Brooklyn Runner


What a Disappointment
May 12, 2008, 11:10 am
Filed under: Marathoning, Racing, Running Routes | Tags: ,

I was dismayed to realize in the last few weeks that the Philadelphia Marathon — where I ran my first marathon in 2004 — has added a half marathon to race day.

I’m not knocking Philly for adding a half. But I’m so very not in favor of the way they did it. The half marathoners line up right alongside those running the full marathon. They go off with the same gun. They benefit from the same crowds, same support stations as the marathoners, but they only run half the course — essentially getting all the glory but without having to work as hard.

This seems extremely unfair to me. I get it that the half marathon is a good race for a lot of people, but it’s not fair to have the half run on exactly the same course at exactly the same time as the full marathon. The marathon is a special race, and adding the half in this way does a disservice to a distance that should be respected and honored. If the race organizers wanted to give people a chance to participate in marathon day, they could have set the half marathon an hour or two later, and put the finish at a different point.

And it’s worth noting that typically the field for the half marathon in Philly is about twice as large as the full marathon field. The year I ran it, the half marathon (then called the Philadelphia Distance Run, and held in September) was about 12,000 runners while the full marathon (in late November) was about 5,000. This also made the half marathon work well with the fall training schedules of people all over the Northeast. Can you imagine running in a marathon and at mile 13.1 — your halfway mark — more than two thirds of the field drops out because they are finished? Hearing them get cheered on to their finish while you still have — yikes — 13.1 more miles to go? It seems so wrong.

I had a great experience in Philly in 2004. I was living in that city at the time and did my long training runs up and down the Schuylkill (pronounced skoo-kul) River, which takes you past famed boathouse row and its teams of skullers. That strip and many others that I used to run are part of the marathon course, which made it extra special for me, to be able to run my first marathon on home turf. I loved it. The crowds were great, the weather was perfect, the finish in front of the “Rocky Balboa” steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum was the perfect way to end a marathon. It’s a race I’ll never forget.

I used to rave about this race, encouraging all my friends to do the marathon there as well. Not anymore! How sad … Why the change in 2006? Philly was a treasure among the huge fall marathons in New York, Chicago and DC, all of which are much harder to get into. It’s really too bad.

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Prospect Park Speed Series
May 7, 2008, 10:31 am
Filed under: Racing | Tags: , ,

The annual Prospect Park “Speed Series” — a 5K race every other Wednesday night — is about to kick off. This low key event, organized by Prospect Park Track Club, is a fun way to race a 5K every two weeks over the summer and track your progress over time. The field is small enough that you can potentially medal in your age group, and everyone gets cheered on royally coming through the finish. There’s no t-shirt or chips, but official times are taken and posted, and it’s only $5.

There’s more information at the PPTC website here.



Brooklyn Half
May 5, 2008, 9:55 am
Filed under: Racing, training

I should have trained more for this race! But it was still fun to be there and make it across the finish line. A cool headwind, mostly flat course, and nice finish in the park made it a fun race to do. Search results on NYRRC site here.