Meet Jennifer Crosby - Race Director of the Month

This month we'd like to introduce you to Jennifer Crosby
Tell us your story?  Why did you become a race director?
Originally, because my family was running IN races, I signed up to help with the PTA race at my son's school 10 years ago. I was given the opportunity to be in charge and LOVED getting to put all of our favorite things about doing races into it. I have continued because I see the value in regular opportunities for people to join in physical activities for overall community health and wellness.
What do you love about your experiences as a race director?  What have been your biggest challenges?
I love getting kids to the starting line, I love people saying it's their first 5K, and I love when people come back because they love the community and are committing to exercise. Our current biggest challenges have been getting the word out that we are all inclusive and want to see all body types, ages, abilities - that we will make accommodations as much as we are able so we can see everyone at the starting line. An ongoing challenge is getting volunteers -- the ones we have are absolute JEWELS and we are so very grateful for them. As a race director, I want our courses to be safe enough a kid could do it all on their own -- I have to have volunteers on the course for that.
How do you feel your expertise in the field sets you apart from other race directors?
Even after 10 years and over 170 races, we still see new challenges or behaviors. I think what sets me apart is that I am surrounded by a team of people who are as passionate about these races as I am and they bring knowledge and skills that add to our fantastic team.
Tell us about a crazy/funny/"you would never believe this happened"/story at one of your events!
So many! During the pandemic, we moved a race from a public park (closed) to a farm and ran among chickens, goats -- chickens hopped into and onto our van while we were there. We got to produce a race at the San Marcos Regional Airport -- on the RUNWAY. We had someone drive THROUGH the barricades and security guard all the way THROUGH the timing scaffolding. The best stories are the personal stories of individual accomplishments - first 5K, fastest 5K, first 5K after recovering from a medical issue.
As a race director, what is your #1 goal?
Get people off the couch and to a starting line where they might find they LOVE running, or LOVE walking or they find they HATE running but they meet the warmup crew or one of our cyclists and they start their journey to a healthier life.
What are you most proud of as a race director?
My team and the "brand" we have created. We invite ALL to join us. We leave no one behind -- the finish line will stay set up until all have returned. We try to learn names so we can greet people we see a second time. We have a no alcohol rule because we know we have recovering alcoholics who come to our races. We have a no finisher medal rule (except for a half marathon) because we work to keep our costs and waste down. We have a no medals for 1Ks rule because kids the same age running a 5K are competing for age group awards and we want to encourage 1K'ers to build endurance and come back for the 5K. We are rain or shine, hot or cold. We look for ways to reduce costs so our entry fees are low and more people can participate. AND the things we've been able to do - running at a farm, running on a ranch, running on a runway, running on a car race track, and the best was getting to honor my high school cross country and track coach at a recent race.
Do you have any advice for others venturing into race directing?
Plan ahead for all of the worst case scenarios, make every effort to communicate with local law enforcement, neighborhood associations, county, state -- wherever you are running a race, tell more people than you think might need to know, keep it simple.
If you are willing, please share your contact info?