Hello and greetings!
My name is Bill McDermott. I am a runner, just like you, and founder of the global running event World Run Day. It’s been over 20 years since I developed World Run Day. Back then (1999) I experienced what many would call an epiphany. It was the thought of runners, like myself, celebrating our favorite sport – running. Sure, there could be a typical 5k, 10k or Marathon in your local region; but what if there wasn’t one – or you don’t like to race? My solution was to let runners create their own individual event. The world’s first “Virtual Run” was created. Like most running events It’s not exactly new, since it’s been up and running since March 1999. That’s last century – to be precise. Although this page would typically have a biography about me and maybe some running accomplishments, I always feel a few stories help define a person. I have plenty of them; but will share just a few.
I hope if you selected a different language using our translator (“Select Language” drop-down on top of this page) it will represent me fairly. I also hope you recognize the time, patience, and energy I’ve put into this site and my “Survivor” Television Show audition, I sent in a few years ago, below. It’s just one more story of me hoping to promote running.
I’ve been a pretty passionate runner my whole life. One day, as I was experimenting with some iron-on t-shirt software, I wondered what the most dramatic running event T-shirt could be. Boom! The words “World Run Day” were immediately downloaded into my brain. Since then, as they say, “I’ve been on a mission”. Well, at least a few hours on many weekends back then – as I had a full time job. The words “don’t quit your day job” were ever-present. Now I am retired and have many hours to spend of the event. I’ve been working on this site and corresponding with vendors nearly 24×7 since early July of this year.
Overall, the original idea was to create a day for all runners to celebrate running. Granted, I was thinking big that day … real big. I imagined runners of all abilities, nationalities, religions, skin colors, body sizes, gender types …. and more. They were all runners. The only background I’ve had in creating a running event was in my home town of Long Beach, NY (United States). It was called The Jordan’s Lobsterfest 5K. As you might imagine, it had lobster as its primary meal. With the help of some great friends, a great Lobster supplier (and Restaurateur), and a desire to make as many runners happy as I could – we sold out! Of course, it was only about 225 runners – but it was good enough for me (and them).
When I look back, I may have strayed from your typical running event template. Instead of Coffee and Bagels and a T-shirt for a 9AM Sunday running event, I created a Lobster Dinner and Lobster Beach Towel as handouts. It was also held at 5:30PM on a Saturday. It was only because I know people like Lobster around here and early Sunday morning is inconvenient for many. Nonetheless, I gave it a shot. I was determined to implement my vision. That’s what counted. As a professional Project Manager, in real-life, that’s what I’ve been trained to do.
Back to my story: The Jordan’s Lobsterfest 5K was held in the evening (5:30 PM), 2. Had Lobster, Baked Potato, Corn on the Cob, and Water for it’s post-run meal, 3. Had a Full-Sized Beach Towel with a giant lobster as a logo, 4. Didn’t have a Timing Company (our town Recreation Director let me borrow a small clock). What a terrific guy! 5. Didn’t have a Marketing Budget (ours was primarily word-of-mouth). and 6. Was held on a Boardwalk in town (I am so fortunate that I live in a beautiful Beach Town with an Historic Boardwalk). Needless to say, the event was different; but that difference seemed to satisfy almost everybody. I worked with some members of our running club, my kids, and other friends to make it happen. They deserved the credit for helping to implement the idea, just as others at World Run Day keep the website and registration site running smoothly. The t-shirt design, production of shirts, and bib creation are somewhat innovative.
My purpose isn’t to say our Lobsterfest Event was better than others. Nor is it saying that I don’t like running in the morning, don’t like Coffee & Bagels, don’t like event T-Shirts (boy, I’d really be in trouble!), that I don’t like timing companies, that I don’t believe in a big marketing budget. I do. You can look at my running resume and see that I’ve participated in dozens of running events.
There is one rule that never changes no matter what running event I’ve attended – having the camaraderie of runners at your event. Somehow, to bring runners together in different countries, let them be creative, and also get to know them a little would be the ultimate event. Some may even consider it a work of Art. That’s why I ask runners to tell us why they run, to whom they are dedicating their run to, even get to know what music inspires them. Some may even use a GPS sensor to carve out a message, or maybe carving a message in the sand by their local beach, a message on our event website. Art is defined as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”. Now, we may not score 100% with that definition; but we’re pretty close – don’t you think?
One year (in 2001), a few days after the Lobsterfest 5K, disaster struck in an adjacent city about 26 miles away: New York City.
The date was September 11th. A great journalist friend of mine (and age-group winner of the Marine Corp Marathon) called shortly afterwards to ask about the results of our Lobsterfest 5K – and more importantly how I got home on 9/11. Knowing that the trains were packed, road closures were ever-present, etc., he asked if he could write a story about my journey home that day. I was a little reluctant, only because of the impact the day had on others, plus… I knew that my marathon friends would say “it’s not that far …I could do that”. Needless to say, he wrote the article (The Marathon of His Life: Running Home From Terror) another running story from me that people as recently as this past year ponder “are you that guy”.
Hope that’s enough about me. Hopefully it shares my rationale for creating World Run Day – that every runner can celebrate.
(I know there may be too much information on this page; but as one song says: “Sue me if I play to long, this Brother is Free, I’ll be what I want to be”.)
Pursuit & Perseverance,
Bill McDermott (Runner)
World Run Day
Repurposed this Video I didn't make the Survivor cast; but it can double as my biography. Hope you enjoy it.
Maybe I should have created an entirely new video … but why waste some good footage that talks about me, where I’ve been, and what running means to me. This was an unsuccessful attempt of me auditioning for the USA Television Show SURVIVOR. (That’s ok, I have other projects like World Run Day that I can work on)