Let the madness begin. I'm officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon. (Help me, God.) I almost didn't sign up, though.
I almost registered for the Richmond Marathon instead: far fewer people (6,500 compared to the MCM's 30,000), cheaper ($65 vs. $94), and the race is held on my old stomping grounds, where I worked as a metro reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch for three years.
But Jeanne signed up today. So did David. Anyone else care to join us?! Plus, it's in my beautiful town, with all the monuments. And let's not forget all of those hunky Marines.
Dollar $igns: While I'm looking forward to the race, I winced when I paid the $88 registration fee, plus $6+ for online processing. But at least I didn't buy the $29.90 MCM basic training DVD, the $38 MCM ChampionChip, the $32 Brooks "In Training" T-shirt, or the $24 cap.
Mom's Day Race Wrap-up: I finally saw the results of last Sunday's Mother's Day 10K, in which a bunch of my novice runners ran (and I helped to keep score). One of my students not only won first in her age group (50-59), she ran it in 56:29! That's a 9:05/mile average pace.
By the way, the top five finishers were all Ethiopian. You know it's going to be a fast race when a gaggle of matchstick-thin, intense and dusky men line up front.
The first-place finisher ran a smokin' 30:15 (4:52/avg mile), and the second and third-place finishers were right behind him, at 30:28 and 30:33, respectively.
And now that I've actually scored finishing times, here are a few tips for runners in other non-chip timed races:
1) Wear your bib on the front of your shirt. Not the back. And not on the leg of your shorts, like some elites do. That's pretentious. Race scorers must punch in your bib number in the race timer as you come towards the finish line, then hit "enter" as you cross the line. And if they can't see your bib number, it's less likely you'll be counted or get an accurate finishing time.
2) Don't be a bandit. If you didn't register for the race, don't run it. A race time scorer could accidentally punch in your time, which screws up the finishing places of all the other runners behind you. Several bandits ran the race, and we had to hustle to delete their times before other runners came in.
3) Take the race seriously. Almost two hours after the start of the 10K, me and another time keeper were still standing in front of the race clock, waiting for the last stragglers to come in. It was just us and a few very bored cops.
We missed the awards ceremony, mingling and visiting with the runners, and even the auction and raffle at the end. While the police manning the race were all paid, all of us race officials were volunteers.
Finally, the last of the walkers came in, averaging almost 20 minutes a mile. The race director mused that we could have timed them by sun dial. And then one of the walkers didn't want us to time her because she said she was going too slow and got mad when we said we had to.
If you're going as fast as you can and you're logging 20 minutes a mile, that's fine. I respect the hard effort. I'll clap and cheer you on.
But if you're just strolling and chatting and even stopping to talk to people on the sidewalk and pet their dogs - as these people were doing - then that's when I get frustrated. If you want to take a nice, little Sunday stroll, do everyone a favor and don't sign up for a 10K.