Walkers/Strollers/Chips Posted on March 15, 2011 at 01:58:35 PM by MB
I agree with Jake that 11,000+ participants is a little over-the-top for an open start. Several "solutions" come to mind:
- Cap the field at 5,000-8,000. Of course, this means folks would come out and bandit or "jump" on course during the event - much like what happens at the Crescent City Classic.
- Wave starts by groups of 1,000, with two-minute intervals between waves. Doesn't solve the "crowd" issue, though.
My recommendation would be a segregated corral start (based on previous or recorded 5K time). This could provide an enjoyable race experience for "speed" participants, "prediction" participants and the folks who are there for the party with a 5K prelude.
1st Corral/28:00 or faster (<9:00/mi) - Gun
2nd Corral/28:01-31:00 (9-10:00/mi) - Gun+30sec (almost all of the top speed finishers would have been within the first two corrals this year)
3rd Corral/31:01-34:05 (10:01-11:00/mi) - Gun+1min
4th Corral/34:06-37:20 - (11:01-12:00/mi) Gun+1min30sec
5th Corral/37:21-40:25 (12:01-13:00/mi) - Gun+2min (average finishing time this year)
6th Corral/40:26-43:30 (13:01-14:00/mi) - Gun+2min30sec
7th Corral/43:31+/no qualifying time/day-of-race registrants - Gun+3min
Yes, there are going to be unhappy campers. But something like this could provide the 80-percent solution to the "fartleking & swerving around slower runners/walkers/strollers" "problem," as well as the "almost got knocked over by a guy roaring up from behind" "problem."
Of course, this isn't a PRA event, and McGuire's will probably do what it feels is best for the overall experience...which means the pre/post-race festivities are going to be the main focus. And that's their choice.
There's nothing like roaring down Bayfront on a sunny Saturday morning, and the last yards down Gregory leading to the finish chute is something you don't get except at very big races. But when a runner is forced to choose between those experiences and the "problems" I mentioned earlier I can sympathize with Jake's decision.
Naturally, these are my humble and semi-unenlightened opinions...and I'm certain someone will take me to task.