Sunday, April 16, 2017

"Social Media" Race Weekend Recap #CUCB2017

It feels strange not to be writing a race recap for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, so I decided to write a "Race Weekend" recap from my perspective as social media coordinator.

It may look long, but I promise it's mostly pictures! It was one very busy - but fun - weekend, as I posted away on Facebook & Twitter on behalf of #CUCB2017.


Expo Day 1

I headed into the city mid-day Friday. After checking in to the race hotel, I headed over to the Expo so I could take some photos and get the lay of the land before it opened to the public.

I was grateful to have help covering the Friday Expo from social media team members Heather, Sara, & Coco. Heather even did a volunteer shift handing out t-shirts on Friday! 

1. National Building Museum

The National Building Museum is an
architecturally cool location for the Expo

2. Volunteers

"Info Desk" volunteers ready to answer all your questions.
There are hundreds of volunteers for this race;
we literally could not do it without them. 

"Streaker" Volunteers man the merchandise booth:
Mickey has come in from Brooklyn for the past 6 years;
Glenn has been here for the past 7 

3. Packet Pickup

For many, the main event at the Expo
is packet pickup

A surprise was included with this year's packets:
key chains to commemorate the 45th running

After picking up their bibs, runners head
to the main floor to get their race t-shirt

4. Sustainability

Gently used shoes were collected in the sustainability room
for donation to the MORE Foundation Group.

#CUCB2018 race entries were raffled off every hour by
the sustainability committee; they texted me the winners
and I posted them on social media.

Fun fact - when I asked this woman about posting her
picture on social media, I discovered she was someone
I had been helping online earlier in the week to sort
out a glitch with her MarathonFoto offer.

5. Runner's Happy Hour

Facebook deleted my post about the runner's happy hour
at the Expo on Friday evening, saying it violated their
"branded content" policy.

I was pretty irritated and appealed it. They rejected
my appeal & said it was clearly a sponsored post. Grr.

Volunteer Appreciation Party

As the Expo started to wind down on Friday evening, the volunteer appreciation party got underway. I was so hungry at that point that I practically inhaled the pizza.

Volunteers were given raffle tickets and a ball for beer pong

Jenga before...
(photo by "Big Jake")

...Jenga during...(photo by "Big Jake")

...Jenga after(photo by "Big Jake")

Beer pong - with ball in midair
(photo by Mike Gibbs)
Mike, Paula & me at the party.
I still look pretty chipper here; compare it to the photo
Mike takes of me about 40 hours later...

I missed the raffle because I was dragging and
went back to the hotel to get some sleep.

See the shoes that are part of the centerpieces?
Mike says they raffled off empty shoe boxes
and the winners had to find the shoes that
belonged in their box


Kids' Run

On Saturday I ate a quick breakfast at the hotel and then headed over to the National Building Museum for the Kids' Run and Day 2 of the Expo. I caught the pre-Kids' Run activities, but missed the actual races because I was inside covering the Expo.

I had been advised by Molly (my social media predecessor and all around guru) that I can't be in two places at once. Figure out where I am most needed, and look for back-up coverage elsewhere. The Credit Union National Association News was extensively covering the Kids' Run on twitter, so I gratefully retweeted their coverage.

Social media team member Holly helped me cover lots of Saturday's Expo activities. Thank you Holly!

Kids' Run Medals

Kids' Run group leaders wore bright colors
so they were easy to spot

Dr. Bear from Children's National came to
support the kids

Expo - Day 2

1. Clinics

I covered some clinics on Saturday,
most notably Kathrine Switzer's.

Kathrine patiently signed autographs
Friday & Saturday. She was especially
encouraging to the youngest generation of runners!

2. Expo Exhibitors

I met a lot of the exhibitors, like Teens Run DC.
They do so much for the underserved youth in our
area, mentoring them physically, socially, & emotionally

A lot of booths had special merchandise for the race.
BeeCause Charms had themed shoe bling

Gold's Gym offered pace groups for the race

Cherry Blossom-themed RaceDots

Under Armour had a heat press and customized
apparel that was purchased in their booth

3. Selfie Station

Under Armour had a "Selfie Station"
as part of their booth.
I love this photo of Deputy Race Director
 Becky and Race Director Phil!
(I didn't take it...Becky texted it to me)

"Mama Bear" Coach Shannon (see heat press picture above)
and me, after the Expo has (finally) closed and we are ready
to head to the VIP dinner

VIP Dinner

After the Expo closed and Shannon helped break down the Under Armour booth, we went back to the hotel to make ourselves presentable for the VIP dinner. The dinner includes the elite athletes, race committee members, and other VIPs. 

The #CUCB2017 Social Media Team:
me, Coco, Holly, Sara, Heather, Elizabeth
(not pictured: Adam, who was at his sister's wedding!)

Thank you guys for all of your hard work!

I finally got to meet Kathrine Switzer at the dinner.
I had taken so many pictures of her at the Expo,
but hadn't actually met her because I didn't want
to interrupt her when she was so busy.

Becky made sure that I got to meet her here.
Thank you so much Becky!
And thank you, Shannon,
for making sure I got some pictures!

On Sunday afternoon I realized Shannon
didn't get to meet Kathrine at the dinner
and I felt so bad!

I texted her to apologize...
 and she sent me this picture that I had taken
 of them. It began to sink in how tired I was...



I got up at 4:15 on Sunday morning and headed over to the Washington Monument grounds. It was dark and I was tired, but I reminded myself how many of the race committee members had already been there for hours. I armed myself with two cell phones and multiple backup batteries to ensure maximum posting efficiency.

This is the finishing stretch of the race with all of the flags.
The blank monitor would later show the names of
runners crossing the finish line.

This was one of the visuals on a giant monitor by the
starting area. It's the kind of thing I never noticed before.
There is so much attention to detail in this race and all
of the logistics. It's pretty amazing.

The sun slowly started to rise, and the
cherry blossoms were still beautiful,
despite the strange weather they endured.

Runners' village from afar

It was a little cold in the morning.
I actually have five layers on my head here
and kept them all on for most of the race.


Being on the tower for the race was surreal.
This is Race Director Phil starting the program

Before the race there was a sea of people in the corrals.

Most people will look at this photo and see Tara Welling,
1st American woman to finish. I also see my head up on
the stage (red circle), frantically posting the names of
the elite women winners, careful not to misspell them! 

Almost proposal...

There was a guy who wanted to propose to his girlfriend when she crossed the finish line. We were working with him to make sure it was awesome. I took a lot of pictures of him and was really excited to see the big moment. And then... he disappeared. None of us know what happened. Did he get cold feet? Did she have to drop out of the race and he went to go find her? We'll probably never know. 

Race Awards

Around 10 am I left the tower and went over to the stage for the awards. It always bums me out that more people aren't there to see the awards.

The Gold's Gym PR Bell, by the stage

9 of the top 10 female finishers;
the overall winner Hiwot Gebrekidan wasn't there 

Stanley Kebenei, top male finisher, speaks
with race announcer Creigh Kelley

Top 10 male finishers - we couldn't get them out of the shadows!

Top American women finishers (out of the shadows!)

Top American male finishers

Male winner of the 5K, Iber Vidals
(Female winner Lisa Gallagher wasn't there)


I walked around runners' village as everything was quickly and efficiently dismantled.

The sustainability team maximizes recycling & composting

They also donate all discarded clothing to local organizations

Remember in the volunteer party section
when I said to check out the photo Mike
took of me 40 hours later?
I'm looking pretty rough here.
At least I've taken the five layers off my head.

Gator ride with Becky back to the starting area.
This was 5 minutes after Mike's picture, so maybe I didn't look
quite as rough as his photo suggests? I know, still pretty rough.

I walked back to the hotel. It took about 20 minutes, but it felt good to be moving my legs. At the hotel, I went to the post-race brunch and again inhaled food. And coffee. Then I packed up my stuff and headed back home, thinking that most of my work was done...


In retrospect, it seems obvious that social media doesn't stop when the race ends. People have photos to share, questions to ask, compliments & complaints, and just generally want to talk about their experience! So obvious, but it didn't occur to me until Sunday afternoon & evening when I was still actively engaging with all of our social media platforms.

I slept for 10 hours Sunday night. Luckily I had a vacation day planned for Monday so I could recover from the weekend. However, I didn't spend it recovering, because social media was still hopping. Fortunately things calmed down on Tuesday when I had to go back to work.

Next year, I'm taking two days off after the race. 
One for post-race social media activity, and one for truly recovering!


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I enjoyed reading about the race from a different perspective. Sounds like actually running the race would have been much easier. ;)

  2. Oh, gosh, sorry I had to abandon you after the race! I'm finally back from my trips but am not sure what time it is. :-) You were a great social media guru! We should get together to strategize for next year.

    1. No worries! Back-to-back international work trips definitely take priority. Looking forward to strategizing for next year.

  3. I love this post, Kim! Wow were you busy! What an accomplishment. And I agree with what Susan said!!

    1. Thanks! I wish I had seen you cross the finish line. I saw bunny ears, but they weren't yours. I think they were Carol's.

  4. This is an incredibly big and important role Kim as social media coordinator. I know with your smiles, personality and attention to detail you would have been amazing.

    So great that after all your picture taking you finally got to meet Kathrine Switzer.

    Thanks you for sharing! :)

    1. Thank you for your kind words and support, Carl! Your comments always make me smile :)