I get to help out with running races. I am usually the Course Director. That means it is my job to make sure people get from the starting line to the finish line without getting lost. There are other things I do, but that it the main thing. Often I ride my bike in front of the runners and just lead them to the finish line.
This mornings course was basically an out and back. So I rode my bike in front of the leaders to the turn around and then stayed there to tell them to run back In this case it was not a 180 degree turn. The route was kinda like a 4 mile needle with a 500 foot eye, So they had to make a 150 degree turn and then run back on the path they came on.
There was something new on the course. For the first 100 feet on the path just after the runners had to make the sharp turn there were about 50 people practicing Falun Gong Knowing that I had about two minutes before the lead runners were going to run through them like a bowling ball through the pins. I tried to ask the people on the path to join the people on the grass. This really did not work for two reasons (I think). First, I believe it is part of their practice to ignore me. Not just me, but mostly everything. But mainly I don't think they understood me. I did not want to yell or bother them, but I was a little worried that there was gonna be a problem.
It turned out they were a little more in tune with their environment than I thought. As the first runner came by they all moved out of the way. I don't want to sound like a jerk saying this about people, but they kinda reminded me of geese. They kept doing what they were doing and moved without looking or caring about the think that interfered with their activity.
Below is the 20th runner after they spread out a little.
The Falun Gong people were typical of the people in that park. They were not speaking English. Most of the people in that Bath Beach / Bensenhurst park were not speaking English Besides Chinese there was a lot of Eastern European dialects. and some Hebrew. When I had a break in my job of standing there and saying "Sharp turn and then run back" and elderly women came over to me and asked me how may Kilometers the race was. I was able to answer here by quickly converting this 13.1 mile half marathon in to 21K. But I told her that most people running this race think in terms of miles. She said everyone was very brave for running that far and they should be very proud of themselves. She asked me how I knew kilometers, was I from Europe. She said they only use kilometers in her home country of Poland. I turned and looked right at her and told her I knew she was from Poland because she had the same voice of my grandmother. (my fathers mother, and she looked a lot like my mothers mother). We spend a few more minutes together. She asked me why I was not running. I told her this was my job and that I planned on running 20 miles on Monday. She continued on her walk and I spent the next half an hour making sure nobody ran past me.
I also thought about how much I missed my grandmothers and how great it would have been if they would have known my kids and my kids knew them.
Sorry to get mushy but it was lonely at the turnaround.