I consider myself a sloppy blogger, so I see it fair to comment on sloppy journalism.
I read this article in the Star Tribune about how Grandma's Marathon has not reached capacity yet.
I laughed and did the old "yell at nobody" in the room. Well, my wife was close enough, so she listened to my rant and rave.
The article states that Grandma's (which has a history of filling the field in 1 week), has still not filled to capacity. 10 Weeks until race day. There was a time when the Dead Runners would post to their group "you need to send your registration request by today, to receive a Grandma's registration form". And, people would send them in THE SAME DAY the received it in the mail. I even knew one guy who would Fed Ex it. Grandma's was a last hold out from internet registration.
The author states "without a doubt" the economy is a factor. But, of course, gives nothing to back this up other than the fee being up at $85, and the hotels "increasing their rates for the weekend". I don't know what it was last year, but I recall it being at least $80 3 years agao.
I knew this would more than likely happen after I heard there would be 2 new marathons this spring in the Twin Cities (Stillwater, and Msps), plus a 3rd in LaCrosse.
It's common knowledge that the hotels in Duluth raise their prices as much as they can to cash in on this event. BUT, they still fill up, so obviously somebody is willing to pay for them. Many posters to this articles are taking it out on the hotels, but the reality is, there are a lot of options to those hotels. I ended up camping 2 years and paying $20-$40 for the weekend.
The reality is, 3 new spring marathons ABSOLUTELY create serious competition for Grandma's. Plus, Fargo Marathon is only a few years old, and the Lake Wobegon? marathon is only a few years old (if not, only a year old).
This article is a great example of why newspaper subscriptions are down. The "let's come to a conclusion without doing any research" is epidemic in the industry. The fact that the new marathons were not even mentioned is pretty amazing, and incredibly sad for the Star Tribune. Maybe this should have been printed on the op ed page.
What makes this more comical are the comments. One poster blames Democrats, then the next blames Republicans. Ohhhhhh Pleeeeeeease!
I will agree that the economy has made an impact on marathons, but in a general sense. If one looks at the big picture, all the marathons in the U.S., and factors in their increase in fees, I am guessing registrations will be less this year than last. If any races lose runners, they will most likely be the huge ones (I am speculating, not stating a fact). Chicago accepts 45,000 registrants at $125. Yes, that is up from 40,000 the year they failed to have adequate water and turned it into a "fun run".
Chicago has not filled up...... the economy must be tanking.
I bet if one added up all of the registrants from the Stillwater Marathon, the Minneapolis Marathon, and Grandma's marathon, it would be a net gain compared to just Grandma's last year.
On a brighter note, Chippewa 50k is still taking runners. Now that it is race week, the fee is $55 (that's $1.77 per mile- compared to $4.77 per mile at Chicago). And, you don't have to pay $20 at the McCormick Convention Center Parking to pick up your packet.
Looks like the weather might be a bit warm.