Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Albany Half Marathon Report

It was quite a bit hotter than I had expected today. Let me rephrase that -- I was more affected by the temperatures than I expected today. The temps were in the 80s, but I think because it is so late in the year it bothered me more. We never walked as fast as I had planned -- 14:30 per mile. Anyway, my finish time was 3:22 (by my watch), but I'm glad we listened to our bodies and slowed down.

The one problem with this event is, there are elite walkers who are way out front and fast, and there are casual "once a year" walkers who do not understand the "rules" of being in a race. Those of us whose walking speed is in between were stuck.

Here are some things that happened:
First off, there were pace markers for participants to line up at their pace. Great idea! Unfortunately, many walkers thought they did not apply to them. I was passing 6-year-old children! One woman had a toddler in a backpack. I could not even count the number of people carrying cups of Starbucks' coffee. These people were walking at about an 18-min mile pace and lined up in the 12-min mile section. Our first mile was horrible trying to get around everyone.

Second, when we got to the first water stop, everyone in front of us stopped! Not just a couple of people -- EVERYONE! I think most of those walkers went to the first guy who had a cup in his hand and waited in line. Then they stood there to drink it. We were yelling "Keep moving, keep moving," but it didn't do any good. Luckily, they either learned, or we passed all of the "stoppers" at that water stop. It was the only water stop where it happened.

The other problem is that there was no food at the end of the race. I was able to get plenty of bottled water, which was good, but all that was left food-wise was bags of pretzels and bagel chips. The bagels were gone and I don't know if there was ever anything other than bagels. The sad part is, there were plenty of people who finished after I did!

So, overall the race was disappointing. I didn't do as well as I had wanted, I got stuck behind inexperienced walkers, and there was no food. Luckily I had plenty of money with me and the entry fee was only $30.

If I do this event again next year I will definitely carry my own hydration (I hate Heed, which was on the course), and I will have some fruit and bagels in the car.


Anonymous said...

Cindi, yep, it was hot! Sorry you had a disappointing experience. Regarding the lack of food - My understanding was that there were a TON of people who were NOT in the race, who were eating the food. That is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Rest up!

Larry, Columbus

Cindi said...

Last year when everyone did the 10K the food was probably less of a problem because we all finished fairly quickly. But there were still at least 300 people behind me when I finished yesterday!

I might suggest that next year there should be competitive and noncompetitive categories with different colored bibs. That would put the people who are "racing" in front of the people who are walking for the fun of it.

There were a LOT of people at about my pace who were frustrated. I heard several say they wouldn't come back, and that was while we were out by the Wexner estate. Imagine how angry they were when there was no food for us.

Anonymous said...

I'm racewalking my first marathon on November 23 (Philly), and placing myself correctly at the start line is a big concern for me. Since it's a big race, it's going to be a slow hike to the official start line to begin with, so getting caught behind slower groups of walkers who're oblivious to race etiquette could make for a bad start.

As more races welcome walkers, your idea for competitive and non-competitive categories makes tons of sense, especially in areas where racewalking events are hard to find. Also, I'm always for the no-strollers/backpacks/dogs, etc. rules most bigger races have in place. That should be a standard rule for any race, if only for safety purposes.

Anonymous said...

Ditto the heat problem, particularly on the no-shade last 7 miles of the half marathon. I came in relatively early and only found tootsie rolls, a few Zone bars, and plain bagels. I really wanted some fruit.

Cindi said...

Hey Stardancing,

The last couple of big races I did we had to predict our finish times and we had an assigned start corral. I did find that many people lied, but after the first mile it's been OK.

Good luck! I can't wait to see what you think about that race.

Anonymous said...

The Philly marathon does require you to enter an estimated time on the entry form, and I kept it pretty conservative.

I don't mind starting a little bit back because I have a bad tendancy to shoot out of the gate, so starting a wee bit slow helps me pace myself better, plus it's more encouraging to pass people than to be passed. :-)

I can't wait -- I feel really ready now and wish it were sooner, actually.