So I get a ton of emails about my job. I posted a while back, when I first started about my new position with a race management company and what I thought my job would entail. Now, I seriously love, love, love my job and I know it’s perfect for me and who I am and where I am in my life at the moment. So with that being said, my job is also a lot different than I expected. I get a lot of emails about it so I thought it would be an interesting blog post.
I also want to be honest with everyone. I work A LOT. Many people don’t really realize how much goes into an putting on event of any magnitude and when you throw a few up our alley, there’s a lot that goes into each event. We don’t only do the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon, but also manage the OC Marathon, the Dana Point Turkey Trot and the LA County Half Marathon. We also do other events like the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, the Pacific Open Water Challenges, and the OC Fair 5ks as well. There are always a million things to take care of and the marketing of all these events take up most of my time.
I do everything involved with graphic design and marketing. That means all ads, start finish line banners, t-shirt designs and medal designs, bib designs, map designs, scaffolding covers, flags, finish line tape, official program design and development. I totally didn’t realize that ALL this stuff needed to be designed and that there was someone who did this all. There’s always SO much to do. Recently we launched our new website which was taking up a huge part of my life as I changed out all the content to our new system. I love the new look and the compliments that we’ve gotten on it thus far make me glow daily.
Also, we get a lot of great feedback, but at the same time, when you run a race where there is a 1,000 people it’s a lot different than planning for 25,000. You can’t offer them the same stuff for 25,000 because it’s SO much stuff. The street closures, the fencing, the gates, the openings and closing of the fencing, the sheer amount of Portapotties! I used to show up at races at 6:30 am and complain about how early it was. Now I’m the one up at 3 am putting all said stuff together so that it’s ready at 6:30 am when people start arriving. It’s those moments though when the gun goes off and everyone is off and running, literally that make that 3 am wake up call worth it. I loved working the OC Fair 5k and being in charge of handing out the medals and seeing how happy everyone was!
I never though that real people had to do that for some reason. I also didn’t realize that the people at the expos promoting different races are actually part of the race. I work a ton of expos now, which isn’t bad but that means I don’t get a weekend which is another reason why I think my running has taken a back seat. The one good thing about expos is that I get to meet a lot of new cool readers and friends! The bad part is I can’t just hang out and I have to work and answer questions as well.
One of the hardest parts of my job that I realized is that I have really struggled with running once I started working here. Running used to be something where I could almost ‘step out of my every day life’ and run to clear my head and enjoy my time. Now when I’m running I think about work and how to implement all these different things. I also think that since we talk about running 99% of the time at the office, it’s different when I think about running now. It’s still something I love to do but sometimes it’s more tiring than before!
I work roughly about 60 hours a week. I also work in an office environment 40 hours a week. Out of the 30 weekends I’ve worked here, I’ve worked 20 of them. That means I will work 15-17 days in a row sometimes. The event management business is a very small world and it’s very easy to make people upset without realizing it. I do all the marketing and advertising, so I know I see a different side since I’m not a ‘race director,’ but I do work closely with them and see their jobs as well. Now as Long Beach comes closer and closer though and starting to see our efforts paying off it’s getting more and more exciting! Once I get ads and hear feedback it’s interesting to know that people are excited about the race.
Sometimes it’s hard because you work so hard to make an awesome design or ad or race or event and then people just tear it to shreds. We get complaints constantly about the beach path in our race, the hills we have, the last half of our course, when in reality, there is no where else to go for the first part of the race that would make it scenic and pretty, the highest elevation change we have are 82 and 190 feet and the last half of our course really can’t go other places. Sometimes it’s hard to hear so much criticism to something that you’ve poured your heart into. I have realized that I can’t take these things personal and am working on that a lot to not get offended by the emails and how people react to different things. I know that’s something I have to work on personally since I do take things personal, it’s getting better though.
Dealing with the ‘masses’ as many call it is interesting too. There’s a lot of people to please and that takes money, if you don’t have sponsorships, you don’t have money. Its hard to please so many people with so many different tastes sometimes. Sometimes I think it’s because it’s all via email so people don’t have to talk to us face to face, or maybe don’t realize that it’s a person on the other side of the email. It’s a tough business when it comes down to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. It’s just a lot going on all at once. I also think that the compliments we receive really stick with me more than the complaints. The people who compliment us really go out of their way to do so and we ALL appreciate it those.
There are awesome moments that really make me so happy that I work here, like the day I got our medal proofs and I still look at them every day and love them more and more, but there is a ton of paperwork, office work and just sitting behind a desk answering a billion emails too. I love the fast paced, crazy hours and tons of work that it is, and that’s my personality. Those awesome moments overshadow the complaints we get and when I find someone who BQ’ed at our race or has a great story, I love the feeling it gives me. It does have SO many perks, which I love.
As for getting a job, just apply wherever you can doing event management or work in the event management field. It is about event management, and so that background is mostly where we pull participants from. I know there are a lot of different companies out there and be open to change. I actually got my job through working and writing in my blog and my background in marketing and social media for a year and a half, so that was really helpful when I started.
Anyways, I hope this wasn’t a downer and I hope everyone does know that I love my job and all the crazy stuff that goes along with it.