My Journey '09 experience began about a week after The first Journey I decided to plan and enact in '08. I was so jazzed about how fun it all was that I had to do it again. I realized how much more exciting the city is when you're being chased (or stalking) through it, and I wanted everybody to get that feeling.
But I wanted everybody who ran last year who do it again to have a completely different experience. So I changed the location up. I think Los Angeles is the greatest city in the world, and I intend to show that off by choosing different routes that show off her beauty every year I organize a new Journey through her streets. So this year I decided to show off her beaches. I started on the end of the fabulous Santa Monica pier and ran the course South along the beach to Playa del Rey.
This is the route they had to run.
Last year's Journey I felt was fantastic, but was hurt because of a bad scheduling error on the part of my theater company (who I planned on getting a lot of help from), so this year I had meetings with everybody involved in scheduling at the theater so as to avoid a similar snafu and I could get lots of support. Having been able to think about the things that went right and the things that went wrong last year, I found two main errors, one being that schedule problem, and the other being publicity. It was great last year but less than 50 people showed up to enjoy it. I wanted more.
And I have to admit sadly that I failed on both counts.
My theater company scheduled a big fundraiser on the night of my Journey, and I didn't find out about until it was too late to do anything about it. So I would get very little help from my beloved company. And, secondly I failed to publicize it properly. I relied on online publicity like the facebook (which I am not a big fan of. C'mon! 63 maybes! Make up your damned minds! Commit to something! And the yeses, how many of those 30 showed up? I am not a fan of you bookface) and I got incredibly busy with life, work, being out of town and prepping for Burning Man that I let the publicity and promotion slip. A lot. So the moral of the story is that the exact same problems that hit me last year hit me again this year. And even less people showed up for this year's Journey. Which was a shame. Because it was a good route that was lots of fun. But I don't mean to sound like I'm throwing a pity party, population: me, just that I could have planned better, or enlisted more help or something.
Enough of how I failed, and more of how awesome Journey was!
20 people showed up to run the race. We had way more people than that claim they were coming, and getting to the end of the Santa Monica pier at sunset is admittedly very difficult, but after the last people we knew were coming showed up, I had to start the race. I gave out maps and armbands and explained the rules to all. I asked if there were questions, made sure everybody knew that they were not superheroes, and just because they're being chased, does not mean they are impervious to being hit by cars, and I reminded everybody that laws are still in effect during the race. I explained the new rule I came up with for this special seaside Journey which is that if a runner is in a body of water up to their neck they are safe from being tagged. I was pleased to see some runners brought ziplock bags to keep their possessions that they wanted to keep from getting wet.
After everybody was clear on the rules, I sent them on their way at about 8:00pm. I started them a little later than I had wanted, but I wanted to wait for as many runners as I thought would show up.
I love watching the runners run off to start their Journey every time. It never gets old.
I walked all the way off of the pier, before realizing I left my water sitting on the end out there, so I went back for it, and good thing too, because it was there that I found Lord Bojangles Winston-Jones
walking down the pier with his bike. I gave him a map, and lots of red ribbon to terrify runners with, and realized I knew he said he'd be there, but because he wasn't at the meeting of checkpoint agents and staff chasers, I assumed he wasn't going to show up. So I didn't mention that he'd be there to the runners, so I stopped by checkpoint 1 to tell the ladies there to inform the runners that there would be a chaser on a bike, and to tell them that this is fair.
Then I went to the finish line and waited. I kept getting and sending updates via text to the chasers and checkpoint agents all night. Which is pretty fun actually. One of my chasers had a large group of runners trapped down a dead end, and he kept taunting them telling them they had no way out and no hope for survival. I also told him that the game would be more fun for the runners if he didn't catch any runners, but scared them instead. Which he did a beautiful job at.
I'd tell all of the awesome stories of what the checkpoint agents did for their checkpoints, my guys at checkpoint #2 did an especially evil job of making runners jump though hoops, but I hope they'll tell their own stories through praxis. For my part, I waited at checkpoint #4 which wasn't too far from the end, so I could keep the agent company there, and I could get to the end when I saw the first runner show up, and the first runner that showed up at checkpoint 4 was one of two Australians that were in town staying with some of the people who were running the race, so they tagged along. They didn't know what they were in for, but dove headfirst into it. He ran up to the checkpoint without shoes on, as he showed up for the race wearing thongs. And when he showed up at #4, I knew there were no chasers between #4 and the end, so I knew the only thing between him and the end was his own paranoia.
And sure enough, a few minutes after I got to the end, he ran in with his flippy floppies in his hand. I gave him some water, listened to his story, and gave him his trophy.
The rest of the night was about sitting there and watching runners come running in, some being chased, some not, and just sitting back and hearing good stories. I hope they all write up their stories in detail, because they are all pretty great. Again, I'd love to tell them all, but I'd rather they did it themselves through praxis.
It should be noted that Tac Haberdash
was caught and his blue ribbon removed after a year and two successful Journey runs. But it took four chasers, one on bike and one in a car on a dead end street to do it. A ceremony was held in his honor at the finish line and the chaser that caught him was given his trophy.
Everybody retired to the local bar for drinks and food and more story-telling. I stayed and waited for Waldo
, who was the confirmed last runner out there, who was waiting out the last die hard chasers in the last safe zone. He waited them out and eventually showed up with his blue ribbon still on and his was the last manifest signed by me that night.
I heard from some runners that it was their favorite night they'd ever spent in the city, so it was all worth it. Again.
All of my pictures follow.