July 29, 2008

This Chaps My Hyde

Today I got an email from John Bingham Racing informing me that due to the massive amount of participants in this years Chicago Distance Classic that they will be moving to a "wave start". Here is the email:

CDC: John, we understand that you've decided to use a wave start this year. Can you tell us what that is, and why you're going to use it.
John: Our number one concern is giving every participant a chance to have the greatest race of their lives. That means providing a safe course, a weil supported course, and making sure that every participant feels like the race was staged just for them.
We also want a beautiful course, which for us has meant taking advantage of the lakefront path south of the city. There's not another major city course that has 6 miles in a park overlooking a lake that ENDS in the middle of downtown.
To make sure that everyone has room to run or walk, we're going to have a series of starts, with 2,500 people in each wave.

CDC: But if I'm not in the first wave, won't that affect my time?
John: No, just the opposite. It will help you have a better time because you'll actually be in a much smaller race. Your time doesn't start until you cross the start line. In a large race like the CDC it can take 8-10 minutes to get to the starting line anyway. A wave start just makes it better organized.

CDC: Have you used a wave start anywhere else?
John: Yes. At the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. I'm on the announcer's stand and we bring up each wave and get them fired up. It's FANTASTIC. Instead of feeling like you're in the middle of a giant event you feel like you're having your own private race.

CDC: How will people know what wave they should be in?
John: The Reebok Pace Team Leaders, presented by Chicago Endurance Sports, will be in the start corrals. [Pace teams are FREE] They will help participants find the wave that's right for them. There will also be pace signs in the start corrals.
If you want to qualify for one of the Chicago Marathon Seeded Corrals, you'll want to get in the first wave. If you're trying for an age-group, you'll want to get in the second wave. If all you want is a fun day running and walking with 12,000 of your best friends, line up near the back.
CDC: OK, you've convinced us. Anything else we need to know?

John: We're hoping that everyone will cooperate and help us help them. If folks line up where they should then everyone will have an opportunity to do their best.

First let me say that last years race was horrible. It was super hot, they ran out of water (um, big sign for what was to come in Oct, huh?) and the course was HORRIBLE! I dont understand why they have to make every Chicago race so huge that its impossible to move around, they have to use wave starts, and it seems to become quite dangerous with the combination of all the factors. Small events appear to really be about the "event", the love of running and the (possible) charity that it attached to it. There is only one reason that a race continues to grow in size - MONEY. Bigger races get more entry fees, more publicity, and more sponsorship. I dont see where this all benefits the runner, as John "the Penguin" Bingham is so clearly trying to make us believe in the email above :(


Megan Hall said...

And also - it seems to be a self-policing wave thing, so they're just encouraging the first wave or two to be full with overly optimistic folks pushing their way to the front like they're going to set a world record. Wouldn't it be better to encourage people to pick a wave when they sign up or arbitrarily assign people, thus alleviating the "if you want to qualify, choose wave 1" thing?

Runner Girl said...

CDC told me that since I'm injured I can do the 2009 Distance Classic. I'll have to see ya then! Good luck next Sunday!