Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Chicago's massive fun run

So who gets the blame for a race gone bad? The weather? Organizers? or the racers?

As described in this article: http://www.nbc5.com/news/14287642/detail.html

The Chicago Marathon had to be stopped at around 12 noon due to the excessive heat. they called it a fun run after that. The result being a HUGE number of folks who trained for months on end did not get to complete the marathon, were in fact turned away at the half way point. This mostly affected the slower runners and newbies who were just in it to say they finished a marathon. Those fast enough were already probably done by noon time.

The real question is was there enough water or not? There seems to be mixed information about this. The fact however is that Many MANY participants said the aid stations were not stocked well enough to deal with the heat. to me that sounds like it was the organizers issue. After all they were forewarned, Chicago had been hot for days before this race. The organizer had promised all of this support for the race. It apparently did not transpire as they promised.

Now over the past few days I have heard many discussions about this. Several different point of views, some saying that the organizer was not responsible for the weather and the runners should have been better prepared, carrying their own fuel. Others stating that the problem is an already over crowded race that the organizers simply could not manage once there was a problem. Others stating that the problem is that there are simply too many "new" runners who really are not trained enough to deal with the weather conditions.

Most likely its a little of all. But in MY opinion the organizer failed to manage the emergency. They failed to recognize that they could not handle the massive amounts of runners, they failed to deliver on their promises of water and gatoraide. So yes they are mostly at fault.

But this does bring up another issue, as a society is it possible we are just now taking on the "Just do it" approach that Nike has been pushing on us for so long in their adds. Are we just "Doing it" without proper training and preparation? The massive increases in folks doing Triathlons and marathons would seem to support this. I wonder if allot of people are just taking on these exceptionally strenuous tasks just for the sake of saying "they did it". I remember last year while I was training for the NYC tr with Team in Training, I overheard one woman tell another that she should go ahead and sign up for the NYC Marathon because after all if she got tired she could just walk most of the race. Aside from my own feeling of being appalled that ANYONE would want to participate in a race and actually walk through it ( whats the point then?) it is evident of what allot of people think, forget training just sign up for the sake of saying that you did it. Which bring me to think that allot of people out there do not get it. The real point is you should finish this thing KNOWING you are in better shape than when you started. That you really are someone who can finish a Marathon. Not just someone who might as well take a taxi to the finish line.

Anyhow, no matter what my opinion I do believe this does add to the problem and its a problem that race organizers will have to deal with. They need to start to "Dummy proof" the races.

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