Sunday, November 15, 2009

Returning to Running

Ola, folks!

As you can see from the Buckeye Outdoors widget, I'm starting to move again. It's not easy -- I went for a run today and it's like I'm starting over. Well, I guess I am starting over. But boy, there was no running mojo there at all. Going to make next weekends Race to Deliver tough. Oh, well.

And as you can also see, I have added swimming to the regimen. I started swimming in September, in the hopes that if I were to get into the Nautica Tri, I would have at least that part in progress. Well, I did indeed get into the Nautica Tri, so I have until July to be able to swim a mile. Considering how long it takes me to improve in sports-related activities, I think starting now is a good idea.

Speaking of which, I am also now the proud owner of a Cannondale R400 bicycle. It's a road bike, which means it's also good for a beginner triathlete, like moi. All the websites say for your first tri, just use whatever bike is available to you, but I feel that I need a little more than a $20 Schwinn in order to train and get through the bike portion of the tri in one piece. If you've never ridden a road or tri bike, it's different enough from that $20 Schwinn to make me really glad I got the bike when I did. It's going to take some practice for me to feel comfortable with my feet in the basket pedals, and sitting so high up. Also, I've never had a bike with gears before, so that's going to be an adventure. But best of all -- it's yellow!! It's pretty!!

Lastly today -- keeping it short, as I've got much to do, and no desire to do it, which makes everything take three times as long -- I ended up somehow as one of only two guests on the Runner's Round Table's most recent podcast, number 56 (you can get it on iTunes.) It was hosted by Joe Garland, host of the RunWestchester blog that is now listed on the right of the page. Let me tell you, them Westchester runners are serious about running. I know Joe through the erstwhile "Runners Who Blog Also Drink" group of runners who meet occassionally for a beverage or two. Since there was no real topic for the show, Joe and I talked mostly about the NYC marathon. Well, turns out, Joe's had a topic on his blog recently about guaranteeing spots for charity runners in marathons, and for some reason, he asked me to comment. I guess it's pretty obvious that I have some experience with charity runners (!) So I leave you with my response.

Admittedly, my take is biased.

The way I see it, there are two
kinds of charity marathoners. Those who can and do run marathons who
didn't get in for whatever reason, so go the charity route just for the entry,
and those who are committed to the cause they run for, and regardless of their
ability as a runner, take the training very seriously because, as Jake said,
there's a lot riding on them. A casual runner isn't going to spend $3000
just to say, "I ran a marathon." For that $$, there's a

I think that when you talk about the wisdom of
having charity entries, the conversation veers close to "Should we let people
who can't run a four-hour marathon into the marathon?" I consider myself a
runner, even though I'll never make it to the elite stages. And while
there are some amazing runners out there who run for charities -- Fred's Team
has a number of sub 3:00 runners -- most of us don't come close. But these
people put in the training and run the race to the best of their ability, and
that should really be the standard for admission to just about
any marathon.

There's always been a certain number of
guaranteed charity entries. As NYRR allows entries for more and more
charity teams -- especially their own -- they're not necessarily increasing the
amount of guaranteed entries. For the most part, the amount of guaranteed
entries allowed per team have decreased over the past few years, and the amount
of charity entries overall has not changed dramatically. It's just been
spread around more.

On the other hand, NY may be unique in
that over half the race entries go to those come in with one of
the international tours. While many of them are serious runners, just
as many are in it for the experience of visiting the five boroughs, and clearly
haven't put in the training. I oughta know -- I get stuck behind them all
the time!! And those entries aren't going to be limited in any major
way, because the marathon is, after all, a for-profit venture, and those
tourists bring a lot of money into NYC.

I don't think limiting or
eliminating charity runners is the answer. I think what should be limited
are the people who don't respect the distance. How one does that is beyond

However, as far as Boston is concerned, I believe a BQ trumps
a charity runner. If they indeed have to shut BQers out, I think they need
to revisit the amount of bibs they reserve for charities. or raise the race
cap enough that year to accomodate those that qualify by time and those who
qualify by money. The main reason races are capped, by the way, besides
overcrowding the race itself, is because of the legal capacity of the
race course itself (believe it or not, Central Park has a legal

My two cents, and feel free to publish this to your
blog, as I may just do to mine!

And as you can see, I did.

More anon!

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