In the midst of Hurricane Sandy event directors everywhere are running around with their heads cut off trying to make sense of and plan for the implications this natural disaster will have on their event. 

Not all race directors are in a bind. Mary Wittenberg, President of the New York Road Runners has been releasing encouraging statements with a “calm, cool and collected” tone despite being 5 days out from the ING NYC Marathon.

Read Article: NYC Marathon not expected to be affected by storm

Why so calm? Because in the words of Wittenberg, the NYRR’s “have been through close to it all” and because of this they likely have contingency plans for everything from a hailstorm to the invasion of tripled-headed aliens!

There are few simple things that can make your life much easier and keep your participants and race partners happy when an unexpected disaster strikes!

Safety First– Ideally you have a contingency plan stored away! If not, work hastily with emergency response team (local police/fire) to develop one and inform your race partners and the media of the safety measures you have in place.

Keep All Race Day Stakeholders Informed – There is nothing worse than being kept in the dark! Be as transparent as possible without being rash or causing panic. Notify your participants about changes to the schedule, the course or anything pertaining to the event!

Use Social Media– Apps like Facebook and Twitter can be your best friend or your enemy in crisis type situations. Actively inform participants using key hashtags like #Sandy and #INGNYCMarathon. You can put forth the truth and debunk rumors in no time!

Host an Emergency Race Committee Meeting– If time permits, get your race committee in one room or the key leaders on a conference call. Decide on a clear message that you would like to share with your race partners. Consistency is huge.


Brandon Laan

Brandon is a dad, runner, race director and endurance industry specialist. He spends the majority of his time coaching the sales team at Race Roster while co-directing The Rock The Road 10K. He spent his undergraduate days at Western University before fleeing to Hawaii Pacific University for graduate school. He recently pushed his twin girls, Emma and Sydney to a 1:14 half marathon and is a former winner of The GoodLife Toronto Marathon and Silver Medalist at The Canadian Marathon Championships.