By: Tanna Wood
Everyday is a new day. Everyday we face new challenges, and every day we must decide if we are going to play by the rules and stay inside the cone lane.
For those of you who do not know what “inside the cone lane” means, it is a phrase we use in the running event world. When we set up a running course on a street we typically have a runner cone lane made of big orange traffic cones, the same cones city street crews use to redirect traffic or block intersections. Cone lanes either separate runners from other runners or separate the runners from traffic. They are designed to keep the runners on course, provide the most direct route and protect runners from street traffic. Big orange cones tell you which side of the cone you are supposed to be on. The runner side or the traffic side.
Well, we are all being asked to run inside the cone lane now folks, like it or not. We must decide which lane we are going to be in for a while. In all of our events we have runners that follow the rules, follow the signs and follow the course as planned, and those that let’s just say, don’t.
I have the great privilege of being in the Sporting Events business and as challenging as it is right now, I am grateful to be a part of a large supportive community.
I got into this business because I was drawn to the community of people. After I left a successful, 25-year career in specialty sports retail, I started my first business putting on Triathlons. It was a great idea, I thought. It turned out to be life lesson for sure. I lost everything on that first business venture. In a 16- month period, I lost all my money, my house, my 10-year relationship, my dad died, and I gained tremendous shame. It was difficult to go from being very successful to flat out broke with a broken spirit. To say the least it was one of the most difficult times in my life. Things were changing.
Even though my life plan had been turned upside down, I knew in my soul I had to stay steady, change how I approached everything in my life and lean into what felt right for me. I learned patience, humility, the importance of friends and family, and identify a part of me that was and still is my guiding light. I had to remind myself how it made me feel every time a first-time finisher would share their story, of how they overcame their fears to participate in a triathlon or a 5K. I felt grateful that I was able to provide an opportunity for people to live out their dreams. I decided that it was my life goal to continue.
So, I stuck with it. I stayed in the cone lane and went from putting on triathlons to becoming an independent contractor, ultimately learning the business and honing my craft. I trusted the course, and connected with any and everyone in the industry. Fast forward 8 years ago when I heard about an opening at a company called Racing Systems. I knew the owners, Bob and Rebecca Wallace, from way back. I knew they had been successful in their Run On! stores, but didn’t know that much about Racing Systems. Racing Systems was known for being one of the top timing companies in the South. I interviewed and got the job as a Race Director for Racing Systems. I will say that it was a tough decision to go from being my own boss to working for someone else, but I felt like this was the time. I had to trust the process and trust myself. When I first started, we only had 4 production races a year, but we were timing over 100. Although the timing business was the majority of our revenue, I loved the production side of the business.
I knew that if I was patient and paid attention, the right opportunity would show itself. It would be up to me to lean into it. A year and a half after coming to work at Racing Systems, I purchased the company from Bob and Rebecca. They sold Run On!, their secialty running stores, and moved to Colorado. Now it was my turn.
Racing Systems, Inc. has now been in business for over 20 years and has become a full production business. The brand, Run Project, is owned by Racing Systems and produces anywhere from 9-14 North Texas events a year in. In addition, every year we help produce 10-15 events for other organizations and non-profits, specializing in running and cycling events.
Our number one focus is the community and the positive impact that we can have on it. Our team is always thinking about how we can give back, and how we can continue to bring our community together during the great times and during the not so great times. Run Local, Give Local.
I love to be outside, and would like for that privilege to continue. I love seeing people move and enjoy the outdoors. I love to see people talk to each other, check in on each other, create new friendships, encourage one another, show kindness and grace. We see the ever-expanding Run Project Community doing these things, and with distance. Staying in the cone lane, reaching out with grace and love. It is during this difficult time, that I ask you to continue to stay in the cone lane so that we might come together again.
We can all do our part by staying 6 feet apart, washing our hands and not touching our face. We can do this by allowing space in the grocery store, gas station and on the trails and pathways. We can have food, medicine, and running shoes all delivered. We have technology that can keep us connected like never before. Stay in the cone lane folks.
I know its tough, but we will get through this. We have more resilience and strength than we think sometimes.
Yes, things are changing.
We can either stay in the cone lane and get through this safer and quicker or not.