I’ve written a few posts about the 2015 Outer Banks Marathon over the past week. This will be my last one in the set. It’s mainly meant to be a thank you to Race Directors Lynda Wood and Peggy Stoval for an awesome weekend and for the opportunities they gave me.
First, here’s some background information:
I ran the Outer Banks Half Marathon for the first time in 2014. Shortly after that, I started working on Southern Fried Running, which contains a list of what I think are the best marathons and half marathons in the Southeastern United States. It includes a well deserved chapter about the Outer Banks.
While I was doing the research for my book, I reached out to the directors of the races I was writing about and asked them if they would be open to having a half hour phone conversation with me. I wanted to get as much information as I could about the history of the races, any future plans that may be in the works and any other general facts that runners might be interested in. As I finished each chapter, I emailed a copy to the person I had talked to and asked them to review it for accuracy.
I wasn’t expecting anything in return for doing this. My only intention was to make sure that my readers would have the best possible information. Almost everyone I contacted was happy to help, but Lynda really stood out. We spent almost an hour and a half on the phone where she gave me excellent information about not just the race itself, but the history of the Outer Banks, local attractions, places to eat, places to stay and other things to see and do in the area. As a result, the chapter about the Outer Banks is one of the highlights of my entire book. And as a side note, the title Southern Fried Running is a play on the name of the Outer Banks Half Marathon, which is officially called The Southern Fried Half.
After I finished the book, I sent an electronic copy to everyone who had helped write it. Lynda replied to not only thank me but to make an amazingly generous offer:
- 2015 was the tenth anniversary of the Outer Banks Marathon. The race organizers put together goody bags for runners who had done the race all ten years and they wanted to include print copies of my book.
- They also wanted me to do a book signing at the expo and host a clinic on destination races and travel tips for runners.
- In return, they gave me a complimentary race entry and covered the cost of my hotel for the weekend.
- Lastly, I got an invite to the race VIP party and a complimentary ticket to the pre-race spaghetti dinner.
Peggy worked with me on the details of my clinic and she was instrumental in making sure that I had access to everything I needed (floor space at the expo, a table for my book signing, a projector for my presentation, etc).
A few random thoughts about the weekend:
- The VIP Party at Pamlico Jack’s was great. It was in a nice venue with good food and music. Lynda gave an excellent speech about the history of the race and acknowledged the various sponsors who have been involved over the years.
- It was nice to hear that the race has helped to contribute more than $40 million in economic development to the area since its inception.
- I made some great contacts at the VIP party, including another race director that I might have an opportunity to work with in the future (more to come on that…).
- More people showed up to my race expo clinic than I was expecting and I ended up having some excellent discussions with them.
- I autographed the free copies of Southern Fried Running that went to the ten year runners and also sold and autographed several additional copies for other runners after my clinic. I’ll always look back fondly on the Outer Banks Marathon expo as the place where I signed my first autograph.
- Southern Fried Running is starting to get some good reviews on Amazon. Most of the latest ones are from people who got their copies at the expo. So if you picked up a copy of my book at the expo, took the time to read it, and then took the time to go online and write a review, I’d like to say thank you very much.
- I was really surprised by the questions that people had for me. When I started writing Southern Fried Running, it was initially just a collection of my own stories about races I had done in different places. I didn’t think that my personal stories would be very interesting or valuable for other runners who didn’t know me though. So I decided to do the additional research about the races and add a chapter with a list of money saving travel tips. What surprised me at the expo was that most of the people I talked to wanted to talk about my stories and experiences rather than hear about travel tips. I was expecting the opposite. This helped me to solidify the plans for my next book. I’m going to release a follow-up to Southern Fried Running early next year. It will include more race stories (this time about races in the Southwest). It’ll still include race history and have some additional travel tips that didn’t fit into the first book, but it’s nice to know that my stories are interesting enough to stand on their own.
So to everyone I met in the Outer Banks last weekend, thanks so much for stopping by, sharing some of your own stories and being interested in reading about mine. And to Lynda and Peggy, I can’t thank you enough for making my weekend amazing. I’ll be looking forward to heading back to the Outer Banks soon and when I do, I hope to see you there.