - and I’m proud to say that Big Sur was one of them.
In today’s episode, we get to talk about the history of the Big Sur International Marathon. We peel back the curtain on some of the stories runners aren’t usually privy to, including life on the back of a media truck, how the piano gets to Bixby Bridge, and the origins of the famous strawberry aid station.
Plus we dive into the extreme challenges they’re facing with the pandemic. Especially as a 501(c)3 organization - how they’ve stayed true to their charter. We also dive into the decision to pay the runners a generous restitution - where many other organizations would have simply kept the money.
We’re also excited to help them promote The Big Surreal Challenge! This is a really fun virtual event that is 5 challenges in one. You’ll be able to run the majority of the distances offered during the Big Sur weekend from a 5k, 12k, 11 mile, 21 mile, and marathon - throughout the month of September. The more races you complete, the better the swag that you can take home. And Big Sur has some of the coolest swag around. Plus there will be all sorts of Virtual Encouragement along the way. Coach B and I are both entered - so we hope to see you online.
During this discussion, we talk about:
- 3:55 - The Big Sur Motto, and the history of the Big Sur Marathon
- 6:27 - How the Big Sur Marathon gained in popularity, and how they try to make registration fair given it's popularity and course limitations
- 10:16 - The history behind the famous Strawberry aid station
- 13:01 - Behind the scenes stories from the course, including - how they bus everyone to the line, stories from the back of the media truck, how the piano gets to Bixby bridge, and how HBO has helped their popularity
- 25:20 - How Big Sur responded to the pandemic
- 30:03 - Introducing the Big Surreal - the virtual challenge created by the iconic race to celebrate the surreal times that we're in.
- 34:45 - The Big Surreal Swag
- 37:34 - The rules for completing the Big Surreal, and why there's no sag wagon
- 40:31 - How Doug spent "Big Sur Marathon" weekend this year - with a ride for hope and rememberance
- 43:18 - The difficult decisions surrounding providing restition to the registered runners, and why Big Sur decided to give a generous refund during these trying time
- 53:11 - Why they've chosen this line of work, and how can runners help right now?
Links Talked About During this Show
Podcast TranscriptionThe following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.
Hilary Fujii: [00:00:00]
It is just such an emotional experience to watch people across the finish line when you particularly are a runner and just know the pain that they've gone through to get there. And it's not the one day it's the months and months of training, and it's such a mental exhausting experience that it's just, you feel it for them.
And it's. It's really unmatched. There's nothing like it.
Doug Thurston: [00:00:23]
We're runners, you know, I've been a runner for 40 years. I've been a race director for 35 years and I'm in this business because I know what that's like to experience that. And we make a lot of sacrifices in our own personal life to bring that to you.
Kevin Chang: [00:00:41]
Hello and welcome to the RaceMob podcast. This is episode number nine. I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd, and the founder of RaceMob. I'm joined by master motivator, founder of two legit fitness co chair of the Taji 100. RRC a certified coach USA track and field certified official. The incomparable Bertrand Newsome.
We're excited to welcome Doug Thirstin and Hillary Fuji of the Big Sur international marathon to the podcast. The big star international marathon has been named to nearly every top marathon list and as a famous bucket list race for most runners. And while you might not clock your best time due to the steep nature of the course, you will certainly have the best time of your life because of the scenic view of highway one, I've run three marathons in my life, and I'm proud to say that Big Sur was one of them.
In today's episode, we get to talk about some of the history of the Big Sur international marathon. We peel back the curtain on some of the stories runners aren't usually privy to, including what life is like on the back of a media truck and the origins of the famous strawberry aid station. Plus we dive into the extreme challenges that they're facing with the pandemic, how they've stayed true to their charter as a fighter, have a one C three organization.
And what went into the decision to pay the runners at generous restitution, where many other organizations would have simply kept them. We're also excited to help them promote the big, surreal, real challenge. This is a really fun virtual event. That is five challenges in one, you'll be able to run the majority of the distances offered during the Big Sur international marathon weekend from the five K 12 K 11 mile 21 mile and the marathon.
And you'll be able to run them throughout the whole month of September. The more races that you complete, the better, the schwag that she gets to take home. And as we all know, the extent of marathon has some of the coolest drag arounds. Plus there's going to be all sorts of virtual encouragement along the way.
And coach B and I are both entered. So we hope to see online. This episode is brought to you by race, mob, and inclusive community for fitness enthusiasts. Whether you're brand new to fitness or a veteran athletes, we all need support, motivation and accountability. We're launching a brand new community site where you'll be able to interact with our guests, Coach B and myself.
And we're going to be launching a brand new training program that's led by Coach B. So go to https://racemob.com sign up for your free account today. And you'll be notified when these projects go live.
Without further ado. Here's our conversation with Doug and Hillary. All right. We are so excited to welcome Doug and Hillary from the Big Sur Marathon onto the RaceMob Podcast. Welcome guys. Thank you for joining us today.
Hilary Fujii: [00:03:21]
Thanks for having us. We're excited.
Doug Thurston: [00:03:23]
Happy to be here.
Kevin Chang: [00:03:24]
Well, we wanted to have you on for a number of different reasons. Probably foremost is that Big Sur has such a big place in a lot of our hearts. I know coach B is from Monterey area.
Big Sur was one of the first marathons that I've ever run. I've only run three and one of them was the Big Sur marathon. So we're so excited to have you guys on the program on the podcast, and to be able to talk to you guys about your history and experience with big Sur.
Doug Thurston: [00:03:52]
So you're saying, you're saying Big Sur is one of your top three marathons,
Kevin Chang: [00:03:55]
top three marathon.
Definitely the hardest marathon that I've ever, that I've ever run. I think that's one of the mottos, right?
Doug Thurston: [00:04:03]
We have quite a few of them, but one of them could be the toughest marathon you'll ever love running on the ragged edge of the Western world. Doug,
Kevin Chang: [00:04:11]
give us a little bit of history. When did you become part of the organization running big, sir.
And, and can you give us some background on the big serve marathon as well?
Doug Thurston: [00:04:19]
Personally, I've only been involved for about one fifth of the total history of the event. I've been the race director here for seven years and the event would have had it's 36, fifth running in 2020. So the first year was 1986 for the marathon.
And it was, is created envisioned by a Monterey, the County judge. His name was judge bill early, William Burley. And, uh, part of his inspiration, he was a runner part of his inspiration. I was on highway one in karma, just as you're kind of leaving Carmel and heading South towards the st. Louis Obispo or Cambria or Hearst castle is a big green, you know, highway sign.
It says big sir, 26 miles. And he thought, what a great place to run a marathon point to point from Big Sur to Carmel, they actually thought about running itself and Carmel to Big Sur, but realize that the finished village in Big Sur wouldn't really work. So there was a nice, big, empty grass field right next to this highway sign next to a shopping center and it took them about two years before they could get the permits, the permissions and put together the first big sir international marathon.
There's only one race, one distance in April of 1986. And now we're 35 years later. So now it's grown from one race. With about, I think they had about 1800 people the first year, which is way more than, than I thought they would get about twice. As many as they thought they would get. So from that one race.
Now, the April last Sunday in April marathon weekend is seven different races over two days and two cities. And if you add up all of the participants for all the distances, it's about 14, 15,000 people and everything essentially sells out. So it could be much larger, but everything is past the limited either by the, of the course, the space at the start, the space of the finish, and even the number of buses.
Available for us to transport runners on highway one. So, uh, we're very fortunate to have a very beautiful popular event. That's been a pillar of our local community for three and a half decades,
Kevin Chang: [00:06:27]
and it's always rated as one of the most beautiful races in the world. One of the top courses, it's usually ranked in all of those magazines and by all runners as just one of the best races that there can be.
And, and you guys normally sell out pretty, pretty early. Is that right for the races? Pretty have a lottery system these days.
Doug Thurston: [00:06:46]
Okay. That's always been a popular event, but only as recently as eight or nine years ago, you could enter the race even as late as race weekend. It didn't use to sell out, but several things happened.
I think the growth of the internet happened. A couple of books came out, uh, I guess it was about 10 or 15 years ago. The ultimate guide to marathons book came out. And it was where one of the first of its kind and it ranked marathons all over the country. And then there was a second version of all over the world.
And the Big Sur marathon did get the highest ranking in that book that helped. And then we had a great sponsorship with runner's world at the time. And so we had these full page for color ads in their magazine, and this was kind of the second or third running boom, depending on how many running boom should count fueled by the growth in charity running and the growth and female marathon running back in the mid two thousands, you know, 2005, 2006 on up to 2010, which is when that wave of marathon participation really started to build.
So suddenly you had more marathoners looking for not necessarily the fastest course, but very experiential event. And that's what we play right into. Definitely not the fastest course out there. Although people run Boston qualifiers and PR on this course, if they prepare it. But we'd like to think we're one of the most beautiful events and we have good reputation as far as organization.
So. We were kind of the perfect storm, I think, and then increased the demand. And then Hillary can talk about the different registration programs we tried first come first serve. And you know, that didn't work out too well. Well, with that demand. So, um, so we did kind of go to a different drawing thing, which she can talk a little bit about if there's a way to make things complicated.
I think we do it.
Hilary Fujii: [00:08:28]
Yeah. He's not wrong there, but it makes for a really interesting event weekend. And we are trying to maximize the number of people that we can get to this bucket list races because of our restrictions with the chorus limitations and everything. Doug mentioned. Everything's up in the air right now.
But in recent years we've been doing a random drawing system where we have several different categories based on first timers loyalties. So if you run it with us before it's fear, a couples are part of a team that you want to get in all the same people to come and run it as a race cation. So we have a lot of different ways that we try to get the most amount of newcomers in, and people are allowed to enter as many of those drawings as they want in order to be considered.
We've kind of tinkered with it over the years as Doug mentioned, but we do tend to have about 80% new runners each year. So it's working in that regard for trying to get as many people exposed to our beautiful coastline as we can. But yeah, as Doug said, I think the, the admin of social media also. You gave us a really awesome platform to display the brand of our race, which is that coastline.
And it's so beautiful and lends itself so well to photography and videography. So yeah, it makes my job easy as marketing manager to have. Sweet. Oh, just beautiful images where everybody wants to come. And big Sur in general, um, has seen a huge rise in tourisms. It's actually become somewhat problematic in certain situations, just because of, again, the restriction of that two lane road that, uh, really doesn't have any other access points along the way from, from Carmel to big Sur.
So. It's something that we obviously have to be conscious of and manage, but it's, it's a definitely a once in a lifetime experience to be on that course on foot.
Kevin Chang: [00:10:16]
Absolutely. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I mean, I think, yeah, everybody who's done the race who has been out there can just attest to how amazing both the courses, but then also the support, the amount of support that you guys give amount of foresight and the aid stations along the way.
We were just joking before coming on the air, the strawberries on mile 20, is it 21? I mean, that's, that's the race tradition in and of itself, right?
Doug Thurston: [00:10:43]
Mile 22 and a half. Yeah. And that's, and that started, as Hillary mentioned, this is highway one, the only access for 90 miles for those residents. So there's no cross streets, there's no intersections.
We're probably the only major marathon to not have a single stoplight on the course. So the strawberries is interesting story. Um, there's an area of kind of the last, I guess it's, it's hardly even call it a community cluster of homes. From the finish line, like it's about four miles away from the finish line, just area called Carmel Highlands.
And the residents are kind of like kind of trapped, right? Because of highway being closed, except for caravans, escorted, caravans, or emergency vehicles and the runners. So as you hope people will do, they make the best of it and they just kind of turned it into a party. So they were out there with their mimosas and bloody Marys and brunch, and somebody started bringing strawberries great time of year for strawberries in the spring.
This area is kind of a strawberry capital of the country nearby. So then they started offering the strawberries to the runners and that just of course at mile 22, you know, you could take anything. That's going to be great, but taking a sweet strawberry at that point. It's light all on their own. And they were buying flats and flats and flats of strawberries and cutting them up themselves.
So it can became a big community thing. It still is. We've kind of taken it over a little bit just because it got so big that they said we just can't no, we can't go pick up, you know, a truck full of strawberries anymore. So, so we kind of brought an officially into aid station capacity. Now everybody wears gloves and all that stuff.
So yeah, that's one of the thrills is getting us a French cut strawberry by a local volunteer. We're a pretty small community. The Monterey peninsula. You know, a race of 15,000 insurance over a couple of days is about half the size of, of all the population of all of our surrounding community. Oh wow. So, and we need about 2,500 volunteers.
So it really is a community run organization. We're a nonprofit organization. We provide grants back to other nonprofits who help us put on the races. So for again, three and a half decades, it's just kind of been an institution in this part of central California. Awesome.
Kevin Chang: [00:13:01]
Do you have any stories that runners normally aren't privy to or don't normally have?
Doug Thurston: [00:13:07]
Where do we start? How much time do we now? What do we got here?
Kevin Chang: [00:13:10]
Plenty of time. We've got plenty of time. That's right. Absolutely.
Doug Thurston: [00:13:13]
A major road. Race is a series of near disasters. And as long as we can keep the word near in there that adjective we're. Okay. Obviously we've had, we've had landslides, which there's been twice in the 30 plus year history.
Where we had to alter the course to run out and back instead of point to point, because, you know, after a heavy
slopes, we call it running on the ragged edge of the Western world because it's mountains kind of right down to the water in a lot of places with highway one. Carefully cut back in the twenties and thirties to create this, this access. So landslides are not at all uncommon after a particularly wet winter.
So two times we've had to do out in the back courses. We've had a bridge that collapsed, not on the course, fortunately, but just South of the course, which made our normal bus transportation system unworkable, because buses would have turned around on the other side of that bridge. So we had to kind of change our start plan a little bit with that.
But I think one thing that, that most people may not think about is that, again, this is a two lane road. That's the only access for 90 miles. So we worked very closely with Caltrans and the highway patrol and Monterey County, because we have to provide some access for residents. So we run these caravans on one side of the road.
So you only have one side of a two lane highway to run on. That process starts from four in the morning and goes, tell about one, one 30 in the afternoon. And just to coordinate that, I think we have 45 highway patrol officers. We pull in highway patrol officers from the Monterey County, the two surrounding counties to kind of manage the toll traffic control of that.
So runners kind of take it for granted, but I think one thing you need runner who does this race. One of the things that that is kind of amazing to them is, you know, you have to take a bus to the star. The buses leave really early in the morning, three 30, four, four 30 in the morning. Because we got to get all of those buses 175 buses down to the, all these different starting lines for the relay or the 21 mile or the 11 miler.
And then we gotta get all those buses off the course before we can start the race so that you drive down in the dark, you know, winding two lane road in the dark. You watch the sun come up while you're kind of in your start line village. And if you've never done this race or been on this highway before.
The first time you're really gonna see it is after the gun goes off. And that's amazing. One of the things that I'm sure Hillary can talk about is, you know, something as simple as having a press truck and getting the photographers and the media, you know, that takes a whole event in itself, particularly with an open stake bed truck.
Hillary talked a little bit about how, how you get the press down there and what happens when the gun goes off with that open stake bed
Hilary Fujii: [00:16:00]
truck. Yeah, no, I've been thinking about that while you were talking. So, I mean, it's the same sort of thing with the media. They've got to get up early to get in the minivan that I'm driving.
Or one of my other staff members is driving and we meet at the Starbucks at the crossroads, which is just at the finish line there of the marathon. And we all caravan down to the start and just like the runners, we get to go a little bit later. We actually are able to use drivers and a stake bed truck from the Monterey Bay aquarium.
They're not official sponsors, but they partner with us on that and help out every race. They do it for our half marathon in the fall as well. But it's these sick bed trucks that they use for various things at the aquarium, you know, probably including moving sea creatures at some point, my prednisone actually, and her husband, they had created this kind of makeshift little.
I guess it's kind of like a bench on the back that goes into the stake bed. That's lower than a normal steak would be where the photographers can rest their elbows and lean on there to shoot off the back. So we get down, it's still pitch black. Usually let the photographers out in the videographers out to take some shots of the start line.
And then about 10 minutes before we all meet back at the start line and our truck is just about 20 feet out in front of the start. And as they do the countdown, the last ten second countdown. We start to inch forward. All everyone's in the back of the truck. I'm telling everyone to hold on and then we start to go, go, go.
And as soon as the gun goes off, we're off with the runners and it's all this excitement and build up. But weirdly it's, it's so quiet for the first about five miles while we're through the Redwood forest. It's just like serene and peaceful. And you see some of the Caltrans people, some of the firefighters.
But the AIDS to proceed station is a little ways out. So for the first, you know, two miles, it's just almost total silence and yeah, weird really serene. You can still hear the runners screaming cause you're so close to them. Um, but then for the rest of the course, we basically kind of play a chicken game of chicken with the runners where we're going for it a little bit and we'll let the photographers get out, get in position, get the lead runners.
But then we also will get ahead. And at a certain point in the course we'll run into the runners and walkers from our other distances as well. So it ends up being a really interesting and usually pretty freezing the experience being up on hurricane point is tough as a runner, but also tough when you're going 25 miles in the bed of a truck.
I have definitely had a few media personalities who are used to being on camera. Just tap out about halfway through and climb into the bed of the chair, into the cab of the truck rather. Yeah. It's not for the faint of heart. That's for sure. Last year we definitely got drizzled on and it's just. At one point we break away.
And when we have a few miles left to go so that we can get to the finish line, there's this caravan ramp that we pull off to the side right before the finish line, everybody jumps out, runs to the finish so that you can get that shot of the first runner crossing the line. But last year we had a guy.
That had not registered as an elite. So I've also got my binder there, you know, with all of the bin numbers of the elite runners so that we can relay back to the media and all of that. But last year we didn't know who he was. Cause he hadn't registered as an elite and he just, it took off from the get go, like, no one that seem so strong and everyone in the truck is like, Oh, he's going to burn out.
He doesn't know it's coming. He hasn't trained for those, you know, And lo and behold, he was just that strong the whole time he ended up winning, but towards the end, I was like, we usually make a stop at the strawberry station to get some photos. Cause it's a great photo off there. A lot of fun. And I was like, we're, we're going to gun it.
We can't do this. We gotta go to the finish line. We're not gonna make it. So he had to just gun it to the finish line. Luckily we made it in. But, um, yeah, it's, it's definitely a down to the minute and watching the clock sort of situation out there on the media truck, but it's a lot of fun
Doug Thurston: [00:20:10]
when you see this pictures of this amazing lead pack, or maybe it's the lead runner going across this big speed bridge or it's like, this is kind of a little behind the scenes frozen photographers that have been, you know, have met at four o'clock in the morning, you know, out there for this picture.
I've got, if you've got time, I have another story that I think you, okay. So one of the things we're known for is the grand piano, right? the reason that there's a grand piano out on the court is way back. Judge Burley very early on again, year one, he was a big fan of classical music. Symphony music. And felt like this course just was the epitome of, of that kind of musical experience, just so, so beautiful.
So they used to have a lot of string quartets and we still have some local bands, but for years, the race had a lot of classical music themes to it. And so, so right from the very start, he put it grand piano in this view spot, right near Bixby bridge with a person playing in a full tuxedo. And the piano was Mike.
Depending on the wind, you can hear it from as much as a mile away.
So, , I don't play the piano, so I've never had to move a piano, but moving a piano is a specialized business. I mean, there are professional piano movers. That's what they do. And not only do you have to move it in a special way, but then anytime it's moved, you have to tune it.
So we use a piano mover out of San Francisco, you know, two hours away. They bring the piano down from San Francisco and they drive it down the night before they sleep in the truck with the piano, uh, and about. Three or four in the morning, they move it into position. They get, get it all tuned. They get it all.
Mike, do they test everything? The player, the pianist, whose name is Michael Martinez. It comes down, you know, and his tuxedo and everything. He practices that everybody goes through the whole drill. And then, and then the runners go by for about three hours and then they have after get the truck, move the truck in position, move the piano back, et cetera.
So the piano just doesn't show up an hour before the runners. It's a whole production. It takes a village to get that baby grand piano into place. And now of course, runners are. Or stopping and thinking selfies by the hundreds, they'll play a few notes to themselves. You know, it's, it's just a really, it's a made for Instagram moment.
It makes me bridge in the background. This iconic bridge made famous, even more famous by the HBO show, big little lies, right. And seasons one and two, where they drive over that bridge and the opening credits. Uh, so I think we, when we use that hashtag don't we on our Instagram hashtag pick little lies or something.
Hilary Fujii: [00:22:51]
Oh, yeah, I do. Because, uh, you know, it's, uh, it's one of our top found out hashtags, so right on their coattails with the popularity, love that show.
Doug Thurston: [00:23:04]
But Nicole Kidman and the big Sur marathon, we're all, we're all tight. We're all, we're all together. We, we work together to make this possible. So
Hilary Fujii: [00:23:12]
I mean, a few of us that on staff definitely have tweeted at that cast before to come around.
Yeah. But we're working on it, but we do joke that our course is. The place where a lot of runners set a PR for the number of photos that they take on their phone during the race. It's definitely not a speedy course. It's Doug mentioned, but there's so much stopping and taking in the scenery, which is it's really like what we are all about our brand and our messaging.
And the interesting part about it being so Instagrammable, as you might say, is that there's pretty much no cell service on the course. That is some interests seeing situations for us as well. And I was thinking too, when you were talking Doug about how we also work with our local media, um, KSBW or our TV Stu station here, and every year we have some videographers that are in contract with us that help out with some of that footage.
And one other interesting story is. But the main guy there who is capturing the video footage, he usually starts out on the back of a motorcycle. Um, kind of like a little scooter, actually that's the scooter at the start line gets footage of the start line, gets footage of the person. Two miles and then ducks into a hotel down there at the big server and uses their wind side to get that footage off to the news station.
So it can get on the 7:00 AM news. Um, so that's just another funny little, a little piece where there's a lot of scrambling behind the scenes to get things that seem like, Oh yeah, they've just got a news crew down there, you know, pretty simple. Not so much when you don't have cell service. So it does only makes for some interesting roundabouts, but it's, you know, that's the charm of it.
That's the way that we build relationships with our community. I mean, you know, I'm talking to this innkeeper before the race to see that we can get someone into their cafe to use the wifi. And he's like, yep. Every year I'm used to this now, you know, so it's just fun to have those quirky little relationships with, uh, you know, the few people that are along the course.
Bertrand Newson: [00:25:20]
Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing those behind the scenes stories. I'm sure there's more to come as we continue the conversation, but it just gives our listeners, he can cite as to all the moving parts to pull off a marathon. And this just isn't any marathon is Doug. Point it out 90 miles. A closed course for the most part.
And just the ability to pull that off the way you guys have for 30 plus years, the logistics vary the transportation component. I mean, yes, the runners, you know, are waking up early and getting on that bus. So I'm able to take a nap cause I'm not so much. And then waiting out and the winners village with the anticipation.
Taking off the extra layers of clothes during little warmup exercises, and then hearing the gun go off. And then for most, who are exposed to the course for the first time, as you said, 80% of the participants generally are first timers and the course, it completely. Awakens the census. It is a tough course, one because of the wind and the Hills, but it just makes the course that much more unique.
And it is more of a journey. Some people are,
Kevin Chang: [00:26:19]
have the luxury
Doug Thurston: [00:26:20]
of being able to run for time and establish personal best. Sometimes their slowest marathon may be a personal best or their best experience. Overall, on a course, I have very fond memories and running with a good friend of mine on that course.
So. Kudos to you and the importance on what we can do to ensure that the big Sur international marathon is here for years to come, you know, time and time again. So why don't we go and pivot into 2020 looks. And as far as the virtual experience in the year, take and Hillary your take on 20, 21 and beyond.
You know, we started to hear about the coronavirus February pretty much. Um, we heard about the Tokyo marathon. I think most of us thought, okay, it's, it's, uh, it's isolated to Asia, bad for them, but you know, we should be okay. And the last events committee meeting we have, we have about a 75 80 person committee.
That those are all the kind of the captains of different. Parts of the race directors of different segments. I think it was March 4th and I stood in front of this group and said, we are playing. I need to go ahead. You know, we, we think we're going to be okay. Well, as we all know what the coronavirus, every day seemed like a month and every week seemed like a year.
As far as the, the amount of change. So within two weeks later, you know, we knew that we had some serious issues, so we thought we could postpone it. And when could we do that again? It's all this planning that, you know, permits and highway one and impact on the community. And. Residents, et cetera. They're used to having the last Sunday in April for better or worse.
It's like, okay, that's marathon day. I know I need to make plans around that. So when could we possibly have at that wasn't the last Sunday in April and this was back in March early April. We kind of created this idea that, well, we have a half marathon, our Monterey Bay, half marathon, a very large and successful event in its own, right.
With more than 10,000 entrance. And it's in downtown Monterey and the Monterey Bay shoreline of Monterey and Pacific Grove great event, half marathon we thought, well, maybe we could just try to do it, pull up our resources, move that Sunday, half marathon to the Saturday, put the marathon on Sunday and its regular course regular finish line.
And yes, it will be really difficult for our people, but we'll get it over with in one weekend. And. Do you know when April is like, okay, by November, this should all be good. Well, as we all know, as April and may and June rolled around, we realized, Nope, November is not looking very good either. So we finally pulled the plug on the postponed event in early June.
And now as we're recording this at the end of July, you know, we've made restitution for all those April 20, 20 insurance. Fortunately, we hadn't opened registration yet for the half marathon, so there's no situation with entries we had to accommodate for that. So that process is pretty much complete. So.
You know, we're looking for our actual in person events, realistically, we don't know what it's going to be safe to have an in person event. And I think anyone who does either has information, the rest of the world doesn't have is very optimistic and has hope, which that's great. But I think, you know, even the spring of 2021 is it's too early to make that call.
Right. So that being said, we knew that we had. An audience for people that wanted to have some sort of experience with our brand and Hillary being that talented creative person that she is. I don't know if it was a middle of the night inspiration. Yeah. Or what, but she created this very unique thing.
Yeah. I'll have her tell you about, because I think it's just wonderful.
Hilary Fujii: [00:30:03]
Yeah. So as Doug mentioned, the rumblings started happening of the potential to cancel our postponed rates. I started thinking, all right, well, we've got to do something else. And our industry really, as a whole, had already pivoted to the virtual space.
And if I'm being honest, I have been pretty harsh critic of virtual races and their rise over the past few years, especially in the way that it relates to our brand. Since our brand is focused on that experience of running on highway one. I just never saw a way that we could package that feeling into something that really felt authentic to our brand and our ethos.
And so it was a hard transition for me to get onboard, even though I'm the one that ultimately created the kind of outline for our racial experience. But when you're put in a situation like this, it totally shifts your perspective. And I now see it as this amazing opportunity to bring our community together and to expand our community across the country and globally, and really give people a reason to get out and get motivated and to keep running and have something to look forward to or start running.
I've had a lot of friends that have been really excited about the virtual offerings because. They're not big runners and they maybe didn't think in person races were for them in the past. So this is, you know, in some ways, making it more accessible and might be on awesome inroad for future in person events for a lot of people.
But we created a, a virtual experience that we just launched last Monday in the middle of July called the big surreal. So it's a fun play on our namesake race and also just a sort of a nod to the crazy times that we're living in right now. And, um, we kind of decided to fit our logo a little bit and make it kind of fun and funky.
And we've got a lot of tidy themed Merck going along with it. And, um, we're kind of just diamond in and going with the weirdness of the times and kind of making that our asset instead of something against us, we basically created a challenge that will run from September 1st to September 30th.
Registration is now open through September 15th for it. And it's one price to enter, but then there are five challenges within the virtual experience that you can choose to complete as many of them as you want. So each distance corresponds to the distances that we typically offer on our in person and April weekend of events.
So we have a 5k, 12 K 11 miler, 21 miler and a marathon. We didn't do the relay aspect because that would be a little tricky for this situation. We've already got a lot going on with it. No, we wanted to offer something that would really give at anybody at any level, the ability to participate and also be challenging.
I mean, to be able to run those, that many different distances in one month, including a full marathon is obviously a big sheet. So this allows everything from the five K runner to. Participate and still receive some slag or keep going and challenge themselves. See if they can get to that 12 K see if they can get to that 11 mile or so we outlined it in a way that if you run at least just the 5k, you'll get a shirt and a metal.
So you get a metal. Regardless of how many challenges you complete, as long as you complete just one, but that metal will correspond to the longest distance that you do. So each time you complete a challenge, you get a new slang item and each time you complete a challenge with higher mileage, that's your new metal.
So if you complete all five, you get five awesome swag items and you get a medal for the marathon distance. So. It's kind of a fun, uh, graded challenge where you get to run at your own fitness level and challenge yourself a little bit. And we have a lot of really cool interactive experiences along the way, too, that we're going to be launching in this next couple of weeks.
Like a Spotify playlist. It's going to be sponsored by our beer sponsor. We have personalized bins that you can print out. There'll be some photo opportunities. You've got a social wall, uh, our bridge platform. It's Haku. We just transferred over to them a few months ago and they have some really cool experiential virtual assets that are kind of launching in the next few weeks that are gonna make it really fun and makes for sort of a game of vacation experience.
So we're trying to use that as a tool to get people motivated and also as a way to engage our community. And a lot of people. To interact with each other and we're getting our sponsors involved as well. Of course. So we're doing a lot of do cool giveaways with them. Some contests or things like hook shoes, we're going to give away 50 shoe certificates to a pool of people that complete all five challenges after the end of September.
So we've got lots of Slack. We definitely have lots of Slack,
Kevin Chang: [00:34:45]
you know, us runners. We love swag. We love sweat.
Doug Thurston: [00:34:49]
So this could be marathon. Number four for you.
Kevin Chang: [00:34:51]
Ah, there you go. Yeah. Sounds good to me. Get you on, on it. I'm sure you guys have had a fantastic response already, right? I mean, I think you said opening weekends, quite a few registrations up over a thousand registrations just initially, right.
Hilary Fujii: [00:35:05]
Yeah. So when he got an a thousand registrations in the first 24 hours, actually, um, we haven't done a ton on the marketing side as far as like paid media or anything. Um, you know, we're all struggling in this industry right now, so we're kind of letting it roll organically a little bit in the first week, but we're up to 1500 now.
So yeah, it was a great response. We were really excited about it and more, we're interested to see how it continues to go.
Kevin Chang: [00:35:32]
And the other swag that is involved in the challenges. I think there is socks. There's like water bottles, there's tote bags. I mean, I think everything that you can do to motivate people to, to go a little bit further, a little bit longer distance, I think is awesome is fantastic because we all need a little motivation during this time.
We all need a little bit of something to push us along the way to pull us along. So I'm excited to yeah. Check out the swag and. Obviously you guys have some of the coolest sweat in the industry by far.
Hilary Fujii: [00:36:04]
Oh, thanks. Yeah. We have a huge merchandise program and we have a lot of fun with it. I'm lucky enough to be able to do a lot of our graphic designing for that program.
And it's really fun. We take a lot of leeway with our branding and take a lot of inspiration from, you know, certain culture and art culture in the Bexar area and try to be really true to our community in that sense. And we do so with our sourcing as well, sustainability is a huge focus of ours. And so we always aim to partner with merchandisers and sponsors that align on that the value system as well.
And so a big supporter of the swag for the big story recover brands, which is our premier sustainability and sponsor and everything that they produce is a hundred percent recycled material. So their model is basically eight plastic bottles equals one shirt. So it's something you can feel really good about contributing to.
So, um, and those are the shirts that are provided as well as the Gators and the tote bags. Those are all recover bands, um, manufactured. So they're all a hundred percent recyclable. Is there a
Doug Thurston: [00:37:06]
cap on registration?
Hilary Fujii: [00:37:09]
I mean, we can take a lot of heat. So come on, come on,
Doug Thurston: [00:37:13]
coach B, do you think you're going to go for the circuit and do all five?
That is the goal. Yes. Looking forward to the challenge.
Hilary Fujii: [00:37:22]
Well, you guys know people now, so if you have any problems getting in, you know, just,
Kevin Chang: [00:37:27]
Bertrand Newson: [00:37:30]
we want to get more people in. So Kevin, I will, we'll let.
Kevin Chang: [00:37:34]
Doug Thurston: [00:37:34]
you know, with the, with the virtual races, it's a little bit on the honor system, right? You guys do you, you can upload your wearable and we've got mechanisms to do that. People have asked about doing it on the treadmill. That's fine with us. And one thing we do ask is that whatever distance you do, you do it at one time.
So you can't do, you know, five miles, uh, you know, a day. For five and a half days and, you know, call it a marathon. So if you're going to do the marathon, you know, you gotta start and finish it and do it in kind of in one, you know, one effort, but yeah. Yeah, you've got 30 days, you know, again, we have, we have seven races over our race weekend, normally.
Now we have a three K that is primarily with, with children and that's the day before. And then we have the relay, which is a four person relay over the full marathon distance. So the other five are part of it. And those, those races all, all sell out normally as well. Not just for people who couldn't do the marathon, but people who only want to do.
A five K or a 12 K, which is about 7.4 miles and the 11 milers on highway one point to point and the 21 miles on highway one point to point. So those are great for walkers who want to experience it steel bent, but may not be able to run the whole, so same thing virtually, we ask people to observe a reasonable time limit 19 minutes a mile, which is an hour for a, for a 5k again, to kind of keep it similar to what an in person experience would be.
We have a six hour marathon limit. Normally on race day because we've got to get highway one reopened, but if you're in your neighborhood and you go over six hours, I'm not going to tell him. Well, one of those races where we want to be as generous as we can with our time limit. But we also as part of our permit, right.
And we don't have any sidewalks. You can't just keep going. You know, like, like an urban marathon might be, cause there's no sidewalk. And we got to get the highway reopened. And once the highway is reopened, There's a lot of demand and there's the shoulders. There's no shoulders and things like that. So unfortunately, when we have our in person events, we have a cutoffs along the course, including a really hard cutoff.
So a couple of buses, and usually we get anywhere from 60 to a hundred people that don't make the time either, because of course was more difficult than they anticipated. The head. One was more difficult than they anticipated. Maybe they took too many pictures, it was slowing them up a little bit. Or they just, you know, their training wasn't at the level that they hoped it would be.
And they just wanted to get out there for as long as they could. So virtually that's not an issue. There's no, there's no sag wagon. I will not be while 21 waiting to put you on a bus, maybe for coach B. Maybe, maybe I'll be, if you see a bus in your neighborhood and me out there. You know, it's me with my, with my stopwatch going, I don't
Kevin Chang: [00:40:26]
Doug Thurston: [00:40:31]
if you have strawberries, I got strawberries. Okay. Well, you know, speaking of that, so on, on race day, which was April 26th, this year, which would have been the race day, we did have some locals that went out and ran the course. And I can't run that far. My, my training doesn't provide me to do that far. But I went out on my bike and I biked all of our rugby, all distances.
That day turned out to be about a hundred miles. And, uh, I did the full marathon out and back, and then I did the half marathon. And then yeah, 5k in Carmel called run the name of love in June that was also canceled. So you've combined all those races in writing to them all turned out to be about a hundred miles.
And some of our committee people came out to support us. And one of our committee people then went to Bixby bridge, took out an old, uh, I don't think it was even working just like a keyboard and they're fake tucks and play the keyboard for me. And I rode my bike by, we called it a, the ride for hope and remembrance, because we hope that, you know, we'll return to safer days soon and remembrance because of actually.
One of our committee, people actually said to say was a victim of COVID-19 and it had passed away at the end of March. You know, the pandemic really hit home to us because we lost one of our committee members and one of our close friends to disease. So on April 26th, little over three months ago now, uh, we did to a ride of hope and remember it.
So coach B, if you, if you're going to do your marathon in September, maybe I'll find that keyboard and I'll, I'll get my tuxedo out. Maybe I'll play for you in the neighborhood.
Bertrand Newson: [00:42:04]
Alright, it's being recorded.
Kevin Chang: [00:42:08]
We got you. On record. We got you on record. Are you enjoying the show? Help us out by sharing the podcast.
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Alright. So I wanted to dive back or jump back a little bit, you know, I think a lot of other marathons, a lot of other races could have easily just said, Hey, we're going to do a virtual run in place of the real run and we're going to collect and keep all of that.
Entry fees, everything, but you guys did it a little bit differently and you guys decided to give some of the money back to the runners and pay restitution, which is difficult, especially for five Oh one, three C company. And you decided to put on this additional event, this great challenge with a lot of foresight, with a lot of thought and effort and energy put behind it.
And it's not just the metal, not just the t-shirt. So can you bring us back to the decisions that had to be made? What was the light back then?
Doug Thurston: [00:43:18]
Yeah, thanks for that question. And for the runners listening to this, we feel your pain. I mean, I've lost entry fees before when I, or I got injured and couldn't do a race and I've entered some races this year been canceled.
It's a very difficult thing. Every race as an organization is different, certainly. And they have different resources. We are a nonprofit. So our charters essentially to raise as much money as we can through our events and other promotions, give it back to the community or put on the best events we can.
But also then give back to our community. And each year we give more than $400,000 back to the community through grants, and then some years we've done extra, either fundraising or, or fire relief or other things, you know, for the campfire in Butte County. A few years ago, we donated more than $125,000.
When Big Sur had a fire or when the bridge was out or different things. So, you know, that keeps us in good standing with our local community, but it's also the right thing to do. And our, our mission statement or the Big Sur marathon foundation. Again, a nonprofit organization is to create beautiful events that benefit the health and fitness of our community.
You know, we collected entry fees for those April 2020 entrances, starting as early as in July of 2019. And again, with most of events selling out during calendar year 2019, this money had been collected and it was in our bank account, you know, months and months ago. Of course, we use that money to not only put the race on, but as part of our operating expenses, you know, similar to when you go to a coffee shop and buy a $5 latte, it's more than just the cup and the coffee.
You're paying for the overhead you're paying for that barista. You're paying for that baristas health insurance. You're paying, you know, for the rent on that building, et cetera, the insurance. So even if you spill that cup of coffee or something, there's hard costs that are built into any business. There were hard costs built into the April, 2020 race.
Because we didn't cancel it or first postponed it until March. So we had hundreds of thousands of dollars of direct race expenses that we'd already paid, uh, materials that we'd ordered vendors. We'd already contracted with suppliers and contractors had already done work, et cetera. Our board looked at, what can we do to make the runners as whole as possible, but also maintain our business, particularly during this situation is different than if we'd had a, you know, a poor air quality from a forest fire or a landslide or something that is a unique event.
We don't know when we're going to come back and collect entry fees. Like we used to, none of us really know as we sit here at the end of July in 2020, when in person events are going to be safe, viable. So our board looked very hard at that. The postponed race was canceled as well and said, you know, the best we can do is 60% refunds for those who request them a hundred percent back on things like pasta, dinner, tickets, or special ad-ons.
But we also want to give people the option. Like if you would rather just donate a hundred percent of your feedback to us, We really appreciate it. And actually about eight or 9% of people did they willingly said, I don't want any money back. I want you guys to be around for the future. That helps. That helps that combination of retaining some of that income 40%, for those who opted for refunds a hundred percent, for those who, who decided to give the money back to us, uh, and.
The income, the net income will have from the sure race, which of course is far less expensive than a regular race to enter, but you don't have travel. You don't have hotel, you don't have those other additional expenses. We're able to use some things we already have in our warehouse. Like the metals that we'd already created for April.
Some things we may have to create purposefully for the swag, for the big surreal, depending on, on what the response is total by the end of September. But that will help as well. It's all really about just so many other businesses, whether it's a race or your neighborhood restaurant, how do we keep our head above water water until we're at the end of the tunnel?
However long that tunnel is right. And you know what seems like a good idea. One week may look like a bad idea the next week. And you know, here we are in Northern California and you know, you get news every day on the pandemic. It's usually not good news these days. So we're scrambling, we're in survival mode.
Like so many other businesses are we're in pure survival mode. At the same time, we want to be authentic to our brand. And, um, Hillary is, is in charge of that. And we want to keep in touch with our fans. We know we have a very dedicated fan base. People who love our races or want to do our races one day, their aspirational bucket list.
You know, we can't fulfill people's bucket lists. If our organization doesn't survive, those are some tough conversations to have with some runners because they can get frustrated. You know, I want all my money back. I want the extra $40 or $60 or $90, but this is bigger than any one individual. And we ask for their patients in consideration because it may be $80 to you, but there's 7,000 more of you, 8,000 more of you.
So suddenly we're talking about. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars that are coming straight up out of our bank account back to the people that entered in, in April close to $900,000. We've given back, and we're not a huge organization. So we're, we're going to do the best we can to stay alive so that we can, can create beautiful events that benefit the health and fitness of our community for hopefully 35.
Plus more years for Hillary. It's really important though, that we, that we stay authentic and keep people engaged with our brand. And you know, whether it's our social media or our big surreal experience and things like that, we still get a strong response from people who want to see beautiful images and think about whether they're doing it on a treadmill.
They can envision our course.
Hilary Fujii: [00:49:01]
Yeah. And another. Reason that we decided just not to go directly to virtual is because initially when we post home, we had offered a direct referral to the now November, 2020, because they're marathons. So we had three different pools of people. Now that had asked it's for a direct deferral or deferral percentage off to a future a year through 2022.
And when we then elected that we needed to move forward with canceling the November event. We wanted to treat all of the original 20, 20 entrance, the same, regardless of what their original postponement choice had been. So we decided to just Glink it go back and offer the 60% refunds to everybody that had registered versus trying to get into the complex dealings of transferring people who had deferred at no cost.
To 2020 November versus people who had deferred to 2021 at a cost, it just got really messy and weird everything going on in the world. We just elected to simplify things and make the greatest restitution possible. As Doug mentioned that our board felt would allow us to stay alive. I said, we also really wanted to be intentional with a virtual experience and it took awhile to determine whether it was viable for us to do that from a financial standpoint.
I mean, it's. Week to week, like Doug said, with the status of our organization and the status of our jobs, quite frankly. I mean, it's really tough for all of us and we're trying to find ways to be creative and stay relevant. And, um, we're just taking it one week at a time, but we're really proud of what we built.
And, um, we were in the, the middle of changing registration platforms at that time, too. So. You threw that into the mix as well with getting everybody registered on a new platform for an event that didn't exist and all of that sort of thing, uh, definitely added to the confusion. Um, but we also kind of took a step back for the first two months and just kind of realigned with.
What we decided we wanted to focus our efforts on. And some of that ended up being really awesome partnerships that we had already had that we utilized in new, different ways. So one of those being, um, with our hardware sponsor vocal gear, yeah. Out of Colorado, they actually pivoted to start making masks.
And this was early on. Um, probably right at the beginning of April, when master is still pretty in demand, it was difficult to get one. I mean, I had my friend's mother and yeah. Mom makes them and send them to me. You know, my husband's a doctor, so we couldn't even get them from the hospital at that point in time.
So, you know, we. You talked about it a lot internally, whether or not it seemed like it was capitalizing on the pandemic or something like that. We were sensitive to that opinion, but decided that this was a need, people needed this. And so we partnered with Boko gear to basically produce a program in which we did a one for one sort of situation.
So like Tom shoes does with their one, for one, for each mass purchased by our participant base. We gave one to our local hospital. Little community hospital of Monterey peninsula, which is our medical sponsor provider. So we, at the end of the day, we're able to give them over a thousand mass and they were doing a mask.
I drive at the time trying to get to 2002. So we sent them way over that and it was awesome. We actually just delivered them a few weeks ago and got some photos back of their staff that. It was for their stuff that wasn't directly working with patients, but you know, like the valleys at the front end, the participant services or client services and that sort of thing.
So that was really rewarding. And we did a few other campaigns like that, where we partnered with some of them existing sponsors and then brought in charity. These two does well, we did one with recover brands, like I mentioned earlier, uh, and gave some money, raise money for COVID relief in Monterey County, too, that went directly into people that were struggling early on.
So that was what we chose to focus on at the beginning was how can we pivot to provide some services that maybe are needed right now and still live out our mission statement of supporting the health of our community. And then we took time to refocus and say, okay, now it's time to do something fun for, for our virtual space.
Bertrand Newson: [00:53:11]
What can we do? What can our listeners do? What can the community do? To help support you and the mission of the big Sur international marathon moving forward, because you have clearly done so much for the community over and over again, giving back almost a billion dollars in restitution, $900,000. The 1.1 mask program, and then we can go on and on, but what can we do to pay it forward to ensure the health and wellbeing of this wonderful community event with such longstanding can continue on in the future?
Doug Thurston: [00:53:46]
Thank you her turn. That's a great question. And you may want to take me to lunch.
You know, I think one thing is by and large runners are a wonderful supportive community. You know, obviously this is, this is stressful for all of us and we know that paying. To run a race is an optional activity. It's not basic food and shelter and healthcare. Yes. It's great. Personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment and things like that.
I think for the runners out there support your local race director, your local event company, your local running store, because you know, we're all hurting. There are no winners in this. And as Hillary mentioned, we're all scrambling. Nobody's job is safe. You know, we're trying to survive so that we can serve you again.
So we appreciate people's patience and consideration. We appreciate their support when we are coming back. If you want to do the virtual race, it's great. Because again, it's a much lower price point. You know, you don't have to commit hundreds and hundreds of dollars in entry fees and travel and hotels.
And the other things that go into making a race, a special experience, too, we all love to travel. We all love to go to races and, and be with meet new people. And, and you know, the person you met on the bus, on the drive outs, the guy you see at miles 20, and it's like, Hey, you're that guy from New Jersey. I met you on the bus.
So, you know, that's going to be off to the side for now, but, you know, we just want people to stay healthy and kind of keep it in perspective that when we're able to do these chats and we've done a few of them since the cancellation, and we just want to let people know we're real people, too. We may be the faces behind your favorite races.
I mean, this is our job. We choose this, this occupation because we want you to cross the finish line and have a successful experience. We want you to have a beautiful experience. We want you to be in tears when you cross the finish line. Hopefully not from pain, but from joy. We want you to have this life altering experience because we're runners, you know, I've been a runner for.
40 years. I've been a race director for 35 years and I'm in this business because I know what that's like to experience that. And we make a lot of sacrifices in our own personal life to bring that to you. The Hillary mentioned a few minutes ago that her husband's a doctor. You know, she can talk a little bit about the sacrifices that she's making, but this is a choice that she's made in her career to be in the special event business.
We work. So you can play. It's a choice we make, we do this, not because there's something else we'd rather be doing and what kind of do this until we get it a real job. This is our job. And we do it willingly and we love doing it frustrated and angry that we can't do it the way we normally do it for you too.
For all the runners out there. Take your race director to lunch when safe to do so, but when we do come, yeah, thank the volunteers. Cause it's not possible without them. Thank the race directors. If you, if you have a good experience, support the sponsors, they make it possible. They help underwrite.
Obviously the costs. Buy some swag that always helps because you know, that helps contribute to our bottom line as well. And just let us know that this is something you want to do because we want to be here for you and Hillary. And this is a field that, you know, you've chosen and you do it willingly.
Hilary Fujii: [00:57:04]
Yeah, I know. I almost started to tear up when you talk about the finish line. I swear. I cry every time I get to the finish line off the media truck, even if just for a few seconds, because it is just such an emotional experience to watch people across the finish line when you particularly are a runner and just know the pain that they've gone through to get there.
And it's not the one day it's the months and months of training. And it's such a mental exhausting experience that it's just, you feel it for them. And it's, it's really unmatched. There's nothing like it it's addicting. I, you know, I don't do many ops oriented tasks now, but I used to do a lot of that stuff in my own position.
And. You get addicted to waking up at three in the morning and putting up barricades and striving, you know, doing all of that kind of stuff. And I miss it a lot right now, and it is sad and scary to think about the future and how long it might be before we're able to put on events in person. Again. But I know that we will and we will be back and it might look a lot different.
And so I think the other thing that runners should be prepared for a lot of changes in person events, at least for the next couple of years, we're going to have to, you know, maybe in some situations, scale back the number of participants we have, we're going to have to comply with whatever the CDC guidelines are at that point in time.
And they might. Shifts from one month to the next and the same way that we're seeing stat shift now. And we all just kind of have to continue to pause and take deep breaths and take what comes with us in just take whatever is coming at us. It, and really know that we're all in this together and it's all for the betterment of the community.
So I hope that we're back out there soon and we will find a way to make it safe for everybody. And I know that. Get closer to realizing that that we'll be looking to our runners to, for their ideas and their feedback about what would make them feel safe in those situations. And that will really be a lot of our focus, I think, over the next six months.
And, you know, maybe even the next year just planning for what it might look like. And like I said, that totally changed, but we have to plan for all situations. And if nothing else we've gotten pretty good at, I think coming up with plan a through D. In tears. Yeah. We're practiced in that field. Yeah. We've been through quite a few cancellations in the past few years.
Doug Thurston: [00:59:33]
This is our fifth race that we've had to cancel four years either because of fires or the pandemic with three this year, two others because of poor air quality for two different fires. So I'm kidding about lunch, but I'm not kidding about just, we hope that the runners out there realize we're doing the best we can under very, very difficult landscape.
We want to put on safe racists or you want it to be safe for our volunteers. Huge consideration, right? Uh, our, our vendors, our contractors, you know, our city officials, our public safety people, our medical people, et cetera. So it's not like just opening the door to a business and welcoming the customers back in a lot of things are involved.
So we're going to do the best we can.
Kevin Chang: [01:00:13]
So come out and definitely come support the big surreal as Bertia. And I have talked about this many, many times, you know, there's a lot of official events out there. Um, but this is one that's backed by a race organization that you all know really, really well, that has been putting on events that has been doing amazing work here in our community and has been giving back to our community.
And we need to make sure that. These race organizations that are doing well for us, that they get to survive and that they get to continue on and they get to continue providing amazing service to us in the long run. And so the most important thing that you can do here in the short term is really help out the big surreal, help them continue on and help support them, help support them.
This is an awesome event. Five races all in one. I mean, I think something that we're all really I'm really excited about. The schwag is awesome. The virtual contests are awesome. They're given away shoes to participants. It's just going to be a lot of fun. And so we really, really hope that everybody can come out and really support this organization.
Anything you wanted to add? Be.
Bertrand Newson: [01:01:18]
The people behind it as well, people that care and have paid it forward and then it's time for the running community to reciprocate and do our part as well to ensure sustainability moving forward into the future. So we got you, Doug. We got you, Hillary. Okay.
Kevin Chang: [01:01:35]
Let's do it.
Hilary Fujii: [01:01:37]
That's right. Thank you guys. That's great.
Doug Thurston: [01:01:39]
Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.
Kevin Chang: [01:01:41]
Yeah. Thank you guys so much. This was fantastic. Yeah. Great conversation. Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at https://racemob.com.
Please subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time. Keep on moving.