A Day In The Life With N.Y. Road Runners' Jim Heim
"A Day in the Life" is a feature in SBD examining the daily habits of interesting personalities in sports business. This week, NYRR Senior VP/Event Development & Production JIM HEIM walks us through what he'll go through to put on the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon, which takes place Saturday. .
12:00am: I’ll be out with the start team right at midnight, near the Brooklyn Museum where we’ll get our first road closure in place. I’ll be out there with them and NYPD. I’ll be looking back at the three-day pre-party in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which ends at 10:00pm. I’ll look at the final numbers from that and where we are with bib pickups. Checking the weather will be one of the very first things I do.
2:30am: The first start is at 7:00am, so I’ll go out on a course drive in a vehicle with our President of Events PETER CIACCIA and JESS GARCILAZO, our lead event manager. We’ll go out along the entire route, check on the various elements being put into place like fluid stations, medical stations, mile and kilometer marks, entertainment zones. I usually would love drinking coffee being up this early to stay awake, but on race day I don’t think I’ll need it.
5:30am: We’ll head back to the starting area. A lot of our volunteers will begin arriving, we’ll have over 1,000 of them for the event. Some of the rest of the road closures along the course will come into effect as well, so I’ll make sure that’s all in order. I’ll be watching very closely on public transportation, watching social media to make sure folks are arriving.
6:30am: I’ll check in with some of our more elite athletes who will be running out in the front, including former Olympian DEENA KASTOR. We don’t typically have a big invited pro field in this event, but Deena’s going to be running with us. So I’ll check in with her and make sure she’s all set.
6:45am: I’ll go in an NYPD car 15 minutes in front of the race over the entire route as a final precursor. I’m looking for any last-minute safety concerns, making sure everything looks and feels how we planned it out to be.
7:45am: I’ll make it down to the finish area, which is the boardwalk on Coney Island -- that’s pretty special for everyone. The race actually goes up there for the last 2/10 of a mile, so I can’t drive up there. That’s where I’ll get my exercise in. That’ll be around 20 minutes before the lead runner comes in. We’ll have two waves of runners -- one starting at 7:00 and one at 7:45. I’ll get down there, make my way to the finish line and be sure we’re ready for the top male and top female and award ceremony.
8:30am: Once they’re in it’s about the operations for the rest of the morning. I’ll check in at our large-scale race communications center. I’ll run over to Tom’s Restaurant; it’s a community institution there and that’s where we host a lot of our partners, so the folks from Popular, New Balance, TCS will be in there. Tom’s has the best pancakes you can get, they’ve got omelets that are larger than your head.
9:30-11:30am: That’s when our highest volume of finishers come in, so we’ll keep an eye on the flow of that and make sure everything is on track.
11:30am-4:00pm: It really slows down with finishers coming in, so my attentions shifts to the road re-openings on the earlier miles of the course. By noon we’ll have just about all of the roads re-opened. We’ll also start our Rising N.Y. Road Runners Race on the boardwalk. It’s less than a mile and the kids can finish at the finish line, so it’s pretty cool to see a couple thousand spectators see all these little kids do this.
4:00-7:00pm: My day wraps up when we’ve got everybody in. I might check back in at Tom’s and have a celebratory pancake. I also sometimes like to frequent the Trattoria Dell’Arte on 7th Avenue in Manhattan. Their seafood is ridiculous and their chicken parm, it looks like a pizza. The maître d there, a guy named BRANDON, is a runner and he’s running in the half.
7:00pm: I’ll hop on the train back to downtown Brooklyn where I’m staying. I’ll be lucky to stay awake until 8.