This month I had the pleasure to interview Marcus Grunewald. He is unique to Race Guards in that he is the Race Director for the BMW Dallas Marathon and therefore knows firsthand how important it is to provide a safe and rewarding race experience for his race participants. We are fortunate to have someone with his race day savvy and behind the scenes knowledge on our Dallas Race Guards team. He also has an incredible passion for the sport of running which is evident in his interview.
Q. How did you first become interested in Race Guards and how long have you been a member?
A. I first heard about Race Guards at a running conference, and then saw a few runners in their uniforms at a race. I thought it was a great idea, but didn’t know enough about them to join at the next Dallas Marathon. Race Guards then invited me to run with them at their next event in Dallas. During that event the team member I was partnered with (Dr. Laura Dowd) saved a runners’ life by performing CPR. Although I knew Race Guards would be an amenity to any race, I was 110% convinced after that incident.
Q. What is your career and how does it relate to being a Race Guards member?
A. I am Executive Race Director for the BMW Dallas Marathon, a position I have held longer than I care to admit (since 2002). I’ve always kept my CPR certifications up to date, and enjoy running. I also like giving back to the running community, which makes me a pretty good candidate for Race Guards.
Q. What is your favorite event that you have done so far?
A. My very first Dallas Marathon. I think everyone’s first marathon is special.
Q. What is your most memorable experience as a Race Guards team member?
A. Watching Dr Laura Dowd tell paramedics helping her with a downed runner that they could refer to her as “Dr. Ma'am” (She said this right after they told her, “We’ve got this Ma’am”).
Q. Can you give an example of someone that you helped and how you think it impacted their race experience?
A. There are too many runners that benefited from their interaction with us as Race Guards to try to pick one out, although I truly believe the downed runner mentioned above is probably alive because of Dr. Laura Dowd’s quick actions.
Q. What is your funniest Race Guards moment?
A. Dr Laura and I handcuffed to a police car at the Cowtown Marathon. I won’t go into the reasons why we were handcuffed, but let’s just say we were proven innocent. (I hope Dr. Laura Dowd isn’t upset I disclosed this!)
Q. What is your favorite post race or training pig-out food?
A. Texas Barbeque. And Starbucks.
Q. What is your fitness background and have you had any physical challenges or injuries along the way?
A. I’ve been a runner ever since college, and have progressed into ultra runs with a 50 miler under my belt. I had quintuple bypass surgery (due to genetic high cholesterol) earlier this year and am just now getting back into running. I can tell you firsthand that you appreciate the runs you get in, even the bad ones, a lot more after heart surgery.
Q. How would you sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence?
A. Life is short – love what you do and do what you love.
Q. How does being a Race Guards member tie into your philosophy of life?
A. Giving back to others. I believe we are here to help others have a good life, which in the end makes our own lives abundant.
Q. Is there anything that you would like to add?
A. I left the corporate banking world to work full time asa race director because I liked the people I was around in the running world better. The Race Guards team is a subset of some of the best runners I have had the privilege of meeting.
Thank you, Marcus, for your dedication to Race Guards. We are so glad that you are back to running and helping others out on the course. You are an inspiration!