They made my race and ‘event’

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  randys 13 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #1360

    randys
    Member

    The course map for the Long Island marathon has just been published. They redesigned the course this year. In the process they turned one of the fastest courses into an ‘event’.

    Let me describe the near perfect course (I ran it the last 2 years in a row):

    It begins in a large park in Nassau County. The race begins by heading South (no turns) for 6 miles, then a quick left turn and several hundred feet to the ‘Wantagh Parkway’. Most of the balance of the race is on this parkway.

    The parkway is closed to traffic in both directions. Its 6 lanes (3 in each direction), divided highway, with grass shoulders (if you prefer that surface for running), and woods beyond the shoulders (if you need a pit-stop). The roadway is almost perfectly flat, and dead-straight. You run north 7 miles (about 5 miles is the turn-off for the 1/2 marathoners), go around a clover-leaf, and head south on the opposite side of the parkway. You go South 7 miles, another turn back north, to the orginal cutoff of the 1/2 marathoners, and the final couple of miles to the finish (in the park where we started).

    Not only does this venue make the aid stations easier to set up (since they can be on the medium and serve runners in both directions), but you get to see the faster runners on your way north as they head south and again when they turn for the final leg north.

    You run flat, almost arrow straight roads, that are wide open, almost the entire race. To my mind the PERFECT course. Including the turn arounds you only make 4-5 turns, the entire race is straight and level. Lots of room on the 6 lane highway to get around walkers or slower runners.

    So what did the organizers do? They decided to turn it into a site-seeing tour of Nassau county. Now we begin in the same park but the first 13 miles are run through twisting, turning, streets of Nassau. Now we get to pass near or even though several ‘interesting’ areas.

    Among the sites are the ‘Cradle of aviation museum, a college campus, several hotels, and best of all we get to actually run into the stadium where the ‘good will games’ track events took place, and even run half way around the track at about mile 7!

    Mind you thousands of runners will need to get through the narrow entrance to the track, and out on the opposite side. Not to mention the many twists and turns we need to make to take this ‘tour’ of Nassau county.

    Luckily, at the half the full marathoners continue onto the Wantagh Parkway, which will still be closed to traffic in both directions (so they did’nt redesign the race for traffic reasons) and we run most of the second half as I decribed earlier.

    They did this because people said the old race was ‘boring’. Why would anyone care what sites they see when racing. Save the site-seeing for a training run. I was hoping to run my best race on this course. It was a near perfect course for setting a PR.

    They even started the full marathon an hour earlier than the 1/2 marathon, but not this year. That was a big plus because only about 400-500 people run the full but about 5000 run/walk the half. Starting us together means the crowds, especially during the ‘site-seeing’ portion of the race are going to be severe.

    I HATE THIS!

    Its not like they lacked participants, an overall field for the 1/2 and full of close to 6000 is not a bad size race. Do they think by changing the venue they can attract more runners? It doesn’t make sense. Do people in a race really care about the ‘sites’?

    Maybe I’m over-reacting because I was ‘comfortable’ with the old course. Perhaps it won’t, in the end, make any difference.

    Right now I see it making a difference. Starting in a crowd, 10 times larger because of the 1/2 marathoners starting at the same time (many who are walkers, lined up wrong, and finishing the 1/2 in 6 hours), navigating through narrow back streets and even into (and out of) a stadium, and looping left and right, over and over again, before finally Heading for the parkway. How can this be an ‘improvement’?

    Randy

  • #14003

    cameron
    Member

    i think many marathons are looking to attract the folks who are in it for the experience rather than the competitive (time focused) runners. 🙄

    there seem to be exceptions…berlin & london come to mind as places that tinker with courses to assist with fast times.

  • #14004

    Zeke
    Member

    I HATE THIS!

    Randy,

    That’s not the mental attitude you want to take into a marathon. Try to find the good in this switch. Maybe having some half marathoners to pace with will help you.

    Mind you thousands of runners will need to get through the narrow entrance to the track, and out on the opposite side. Not to mention the many twists and turns we need to make to take this ‘tour’ of Nassau county.

    By 7 miles I don’t think you’ll have any problem getting through the entrance to the track, even with the half marathoners in the field. As for twists and turns, isn’t Chicago the same way? Yet it’s probably the fastest course in the U.S.

    While you may not be interested in the scenery around you, someone must be since the race directors got that feedback. And while you might not really care how many people enter the race, the race directors do. I wouldn’t think they’d be able to keep closing 6 lanes of traffic for 600 runners.

    Maybe I’m over-reacting because I was ‘comfortable’ with the old course. Perhaps it won’t, in the end, make any difference.

    Just try to relax and make the best of it. You put too much time in training for this to let something that you can’t control bother you. It’s still 26.2 miles and it’s still the same day and it’s still flat. In the end, sub-3:30 is still sub-3:30. The only difference is you won’t be able to compare your time from the last 2 years to the exact same course.

  • #14005

    randys
    Member

    Zeke,

    Thats was one of my points. They STILL are closing the 6 lanes of the parkway. After the 1/2 marathon split, at mile 12, the full marathoners head to the parkway and almost the same course as in prior years.

    This race goes back many years and has been pretty steady in terms of field size. I doubt this change will make much difference.

    On the other hand I know this change isn’t the end of the world. It will have little, maybe no, effect on my finish time. I just question the need to make thechange. It doesn’t seem like it ‘improves’ the race.

    Randy

  • #14006

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    RandyS wrote:
    They did this because people said the old race was ‘boring’. Why would anyone care what sites they see when racing. Save the site-seeing for a training run. I was hoping to run my best race on this course. It was a near perfect course for setting a PR.

    Keep thinking positive. Do you really think this is going to slow it down that much?

    RandyS wrote:
    Do they think by changing the venue they can attract more runners?

    Yes. Most people who run marathons these days are more interested in the “event” than in the race. I’m sure they think they can attract more participants and I would hazard a guess that they probably will.

    RandyS wrote:
    It doesn’t make sense. Do people in a race really care about the ‘sites’?

    To repeat myself, most people who do marathons these days do care about the scenery because it’s an event, not a race, to them.

    RandyS wrote:
    Maybe I’m over-reacting because I was ‘comfortable’ with the old course. Perhaps it won’t, in the end, make any difference.

    I would hazard a guess that you are overreacting. As Zeke pointed out, the stadium issue is probably a non-issue since crowds will be thinned by that point in a race. I ran a 5k that went through Miller Park and, even at around 5:00/mile pace, the turns into and out of the stadium weren’t too bad. The worst part was that it was a very bright, sunny day and it was hard to see in the dark corridors of the stadium because your eyes couldn’t adjust in time. Take some time to relax and calm down, then look at the course map again. You’re probably just nervous about any changes right now because you viewed the old course as perfect. Look for advantages to this course, not just the disadvantages. If it’s a windy day, will this result in more protection from the wind? Maybe if you run the tangents of the course well, you can shorten up the distance you run a bit. Maybe with the half marathoners around, you will have more people to run with and help maintain a proper pace early on.

  • #14007

    randys
    Member

    I admit that I over-reacted to what I saw as an unneeded change. And Ryan has a good point; if the day turns out windy I will be glad to be making frequent turns.

    Anyway I’m over it and moving on. Maybe, after racing the new course, I will come to like it more than the original.

    Randy

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