Monday, October 13, 2008

Did Chicago Marathon Redeem Itself?

Last year I posted how race direct of the Chicago Marathon, Carey Pinkowski, totally blew his role as an RD at the Chicago Marathon.

We all know the disaster which unfolded due to an unusaully hot and humid day. They ran out of water, and called the race off at the 4 hour mark.

I read many articles this morning on the marathon, and they all stated how much better prepared the race was.

I am not sure I buy this. Here is why

Last year
Temp - Over 90
Dew point - over 70
Racers at the start - 34,000 and change

This year
Temp - 80
Dew point - 60
Racers at the start - 33,033

They added 5 aid stations and upped the Gatorade volume by 100,000 gallons. They also had more "misters" and the fire department opened hydrandts along the way. Also, the race director encouraged people not to show up to run because of the predicted warm temperatures. Hmmmmmmm, maybe you should not accept 45,000 entrants! Yes, they accepted 45,000 entrants, up from 40,000.

Bottom line - we are talking apples and oranges. I wish meteorologist would stop talking about % humidity, and start acknowledging the critical nature of dewpoint. This was the big deciding factor this year, a MUCH lower dew point.

I am not sure that these races have realized the core problem Chicago saw last year. That problem is inexperience in dangerous conditions. Too many people confuse "tough" with "stupid", and end up with deadly core body temperatures.

I know this first hand from my DNF at Kettle this year. It was the only time during a race I actually panicked. Who knows what would have happened if I pushed on. I knew my day was over regardless. I learned this from experience, I guess.

A 3 hour marathoner in extreme conditions runs an entirely different race than a 5 hour runner. Just the added 2 hours of exposure is a major factor. I don't think people understand this.

I wonder what would have happened if:
All 45k showed up at Chicago and,
It was 10 degrees warmer.

They would have most definitely cancelled the race.

I am curious if anybody knows anyone who ran it yesterday, and how they feel it was managed.

I know our own "DR." Bill Parker pulled off a 4:25. Not sure if he was happy or sad about it. We will find out.

Did not run yesterday because I stepped on a small lego R2D2 full force. It hurt real bad and I nearly threw all of the Legos in the trash. I have a small bruise on my heel.

Damn Legos. Or, darn kids who don't pick up their toys!


Stephen said...

I have several friends that ran. It was still a tough day for a marathon in Chicago, but loads better than last year. I read comments about the first couple aid stations being mobbed and several iPod wearers tripping people. I like the RD "encouraging" people not to come. Nice trick, get people to pay to register and then encourage them not to come so your resources don't get overwhelmed. I'm thinking that 30k+ is too many people for a race. I have enjoyed smaller races more than bigger crowd-fests.

Londell said...

Do not be so hard on the kids... I am sure you did the same to you dad but Lincoln Logs... Looks at the bright side, it is just a bruise. My son left his shoes at the bottom of the stairs and I was walking down with the laundry and I broke my foot... It took 5 months to run again. To this day I still do not blame him as he is a kid... but he will never leae his shoes there again.

Andrew said...

Had to laugh, I'm always threatening to toss the whole lot - then my wife went and dropped literally hundreds of dollars on a bunch of new ones at the MOA.

Ultrathoner said...

You are completely correct about Chicago. Also about Legos and other toys. I've been sidelined too many times after stepping on somthing in the middle of the night.