Tuesday, November 03, 2009

AG awards for a half marathon walk?

So today I got my official confirmation of acceptance into the Boston Marathon! [And they said verification would take 3-5 weeks? That sure was fast! Maybe you get extra credit for running a race in MA? Haha :)] A little bit exciting...got a little giddy when I saw my name on the "official entrants" list.

But anyway, since [*sigh*] I still have nothing new to report on the running front, I had a couple of random things that I was thinking about commenting on for awhile. I found it kind of funny that right around the time of my first marathon, that NY Times article came out questioning whether slower runners have a place in marathons. There's been quite a crazy debate and I guess I thought I would just share my opinions on the subject since...well...I want to!

In general, I really disagree with the article. Honestly, if you trained for the race, worked hard, and work as hard as you can during the race itself, you deserve to be there, whether you're running for 2 hours or 8. Are there certain cutoff times that I would consider reasonable? Yeah...I mean, the story of the people who stopped at a restaurant to eat lunch in the Honolulu Marathon...ok that might be a bit much. But basically - if you're giving it your all, I couldn't care less how fast you're going. Does it really affect any of the people who are going to run a faster time what the person who comes in last runs? Not really, unless they try to start at the front of the elite corrall or something dumb like that. Frankly, I think it's pretty cool to see people trying to push their limits regardless of what those limits may be.

But the one thing I do have to say is this: fundamentally, a marathon or half marathon is something that you should have trained for, and it should be an accomplishment for you regardless of what level you're at....and this brings me to the actual point of my rambling. I've never really seen this happen in a marathon, but a half marathon that I raced in last year has decided to institute a specific half marathon WALK. Not only that, but the walk division includes age group awards. Ummm...yeah...not so sure how I feel about that one.

I'm totally cool with the walk division in a 5K or 10K, because there are people who walk for fitness and it's awesome that they're able to participate in races/fundraisers and enjoy themselves that way. But I feel like a half marathon is kind of on a whole different level from that...it's a pretty major endurance event that people train hard and put in a lot of miles for. The thing that just confuses me is that, its not like the race was ever EXCLUDING walkers...there is something like a 16:00/mile pace cutoff that's not terribly strictly enforced and I'm sure if anyone just wanted to walk the majority of the race that would be just fine. But age group awards for a walk? I feel like that just kind of undermines the achievement of the people who ran, walk/ran, jogged, or, basically, really worked hard to complete that 13.1 miles. I'm not saying that walking 13.1 miles would be easy [although, I can't imagine why anyone would want to!] but I don't know...a race just doesn't seem like the right setting for it. IF they really wanted to have a "fun walk", I doubt the people who would sign up for such a thing would want the competition of awards...because if they did, they would be signed up for the actual race. This race also has a 1/4 marathon event, which it seems to me would make a lot more sensible distance to add a specific walk event to...it's not like the half marathon was their shortest race, and the directors felt they needed to cater to walkers somehow.

I guess what it comes down to for me is this: a race is a race. If you want to go for a leisurely walk, or even a walk that is some kind of test of endurance [ie, walkathons, multi-day charity walks, etc]...that is AWESOME. I'm all for physical activity of any sort. I just don't think that creating a separate division in a race scenario, especially in a distance like 13.1, is really where that kind of thing belongs.

Hmm...well I hope this doesn't come off as incredibly elitist or anything - because really, I'm not that kind of person at all. I guess I just don't like to see people half-assing things just to check something off a list or say they did it. I don't care how fast or slow you're going, as long as you're giving it 110%...and that's what I feel like any race, especially a long-distance one, should really represent.

Annnnd rambling over. :) I ventured to the library today despite the crazy crowds of people with political signs and picked up a new book to read while "resting" [Ken Follett...World Without End...I liked Pillars of the Earth, so hopefully this will be equally good!] I have been stretching and Sticking out of control, which seems to be the thing that is helping my questionable IT band the most - after some combination of those two, my leg feels much less tight and achy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that with this combination + a couple more days of rest, I'll be able to kick this stupid problem! I'm totally blaming the weather on marathon day for this...I think the cold + rain made my muscles much tighter than they would have been, and that combined with the stress of, ya know, running a marathon, just kind of took its toll.

Finally, belated shoutout to lindsay for rocking it out in NYC this past weekend! Oh yeah, and Meb Keflezighi...you know, for being the first American to win the thing in something like forever. Awesome!


Lacey Nicole said...

i have read all of ken follett's books, lol. his historical spy/mystery books are great fast reads. i esp liked jackdaws and the man from st petersburg.

i have read quite a few responses to that article. i go back and forth with how i feel about it... i think walkers should have a separate course tho or at least a lane cuz i have run in races where they spread across the whole course.

lindsay said...

belated thanks for the belated shout out :)

walking is no joke. i can hardly handle a couple hours at the mall, let alone 26.2 miles! (yeah, for me running it is easy in comparison). i can agree with lacey ... do something to help keep the walkers from starting in with the runners! the crowding is no fun.