MB10k Spotlight: The Dynamic Duo

Race Director Rachel Judson with Tate the Adventure Poodle and Registration Director Annmarie Hext.

Have You Met These Ladies?

If you've done the Manhattan Beach 10k in the last 20 years or sign up this year, you'll likely bump into one of these two! If you have not had the pleasure to meet their acquaintance yet, let us introduce you to Rachel Judson and Annmarie Hext. Rachel is our esteemed Race Director with her adorable sidekick Tate the Adventure Poodle. Annmarie is our brilliant Registration Director. While these are their main VOLUNTEER jobs for the race, they do so much more behind the scenes to make the race happen without a hiccup year after year.

Our Q & A With Rachel

How long have you been the MB10k Race Director?

Since the 25th running in 2002.

How did you first get involved with the MB10k?

Two great men are responsible:  John Post & Don Sirvio. In the late 90s, having known each other for years, John was recruiting for the Committee, and called my business partner Don to see if he was interested in joining the Committee. Don wasn't and recommended me.  As a runner I had wanted an opportunity to give back to the sport I love; it was a match made in heaven. The rest is history.                                                 

What’s it like to be Race Director and work with the 31 others on the Race Committee?

For years now, I have found myself telling the others on the committee that if we all decided to work together on a for-profit, business venture, we’d be as successful as Apple or Google.  It truly is an incredible group of people. All are people who are dedicated with great follow through and execution. Much of the work is done independently or in small sub-committees, and then it’s pulled together as a group making sure each ‘i’ is dotted, and ‘t’ crossed. Many on the committee are of the founding generation, a number are 2nd generation (like me) and now we find ourselves adding the 3rd. I feel so fortunate to have joined when I did and have the pleasure of knowing those who had the brilliance to come up with the idea and worked so hard for so long on the race, and to be of the next wave to keep it going, and to eventually pass it on to others who share the passion

What is your biggest challenge putting on a race of this size?

Post-2010, it is marketing.  (Google WSJ - How the Millennials Ended the Running Boom 2016 for more info).  There are so many ways the public gets information, so many opportunities for things to do and the challenge is making sure people know we’re a fantastic event, one that they should do annually, and that they sign up.

Why do you love the MB10k?

It brings out what I think is the best Manhattan Beach has to offer.  I got involved to give back to running and in return I got the people.  If anyone has any doubt of the true love there is for this community, I assure them it is here and shines with the people who volunteer and do the race.  It is also so nice that people outside our area get to share in an experience that shows that Manhattan Beach isn’t just pretty, it’s a true community. It’s also a pure volunteer event tied to a city I love with profits being donated back to Manhattan Beach.

Why should someone race the MB10k?

It appeals to serious competitive runners (USATF certified course), and fun for less competitive, including walkers,  who want a well organized 10k with lots of entertainment and post-race Expo that is fantastic (not to mention the bonus ‘unofficial finish line’ of Shellback).  If that isn’t enough, being able to show off a gorgeous finisher’s t-shirt that’s like a work of art, and knowing the profits go back to the community.

Can you let us in on any fun secrets for this October 5th?

Expo changes: another photo booth with fun props and re-vamp to the North Lot being wellness-focused. All the more reason to stay and enjoy Manhattan Beach after the race!

What do you hope for the future of the race?

I’d love those at the 100th running to look back and say, “Wow, that’s really cool that this has been a great tradition for so long!”  For generations to come, I hope the race continues with the sense of community it was founded upon, and that it outlives us all. Long may it run.

Our Q & A With Annmarie

How long have you been the Registration Director for the race?

This is my 17th year on the committee. I can’t believe it’s been that long!

How did you first get involved with the MB10k?

Back then, I was new to running and loving it! I was meeting new people and forming new friendships in the running community. One of those friends, Alison Guerrero, had recently joined the Race Committee and always had such great things to say about the group. Alison invited me to volunteer my first year and I loved it! When the Race Committee began recruiting new members as part of their succession plan, I offered to fill the position of Registration Director, previously held by Rachel. Those were big shoes to fill!

Your adult kids are now involved in the race, how fun is that for you?

Oh my goodness, it’s too fun! Over the years, they have put in a lot of time at our dining room table in support of my race duties. It’s no exaggeration to say that they’ve processed thousands of race bibs! When they expressed interest in joining the Race Committee, I was so excited! Tyler sits on the Registration subcommittee with me, and Bex will transition to Expo chair this year. I am so proud of the people my kids have become and working with them on the MB10k is special to me (this calls for a heart emoji!).

Signing up for the MB10k is very seamless, how do you make it so easy for people?

Wow, thanks for the compliment! I work hard to make the process run smoothly, but I can’t take all the credit. Our partnership with Village Runner is huge. They really are the face of this race prior to race day and we couldn’t ask for a better team. I work closely with them to address the wants and needs of our runners while staying true to our commitment to keeping it ‘hometown’.

Can you share with us some fun stories about people who have participated in the race?

I love our runners! They’re real and they’re kind and they have brought me so much joy over the years. My favorite would have to be the email I received with the subject line that read “The dog ate my number”. A dog mom myself, I just laughed out loud at the thought of 5½-month-old Maddie going full attack mode on that race bib. Of course, I requested a photo! I have to say, she looked innocent to me.

Silliness aside, I find registration to be the best race job. September is like a month-long reunion for me and I love it! I have shared hearty laughs and heartfelt tears (you runners know who you are) with our runners and they are the reason I continue to serve this race. The day they turn on me, I’m out! Hahaha just kidding ;D

We are now having racers from other countries sign up for the MB10k, why do you think that is?

Can you believe it?! It used to be the occasional international runner, but it’s really growing these past few years. Many of them are past residents returning home for the race, but now that we have a social media presence, newbies are finding us and planning trips around the race. But don’t you worry, domestic runners. No matter how far people travel for this great event, we are committed to keeping it ‘hometown’. That’s why people love this race and that won’t change.



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