WTF Wednesday, how much would you pay to race?


The Dopey Challenge includes a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and a full marathon.  The cost to run the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World this year was $560.

how much

Five hundred and sixty dollars.  I kid you not.  I guess you could look at it this way, it does include 4 races and typically you would probably pay close to that to run four races, or not.  I think I’ve paid 30-40 dollars for 5K’s, maybe 45-50 for a few 10K’s, around 100 for half marathons and upwards of 150 for full marathons.  Based on my experience I could run those four types of races for around $340 tops or at least that’s what I myself would pay.  Of course they would not be in Disney and I would not get the special medal for finishing all four races in four days.

But let’s also keep in mind that park entrance is NOT included in that $560.

what the hell

That’s what I said!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing run Disney and I know there are a lot of people who love to run their races and absolutely obsess over anything Disney.  I am not one of those people.  However, it brings up an interesting point.  How much is too much to pay for a race and more importantly, why do you pay to race?

I saw this article in the Orlando Sentinel recently.

are races worth the money

I have to be honest, I’ve spent a couple thousand dollars in a single year for races but you have to wonder when it becomes too much.  I ran a lot of races back in 2013 and I ended up with pesky injuries that wouldn’t go away and so I slowed down on the racing and now I choose quality over quantity.  If I can’t be in it 100%, (physically, mentally, and more), it doesn’t matter how much it cost, it isn’t worth it.  My younger self would never have felt that way but I’ve sort of grown into that as I’ve gotten older.

I look at many factors before deciding if I race now.  I want to run a race that is fun and a course that is challenging but not ridiculous.  I look at the cost vs what I get in return, (tech shirts, medal, food, etc.) and I look at reviews about the race before making a decision.

One of the most important things you can do is to research a race you’ve never run by looking up reviews from runners who’ve run it in the past. You’ll be able to find out things about the course, the race directors, the after parties, and a whole host of other information.  Race reviews are invaluable.

runner review

I also look at the location.  If a race is within a short distance from my house in Clearwater or Nokomis, I’m in.  I will also travel to a race in Tennessee, Ohio, or even Virginia since I have family there, but it would have to meet all of my qualifications just as the local races do.

In the article in the Orlando Sentinel they mention how races help runners hold themselves accountable since they’ve told everyone their running and it helps some people stick with training.  That wouldn’t really work for me since I’m already a perfectionist.  I don’t really need a race to hold me accountable but if it works for them, then I say go for it.

But no matter what you promised me, I would never pay 560 dollars to run a race.  That’s a car payment or a mortgage for Christ sake!  I love running and also racing but I don’t feel the need to shell out tons of money to love it even more.

WTF, it’s Wednesday, how much would you pay for a race and why?

Tuesday tangents and such

There’s a palm tree very close to my house that has been damaged due to the storms this year.  There are two large holes, one in each side of the tree, and on one side a family of red bellied woodpeckers were living and on the other side, (much to my delight), a family of northern flickers.  There were so many baby birds.

Woody

“You mean there’s more like me?”

I was so happy to see them but especially the flickers because obviously I’m very fond of the flickers.  Yesterday I went down to the palm tree with the dogs to see the baby birds.  They were all gone.  So I sent MacGyver down with a ladder to assess the situation.

The news was so sad.  All the babies were gone.  MacGyver said they were most likely eaten by the starlings that were circling overhead.

sad

In case you haven’t heard, no one finished the Barkley Marathons this year.  I watched a report on the race mostly because I love Gary Cantrell and you just never know what he’ll say.  He never disappoints.  This year he gave the interview in his geezer hat.  If you don’t know much about Gary Cantrell or Lazarus Lake as he’s also known, here’s a great article about the man and the challenging races he organizes.

And here’s the report about the Barkley Marathon’s this year.

For those of you who have asked about little Hank, he wanted me to let you know that he’s feeling 99% better. He and MacGyver has also started a club since the vet recommend we neuter him.  It’s called the ‘save Hank’s nuts club’ if you’re interested in joining.

Hank

‘Join the club and help save my nuts!’

Remember when I told y’all that I had trigger thumb?  Well I went to the doctor about it and he said it was beyond a steroid injection and that I most likely needed surgery.  I didn’t schedule a follow up yet because as long as I don’t bend it, it doesn’t hurt.

Until today.

Trigger thumb

After my eight mile run this morning I was ripping off my sweaty clothes to jump in the shower and my thumb got caught in my sports bra.  It bent, rather forcibly and I heard a tearing sound.  Now it’s swollen and hurts like a mother so I guess I’ll need to schedule that follow up appointment.

And that’s all of my tangents for the day.  Of course it’s only 10:45AM so more could be coming.

What do you got?  Tell me anything.

Are we sacrificing Safety for Medals?

Last weekend there was a race here in our area called the Weeki Wachee Springs Mermaid Race.  They actually had three races, a 1mile, a 5K, and a half marathon, I believe.  This was the inaugural race for the company organizing the event but I had heard a lot about it through many of the runners that I know and it sounded like a cute event.

Mermaid Race

But then Hurricane Irma happened and I wondered if they still planned on hosting the event because last year when we were expecting a bad storm at the time of the Clearwater distance classic, they cancelled it, and that was just a storm.

I didn’t hear anything else about the race so I assumed they cancelled it and then a few days later I started to hear from people who had indeed ran it.  It hadn’t been cancelled but it had been a disaster.  I assumed that the complaints were due to the fact that it was a new race and the organizers were unprepared for all of the entrants and with the hurricane they probably had a lot of support that didn’t show up, and that’s the excuse they used, but that’s not the full story.

What disturbed me the most was hearing that the runners had to run across one of the most dangerous roads in the area at crosswalks across 8 lanes of traffic!  This was not a closed course at all.  If you aren’t familiar with our roadways, that stretch of highway, US19, is part of the same stretch that was included in the Dateline NBC Study which named it the most deadliest road in America, because of the number of pedestrian related deaths, making it the worst road to walk on, bar none.

When the kid was younger, if he ever took the bus to school, he was never allowed to walk anywhere near US19, ever. Period.  It was a rule he was familiar with he would use it to his advantage by getting off the bus way before it ever arrived at US19 and calling me to pick him up, at the mall or somewhere else he wanted to go, but I digress, the point is US19 is not a road to walk, or run on, unless it’s closed.

I wasn’t surprised that the people who ran that race were pissed and I was thinking to myself there’s going to be some backlash over this.  There was.  Runners World actually caught wind of it and published this article.

Funny running sign

Here are my thoughts and keep in mind, I didn’t run this race but I have run many inaugural races and a lot of them have had some issues with not enough food at the finish or not enough volunteers on the course and so on.  Fortunately the race directors have always been more than willing to listen to the criticism and try to improve the race for the next year and in most cases they made it even better in the following years.

However, in the case of this race it seems to me that the race directors completely disregarded the safety of the runners.  To allow runners to run along a major highway like US19 without support from the sheriff’s department is insane.  In my mind, they’re just lucky that no one was injured and I’m serious about that.  To have no water along a course, especially a half marathon, or to provide water and no cups is unconscionable.  You sold out a race so you are fully aware of the amount of runners that you have, there is no reason for you not to have an ample amount of cups.  This is Florida and it’s humid and hot and when you are running in those conditions you are sweating and you need to hydrate.  Water should always be provided during a race.

I am also concerned about the rumors of the lack of any medical support.  If that was the case, that is unacceptable.  In at least 10 of the half marathons that I’ve run I’ve seen someone carted off in an ambulance.  Granted, I’ve run races where no one was injured but preparation is key and any good race director knows that.  And as if all of the support wasn’t bad enough, the timing wasn’t correct for most of the course so a lot of people had no idea what their finish times were.

But the reason I felt so compelled to write this, the reason that I got so mad when I heard about it and when I read about the experience that some of the runners had was that I wondered if it isn’t because of our quest for the bling that determines why we run a race.  Have we become so enamored by the medals that the allure of them determines whether or not we run a race?  Whether or not we run a challenge and take on all three distances?  Do some race directors put on races focusing on the medal rather than the safety of the runners as a priority?  Was this the case with the mermaid race?

I’ve read a lot of reviews where people talked a lot about the online course support and the after party and medals but not the actual course and maybe I’m old school but that’s one of the first things I look at.   I want to know about the elevation, the exposure, the terrain, whether it’s an out and back or if we’ll be taking buses and most importantly, is it a closed course.  I study the course, and sometimes I go run it beforehand.  If I would have read that this race was to be run alongside US19 and even across it, I would have never run it and I’m really surprised that it was sold out.  I mean, granted, I love me some mermaids and I love Weeki Wachee but I would have never run any of the three races based solely on the course.   I just wonder how many people actually ran it and didn’t know about the course or maybe they were from out of the area and weren’t familiar with US19 or how many people ran because they really, really wanted the medals?

Have you ever ran a race because you just really wanted the medal?  Be honest, there’s no judgement here.