Busy Weekend right here in South East Michigan, (May 21-25), by Gary Morgan aka Mr. Ubiquitous, for Michigan Runner

I do not know how to explain Gary Morgan, except that he is my friend and travels more than I do. Perhaps it should be said,  to call Gary by the moniker, " Mr. Ubiquitous" just does not do the man justice. 

Think of the Gene Wilder character in Willy Wonka. & the Chocolate Factory. Gary Morgan is Gene Wilder if he were a race walker. A little eccentric, but, in a very good way. Gary is pacing a race nearly every weekend. 

The man has the ability to observe details that make his travels and travails universal. Enjoy a weekend with Gary Morgan, our man from Michigan Runner. 

Gary Morgan, photo by PhotoRun.net
Gary Morgan, aka Mr. Ubiquitous, reports:

Hello  All
        Busy weekend right here in South East Michigan.

Thursday, May 21
        Took the Washtenaw County Tourism Ambassador program class at Eagle Crest Conference
Center in Ypsilanti and passed the class. So now I'm a certified Tourism Ambassador and
I can help people find lots of fun things in Washtenaw county. I learned about lots of
cool places I didn't know about until I took this class. It was well worth it.

Friday May 22nd
        Race Directing with Nas Dastmalchi for the Novi Memorial Day Run. Today was water
pickup day at Absopure Water headquarters in Plymouth. They donated hundreds of bottles
of water and we bought some, too, since we heard it was going to be a hot day. My Chevy
Cruze and Nas's Ford Fusion were loaded to the gills with water. We dropped them off at
the old Novi Town Hall which was our storage spot and race registration area. The Hall
is located at Taft and 10 Mile Road near Fuerst park. After that was done we both had
other things going on to get ready for the big race.

Saturday May 23rd
        I went to Belle Isle and helped with the Grand Prix Motor City Makeover. A couple
of hundred volunteers helped clean up the island for the big Grand Prix race next
weekend. By the time it was all done it was the best I've ever seen Belle Isle look
since I've been coming here in 1979. Plus, with the state of Michigan taking it over as
a State Park, there have been lots of improvements all over the Island. From there I
went to the New Balance store and helped Nas with early packet pickup for the Memorial
Day race. Runners like to get their shirts and numbers a day early when they can. Plus,
New Balance is a sponsor so they picked up extra sales that day. At 6 pm it was over and
we had a big day planned for Sunday to get completely ready for the race.

Sunday, May 24th
        Met Nas and other volunteers at his house in Novi at 10 am. We loaded trucks with
supplies like signs, more water, cones, a generator, tents, medals and anything else you
may need for a race. When you're directing a race you have to plan for anything that
could happen. We take it to the Old Novi Town Hall. Drop off the supplies and plan where
we will be putting everything the next day. Then we unwrap the medals from their plastic
bags. We hang all 600 of them on small cones so are easy to hand out to runners as they
cross the finish line. When  we finish that, we go back to Nas' house and I cut up
oranges for runners after the race. Nas and a couple of other volunteers drop of cones
for the race. At 6 pm we call it a day for setup. Nas still had to make a couple of
signs for the race, but overall we were ready.

Monday, May 25th
        I'm up at 4am and drive to Novi to meet everyone by 5am for setup. As soon as Nas
and a couple of volunteers showed up, we went to work.  We put up tents, put out post
race food, set up the awards table and the registration area and that include shirt and
number pickup. The majority of volunteers came at 7am. We sent a few of them out as
course marshals and water station helpers. The rest of them helped with registration and
food setup. The arc for the start finish line went up at 7:30 and I put an American flag
and an Olympic Day flag on it. I got this race designated as an Olympic Day event. The
start came at 8 am  and I put om my Captain America outfit and carried my 1996 Olympic
Torch. We played the national Anthem and the 10k race was off as I blew the air horn.
Kids came up to me and wanted pictures with Captain America and the Olympic torch. The 5k
race went off at 8:15. The 5k and 10k runners started coming across the line at 8:35.
The registration volunteers moved to the finish line and started giving medals to the
finishers. The race had a unique medal with the Memorial Day logo on the front and half
of the state of Michigan on the back. Runners who run the Milford Labor day run will
get the other half of the medal. The medals are magnetic; that's how they stick together.
The one mile race went off at 9:10. By 9:40 everyone was done and we had given out 600
medals. We were short by over 100 medals that will be ordered and handed out at the New
Balance store in Farmington Hills. Everyone in the 5k and 10k got a medal. Awards were
given out and we all hammered it to get it all cleaned up. By 11:30 we had the park all
cleaned up and you would have never thought a race had just happened there. A few of us
went to lunch at a nearby Applebees and talked about how it was a successful event with
over 900 runners-- 300 more than last year. With a medal and lots of expos and marketing
we made it happen. That's race directing-- fast and furious yet satisfying.
Come run the Labor Day race to get the other half of your medal or just get that medal.

        Keep on running and remember all who served so we can keep running in America.

Gary Morgan
Mr Ubiquitous

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