Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why I Put Up With the Crowds

Last Friday, I espoused my feelings about large crowds at large races. There is something about small neighborhood races that is nice. Pull into a parking spot next to the start line, pick up a race bib and goody bag, tighten up the shoes, and take off. Run for a hour or two, get your medal, water, banana, bagel, and then walk back to the car and be out of there. Indeed, I put a lot of value on the convenience of those small races. They certainly appeal to the lazy streak in me.

Large crowds and large races, on the other hand are filled with hassle. No race day bib pick up. It's show up the day before and fight the hordes of people:

Then there's race day. No showing up 15 minutes before the start. Parking shuttles. Bag drop lines. And what always seems like the minimum 20 minute line to use some smelly blue monster with barely enough room to turn around in:

Once your all done with that, it's the mass of humanity trampling plants, medians, and other people to squeeze into a start wave. The jockeying for position at the start line. The impatience of listening to starting waves being let loose while you get to stand around wondering if you'll make it to the next porta potty:

Then the start. Bobbing and weaving through the mass of bodies in front of you, only to make it to the front of your wave and run smack into the back of all those people who should have been in the start wave behind yours. More bobbing and weaving:

Six miles. Seven miles. Won't the people ever thin out? What the heck! That's right! Stop right in front of me and start walking jerk! Finally, the finish. Get out of my way people! PR coming through! Don't zig left slowpoke! Zag right!

What? Where's the food? Porta potty lines still? What? Where did all these people come from?

Okay. Now that I sound like a Nattering Nabob of Negativism (how's that for a Spiro T reference?), let me tell you why I do these mega-races.

It's for the pasta dinners the night before:

It's the joy of seeing people having a great time on a beautiful day:

It's for rekindling old friendships:

And for forging new ones:

Yes. I really do enjoy these social events!

Oh - my nose is also back to the grindstone. I rowed 7.6 kilometers Monday evening, and with a cold heavy rain beating down last night, I put in another 7.7 kilometers on the erg last night. Today is bright and sunny, so I'll be out for 10 miles this afteroon. Back Bay here I come!

P.S. - I'm sorry if I missed you on Sunday. I had an eye peeled for a bunch of people that I missed. To my blog budddies: Slomohusky, Rookie on the Run, Chicrunner, L.A. Runner, Discovering the Meaning of Stonhenge, Runner's Rambles, Love2Mags. To my fellow Tweeps: @ChrisSchauble, @LJ3000, @cowhaternation, @chrisin140, and all the others I'm leaving out - hope to catch you soon at a race up or down the Left Coast.


  1. i am sorry i missed you too!! there were A LOT of people out there. congrats on a great race too :)

  2. Awesome post Glenn... I definitely have those moments of wondering WTH I run these HUGE races... You're right; it's all about the peeps

  3. Viv la difference On the whole I prefer the local smaller races for convienance but I have also run London and that was more memorable

    great photos

  4. Nice post Glenn. It was a near perfect race. Big but not as big as the Rock Roll ones or Disney. Almost the perfect size. Still today I want to run it all over again.

  5. Congrats on the PR at Surf City! Reading this post made me miss my early years of running 10Ks when everything was so easy. I especially love waking up an hour before the start of a 10K instead of 3 or 4 hours before the start of a half or marathon, depending on the crowd.

  6. love it. I ask myself the same questions when I show up for a big race. But there is something really cool about running a big race too. Loved the pics. Thanks for sharing

  7. Hi Glenn,
    I am still a new runner with stars in my eyes...the thrill of a huge race excites me:) I know that eventually one day I will feel the same way as you. Great pictures!! I love your, "PR coming through!" Okay, I have to tell you that I am so jealous of that California tan you have going on!!! You look good Glenn!! Nice medal too:)

  8. There is something to be said about those smaller races, but it seems some of those are getting bigger, too!

    That all being said, some of those bigger races are like one big party! :)

    Great post, Glenn!

  9. This is why I chose NODM for my marathon. I was so ANNOYED with all the people at the end of the Seattle Half. LOL! This made me crack up!

  10. The great thing about big races like that is that you have all sorts of excuses to throw elbows everyone's direction! And don't even get me started on the joys of spitting on people!

  11. there are definitely ups and downs to big and small races, but the "+'s" usually make it worth the while to deal with the "-'s". i gotta admit i like smaller ones too... i much prefer to be 'lazy' too :)

  12. I'm sorry I missed you too! I will be cheering at LA so I will keep my eyes peeled for you! I hopefully will have a large obnoxious poster too!!

  13. Big races are fun to do. There is so much buzz and energy. Good stuff!

  14. I love this post of yours, Glenn. You have such a great sense of humor. I love the small races too for being able to get in and get out without anyone getting hurt. Most races around here are not so big as to have to deal with shuttle buses, except for, you know, the Big Race that always happens on Patriot's Day. :-)

    You're very lucky that so many of the running bloggers you read live in the same geographical part of the country!