I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In The Simple Mind of a Runner

Over the past few years, I have directed a small number of races ranging from 8K to a 30K and I have been involved in committees for some others such as the Rock Hill Run and Ramble (R4) 5K and The Classic 10K. Some of these races thrive on raising the bar in road racing a bit higher each year offering live entertainment, expensive door prizes and bringing elites to the local arena.

A couple of years ago, while being the editor of my running club’s newsletter, I asked runners to write about their favorite race. I sat comfortably waiting for the articles to pour singling out what I thought would be their first choice: Celebrate Life Half Marathon or my friend’s Run and Ramble 5K as their top race. Where else after running a 5K do runners get Bethel Woods tickets as door prizes, live music, beer and wine, as they do in the R4 and what race would stand out on someone’s memory higher than Celebrate Life’s wine awards, food spree and expensive shirts?

To my surprise one by one the articles came in describing no frill races. Races with no tech shirts or better yet, no shirts at all; no awards other than maybe a jar of fruit spread, no course support, no food at the finish, pretty much a “you’re on your own” type of race.

Runners drove far to participate in these races that had become to all of them must do events. The camaraderie was a common denominator in all these races as was a low entry fee.

I can only guess that removing all the amenities and high extravagance, also removes the pressure from the competitor. Honestly, I don’t know.

I have never attempted to direct a no frill low key event. As low key as I have gone is the Wurtsboro Mountain 30K and even there I have added prizes for overalls, energy gels and much more course support than it had before. I guess you can say I am afraid of doing less.

But in the simple mind of a runner, more is not always better. Instead it can become more pressure for them as well as for me. However, for the time being, I won’t try any no frill races, perhaps for the same factor that drives me in many other areas of my life: “Like me for what I do”.

But you might not like all that I do.