When duty calls
Teresa Byland is the new director for May 25 race
By Paul Christian
Funny, when Teresa Byland first signed on with the Rochester Area Family YMCA eight years ago, there was nothing in the job description about someday becoming the director of a marathon. "That would have been pretty far fetched back then," she said.
It isn’t now. Meet the new director of the Y Med-City Marathon, Teresa Byland.
"It’s pretty intimidating when you say that," she said. "Still is. I’m not a runner and never had the experience of organizing a race, of any distance. It’s a learning experience and, believe me, I’m learning something every day."
The Med-City Relays and Marathon was founded 13 years ago by Wally and Peg Arnold, who stepped aside for good following last year’s race. The YMCA assumed control of the race in the summer of 2006.
Here’s where Byland comes into the picture. One day she came to work as the YMCA Resource Center Director and left as the new director of the marathon.
It wasn’t that simple, obviously, but you get the picture. The Y was looking for someone to run the race and Byland was the most qualified.
"Actually, the only experience I had was as director of the ‘Rochester Ride for the Y,’ a bicycle race," she said. "I love to bicycle and and organizing that race was a fun, neat experience.
"This one is, too, but on a much bigger scale."
Byland, a 1982 Michigan State graduate, is listed as the YMCA Resource Center Director. Those days are long gone, at least for now.
"This is entirely new," she said.
With her new responsibility and with the marathon looming in less than five weeks, her days of 40-hour weeks are a thing of the past.
Not that she minds.
"I really couldn’t do this without the volunteers, especially guys like Ross Hamernik, Kevin Torgerson, K.C. Reed, Fred Woolman and so many others," she said. "They’ve really made this job so much easier. No way I could be doing this without their help.
"And Wally and Peg always answer my calls and I expect I’ll be calling them a lot the next few weeks."
For the second straight year, the race will start in Byron with the finish line at the YMCA. The popular four-person relay returns, as does the solo half-marathon.
At first, the 20-mile training run was dropped but now has been reinstated.
The Kids Classic is also back.
Long story short, not much has changed.
"It’s been successful in the past," said Byland, "and my job is to continue that. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done. Twenty-four hours in a day doesn’t seem to be enough. But it’ll get done."
Byland can control everything about the race, except, of course, for the weather.
Through the years, the weather on race day has been all over the map. It’s been run in the cold and rain, and two years ago the race was cancelled midway through because of the extreme heat.
"There’s nothing I can do about the weather on May 25," said Byland, "but that doesn’t mean I won’t be watching.’’
"In the whole scheme of things,’’ she said, "that’s the one thing that scares me the most."