Saturday, May 12, 2012

Winnipeg Police Half Marathon 2012, Race Report

Two weeks ago I ran a 10 k race and my bib number was 1509... September 15, my birthdate. On Sunday I ran the Cops and my bib number was 55... my age. Coincidence? I haven't received my bib number for Fargo but I'll be looking for some significance, maybe 1-9-5-6... that would be spooky! A friend suggested I combine the numbers and buy a lottery ticket (or not).  

It was a superb day for a race.. cool but not cold, drizzly but not rainy, breezy but not windy. A perfect storm for a PB, a tri-wonderful arrangement of elements that pushed everyone over the line with the smiliest of smiles.   And three, count 'em... 3...  three Hercules fly-bys. Yup for sure it was a good day to be alive and running free. I managed to shave 57 seconds off my previous personal best and that feels good... good on the bones, good on the heart and really, really good on the spirit.  Go here for race results. 

Unequivocally,  the Cops Race is the premiere half-marathon in Manitoba. No other local race comes close to competing with this race. The organization, the volunteers, the cause, the fly-by are all superbly executed. I commend the race committee for once again pulling out all the stops in making this, The Cop's Run 2012, the most anticipated race in Manitoba and beyond.  Aside from being cut off at mile 12.75 by an eager teenager hugging his cheery mom (how could I possibly get upset with a teenager reaching out to hug ma?)  the entire race was wonderful.  

Race Director, Nick Paulet is looking for feedback to improve the race.  Here's my two cents.

Ban headphones on the course for two reasons, 1) safety and 2) Joie de vivre.  

Safety:  When I pass runners I give the customary "pass left" or "pass down the middle" chime.  This is proper runners' etiquette world wide. Runners who hear the warning step a little to the side making the pass easy and safe. Without  breaking stride they know where I am and where I will be in two seconds. I pass with a cheerful smile and a positive comment on their form or the beauty of the moment.  I have connected with a fellow runner, we have shared a positive moment and in doing so we have supported one another.  All is good.

Tuned out runners do not hear the warning.  Often I can't  tell if they have plugs in their ears until I am in the actual motion of passing. I give warning of my intention but they don't budge forcing me to divert suddenly. People behind me are then forced to alter their stride suddenly.  I lose momentum and I look for an alternate way to pass. Sometimes I tap tuned out runners on the shoulder to indicate I'm passing but that causes them to startle and veer sharp. Runners need to in touch with their surroundings during a race.  The headphones cause them to tune out and focus only on themselves.  This is potentially dangerous and for this reason, headphones should be banned on the course.

Joie de vivre:  The joy of living is why we run.  It is the holy grail of life.  We search for it and we covet it when it's there because we know it is elusive.  It is being there in the moment with your fellow runners, living and breathing the same air, sharing comments as we waddle along the course... this is what is important in life.  It is the connections we make, the smiles we share, and the positivity of the runners that move us forward with grace and such happiness.  All about me people are smiling and sharing the golden moment ...except for the tuned out.  They look serious and annoyed.  During a race I listen for the cheers from the side of the road.  It lightens the load and makes me swell with pride. To intentionally tune out all the positivity of the day makes me shake my head in disbelief. 

Now don't get me wrong, I like music too.  I frequently wear headphones (see picture top right sidebar) but never during a race.

So Nick, if you're reading this, these are my two cents.

It's a beautiful day to be alive, right?


Congratulations to David R. who seems to be rebounding nicely if today's Physio Run is any indication.