Freddy Gets Some Helping Hands

Wanted: One or more people who love running and runners, who appreciate pink flamingoes responding to the name “Freddy,” who believe in supporting local businesses, who are willing to be on call 24-7 and answer thousands of emails (even though the answers might be right there in the Runners’ Handbook), who have the unique ability to navigate in the dark, without GPS and to zip tie a directional sign while half asleep.  Must have incredible attention to detail, especially when it comes to filing for 30+ permits in 4 states and the District of Columbia and organizing 200 or more volunteers over a 48-hour time span.  Ability to subsist on coffee (or iced tea), donuts and standard fast-food fare for extended periods of time is highly preferable.

Work Attire: “Bob Wear” (or various iterations of vintage American Odyssey Relay swag) and track pants

We’re pretty sure Race Director Bob never set out to write a job description like this.  In fact, we’re pretty sure Race Director Bob didn’t even originally set out to be a Race Director. But he became one, and he and his team have knocked it out of the park year after year.

Okay, quick timeout. Before you Odyssey faithful start hyperventilating, thinking this is a farewell blog and that Bob has cashed out and is riding off into the sunset, STOP.  Anyone who has ever run American Odyssey Relay (or Rock the Creek Relay or Mock the Clock) knows that Bob considers his runners to be family, and his races are like his children (just kidding Daniel and Michelle, maybe adopted children) And Rule #1A (after “safety first”) is that you always take care of your family.

But let’s be realistic. Bob can’t subsist on Sheetz snacks, multiple iced teas, and 90 minutes of sleep forever. So, it should come as no surprise that the man who was a healthcare executive and former VP with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has decided he needs yet another new challenge, which he’ll share with you in due course (once he’s built up enough suspense).  In order for him to succeed in his new venture and keep The American Odyssey Relay as a topnotch event, Bob has determine that he needs some assistance with the race.  As a result, the first step was to ensnare the running lunatics who might actually answer the above want ad.  So, with no further ado, we will tell you a little about ourselves:

Introducing ….

Robin Lerner!

While I have never run the American Odyssey Relay, I do have the distinction of being a two-time Rock the Creek Relay finisher and a Reno Tahoe Odyssey finisher (American Odyssey’s sister race) on Race Director Bob’s team! A few more fun facts about me:

  • I have lived in the DMV for 20 years, but I’m still a Jersey girl at heart.
  • I have been running forever – 5Ks to marathons, a few triathlons, and of course relays!
  • I am a huge Springsteen fan – I can talk about him for hours. For fellow BRUUUUCE fans, I’ve been in the “pit” many times (and I’m happy to explain that to the uneducated) and I’ve lost count of the number of concerts I’ve enjoyed over the years.  (Affection for Bruce is the one area in which Joanna and I differ. I’m hopeful that I can get Joanna to see the light one of these days!)
  • I HATE running on the ice. I’ll run in the winter, but I literally have friends (Race Director Bob among them!)  who will carry me over ice patches. Summer is my season! Therefore there will be NO winter relays planned.
  • Just like Bob never met an iced tea he didn’t love, my affection can be bought, too! My preferences are coffee and dark chocolate!

And re-introducing. . .

Joanna Graham!

I’ve been a fixture on the American Odyssey Relay course since 2012 as a runner, volunteer, and most recently as one of the race staff.  A few fun facts about me:

  • I’m an ultra-runner and triathlete and I’ve completed everything from 5Ks to 100-milers and Ironman full-distance (140.6) triathlons. I still have yet to run a stretch that’s quite as tough as Leg 6 of the American Odyssey, however.
  • I’m a super nerd. I score really well on standardized tests (like scarily well) and now I make a living teaching others how to best those tests. If you ever want to chat  about item response theory or psychometrics, please call me directly (not Robin).
  • I’m a rabid St. Louis Cardinals fan. It goes without saying, Chicago Cubs fans need not apply for favored-child status. Maybe Robin will have pity on you.
  • American Odyssey Relay 2012 changed my life (and I met one of my very best friends on Leg 6). I’ve been coming back every year with the hope of providing another runner with a similar life-changing moment (and maybe to play matchmaker).
  • Like Bob and Robin, my affection can be bought too (are you seeing a trend?)  Preferred currency includes coffee, blueberry donuts, and chocolate chip cookies.

So that’s a little bit about the two of us. We couldn’t be more excited and humbled to be joining the American Odyssey Relay family as co-assistant race directors. Please know that our love for this race is only surpassed by our tremendous respect for it.  We look forward to getting to know each and every one of our runners, volunteers and supporters!

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