Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dedication and running (C&D Canal RunFest)

The C&D Canal Runfest today in Delaware City was a great reminder of the guts and grit of people who have been dedicated enough to train for and complete these races. The festival includes 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon races. All types ran... serious racers... experienced recreational racers looking for a challenging Sunday run... newer runners for whom these races represented one of their first forays into distance running... and a half-marathoner racing in a wheelchair.

Congratulations to all of the runners who completed their races at the canal races today. Special kudos to TrailDawgs Angus Repper (marathon winner!), Phil Nissen (marathon 2nd in age group), Greg Forgang (half-marathon 2nd in age group and 8th overall), Eva Van Stratum (half-marathon first in age group), and Stewart Dotts (half-marathon first in age group and 15th overall). Me? 1:49:42 half mary.

The race directors from Piranha Sports did a very nice job organizing an event that deserves more participants (the field was very small - not much more than 100 for all races). We lucked out with superb weather - a cool (50s), sunny, fall day with a bit of a breeze to make for shimmering red, orange, and yellow leaves in the trees. The course was pleasant, a reasonably fast and flat out-and-back, flat except for the old St. George's Bridge over the canal. The bridge has a pretty steep 100 ft rise, with a much more significant grade than the new bridge just to the west - the 5K and 10K runners got to turn back before it. After the bridge crossing, the half marathoners did a little over a mile on the dirt access road along the canal - the marathoners were able to enjoy around 14 miles on this nice soft surface. On the way back, the northbound bridge crossing threw a stiff headwind at us. On the way down, I greeted the wheelchair racer coming up, fighting hard to muscle his way up the steep bridge grade.

The wind was a blessing on the last part of the course - a tailwind! Between that, and the overall slight downhill, the last few miles were fun. But, it did seem to take forever to get to the finish, as runners could see it from a mile away on the straight road.

Aid was good, with water, gatorade, and abundant gels. The workers were nice - actually, more than nice, really enthusiastic - and included kids from a local police Explorer's group assisting the Piranha Sports folks. Good sandwiches and snacks at the end.

The positive energy of the runners made a great contrast with a few articles that have been discussed in online forums this week. I really shouldn't waste bandspace on this, but I can't resist a rant about it.

"How Oprah Ruined the Marathon" By Edward McClelland

The author asks: "Has this country's marathoning spirit been trampled by hordes of joggers whose only goal is to stagger across the finish line?"

Of course, soon after he tells us: "I had to give up marathoning just as everyone else was getting into it." Aww, poor guy. Why? "My bum knee..." he tells us (whaaaa, whaaa! I could have been a contendah!). But, his knee is good enough for him to struggle through a half marathon, we learn.

"Running With Slowpokes. How sluggish newbies ruined the marathon"

We really must to listen to this guy's point about all those damned slowpokes clogging up the races: "
I'm an avid runner with six marathons under my New Balance trainers." Wow, I wish I were that cool. Maybe he can give runners lectures on how to avoid chafing, too?

Maybe there needs to be a club for too-cool elitists like these guys. A club for people who are just too good to run with "those people," those slow runners, people who (despite a lack of speed or genes for athleticism) have enough dedication to get up off their derrieres four or five days a week - instead of eating chips and watching TV - to put in the miles to be able to complete a race of this distance, to do their personal best.

How nice it is that the majority of runners, and basically all trail runners, don't have the kind of snotty attitude of these guys. Now, back to my bag of Doritos and surfing the web...

1 comment:

fat_angus said...

Yo Pete! This is excellent. The layout is exceptional. Very professional! Thanks for the kind words. It was great to see you out there supporting the local running orgs! Stay hard core man! I hope you don't mind me commenting.