Friday, May 02, 2008

St. Jude Marathon - Is It Walker Friendly?

Some Walking Team members are planning to do the St. Jude Half Marathon in Memphis this December. I looked at the details of the Marathon on their web site, and it seems somewhat walker friendly.

The information is straight forward:
The course is open for six hours after the official start time. However, note that traffic control by the Memphis Police Department, the use of cones and the operation of Aid Stations will cease in stages along the course (some before 2 p.m) as the event progresses. Accordingly, it is important that runners and walkers maintain a minimum 14 minute per mile pace to take advantage of this support. Once normal vehicular traffic resumes, participants should proceed at their own risk and are asked to use sidewalks. Volunteers will continue to monitor participants’ progress along the course.

The Finish Line will operate until 3:30 p.m. Official times will be recorded, and medals will be distributed until this time.

But then I got to this paragraph:
Walkers will be positioned in the last Corral and will start at the same time as runners, following the prescribed course. For safety reasons, they must start behind the runners. Walkers who cannot maintain a pace of 14 minutes per mile may be asked to move to the sidewalk as portions of the course close and course support ceases.

Why on Earth should a walker who does a 12-min mile have to line up behind a runner who does a 14-min mile? So I asked. Here is the race's response:
We suggest you get in the corral that best matches your expected pace.
Thanks for your interest in our event. Hope to see you on 12/6.

Here is why I really like this race! They explain what is expected of participants up front - the pace, when to expect the course to close, what to do if regular traffic resumes, how long the finish line is open. I now have enough information to make an informed decision regarding whether I should enter this event. I also have the responsibility to NOT enter this event if I can't finish in their timeframe.

OK, I'm not fast enough for the full marathon - but I might consider the half ...

Check it out:

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