Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fort Garry Rotary Club Half Marathon Race Report 2012

Congratulation to the first annual Fort Garry Half Marathon planning committee for a job well done. They can stand tall and sleep well tonight in the knowledge that their race is of the highest calibre and has gained the respect of the running community. See Mike Run predicts this event will become a mainstay race and a premiere event within a few short years. It's no secret that the race committee is disappointed with the low turn-out (135 registered runners), but the finish-line buzz was unanimous... this is a race not to miss next year!

It was a glorious day and a spectacular race from start to finish.  I even managed to chop 3 minutes, 49 seconds off my PR for a new best of 1:49:49. Occasionally I manage to shave a few seconds off my PR, but to zap almost 4 minutes is humbling. I give credit to the amazing volunteers whose cheerfulness fuelled me. One volunteer in particular stands out...a young person wearing a bright yellow tee-shirt with equally bright red shoes and black hair against a brilliant blue sky. An angel in red shoes, and such a happy angel...whoever you are... thank you for being at that particular spot at that particular moment!

As good as this race is, and believe me, it is very, very good, there's always room for improvement.  Here's a couple of suggestions to the race committee from my perspective:
  • Reconfigure the course so the start and finish line are the same.  I realize this is not an easy thing to do, but it is possible. Many runners stashed their warm clothes at the start line not realizing the finish line would be at a different location.  It was a cold jog back to the start line.
  • Have a raised platform for the award ceremonies. Handing out medals at street level takes away from the moment.  Even a truck bed would be better than street level.
  • Include a couple of zip-ties to attach the chip to shoes.  Don't cheap out here.  I had to root through my garage to find a couple when it would have been so easy to include them in the race kit. 
  • More on the chip; dress it up a bit.  Stick the Rotary logo on the chip. It would fit perfectly. 
  • There wasn't a blue bin is sight... what's up with that? 
  • Invite hand cycling athletes (aka wheelers) to participate. They always make the race more exciting and it becomes a more inclusive event.
I urge the Rotary Club race committee not to be discouraged with the low numbers. Most races take a few years to attract the attention of the larger race community.  Be patient and believe in yourselves. You have exceed by a large margin the expectation of the 135 participants.  All we need to do now is grow this race to 500 runners.  It's ripe for growth. It will grow. It would be a terrible shame to throw in the towel.  

Truly, and without a word of exaggeration, this is one fine race with tremendous potential.

It is a good day to be alive,

Mike
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