There was an article in the most recent Running Times about the difficulty that runners are now having registering for races on time. Some races have become so popular that directors have capped the entries so as to avoid logistical hassles, which also means eager registrants are sitting with their fingers on the return key waiting for the entry starting date/time/second to commence. Some races of the thousands have filled up in record times lately, and we’re talking minutes. A lot of good runners are being left, well, out of the running. This understandably causes a great deal of frustration and short of running with a charity entry, I really don’t have much to offer you to avoid this hassle.
On the other hand, I’ve been lucky enough to experience another way to get into a race no matter how far past the registration date I am or how quickly the field sold out. They’re called race comps. Granted, I’m not entirely sure how the exact process works, but the guys I run with don’t really pay for races anymore. They simply email race directors and are granted free registrations like they’re unwanted puppies. Personally, I’ve never done this, however I have benefitted from this extra perk of being one of the top local or regional runners.
The first time I even heard about this was talking to a good runner after a race who told me that if I got to know the race directors that they would let me in for free. I thought that was quite ridiculous, but turns out it’s not. Then not too long after crossing the finish line as the winner of the Monumental 1/2 marathon last year, one of the race directors recognized me and told me he would have let me in for free if he knew I was running. I, again, thought that was kinda ridiculous, but gratefully thanked him and told him I didn’t mind paying. I don’t really like hand outs to be honest. I’m running the race so I don’t really see why I should get special treatment. And if there is a good chance I’m getting prize money for placing, then it’s not like I’m taking a loss anyways. Finally, for the first time ever, I was asked ahead of time if I needed to get into the Indy Mini-Marathon this past year, but I had already registered for that as well. This comp thing was sounding kinda cool.
A lot of non-runners, when they hear of my times, tell me I’m really fast. I think I’m not alone as a competitive runner in saying that although the encouragement and praise is appreciated, it doesn’t mean a whole lot coming from a non-runner. I don’t mean to sound harsh, it’s just that as competitive runners we know who our competition is and we know the countless number of runners who could put us into a state of collapse within a mile. We are always comparing ourselves to those better than us. It’s when our peers acknowledge our speed and abilities that we hold those statements close. It’s those sorts of statements that are an honest expression of our talent and ethic specifically because they come from those who know best. This is also why comps are appreciated within the competitive running field, because we don’t really get a lot from our efforts, so this small gesture is not only a money-saver for us, but also a small token of acknowledgement of the efforts we put in on a daily basis to run at the levels we do. Comps aren’t just given out to anyone who asks, so we have to recognize that they are some measure, even a small one, of our standings among others. I try not to take that for granted.
So I’ll admit something here…I haven’t registered for Chicago yet. Don’t worry though, the check is in the mail. See, Chicago has been sold out for quite some time. Chicago was sold out before I even considered running a marathon, but my qualifying time at the Indy 1/2 marathon put me into the Top 100 Program, of which one of the best perks is that we have a late registration deadline. September 1st to be exact. As that date drew near I realized I didn’t want to miss the boat and emailed the guys at Chicago Soy Dairy for registration purposes, and sure enough I was sent an email from the race director to make sure I knew the deadline was approaching. I also found out some of the other guys I run with haven’t sent in their registration either. Now, we aren’t being comped for a race of this magnitude, but having all the way up to September 1st to send in our entries is an awesome privilege on its own. So, no matter how quickly the field sold out, we never had to worry about missing out on all the fun. It’s just one of those perks of running fast.
Finally, I get a call from Little today telling me I need to come to his office and sign some papers for the Columbus 1/2 marathon that goes down on the 30th of this month….just over a week away. Technically he was supposed to have these forms turned in by the 3rd, but he schmoozed the director enough to let us fax them over today and we’d still be a go. I didn’t look them over to much, but they did ask for bios and other general racing information (Little stiffed me about 12 seconds on my 1/2 PR). Regardless, the forms are in and we’ll be racing on the 30th, despite the race being sold out and the deadline having passed nearly a month ago.
So yeah, it’s probably not the most practical or accessible of advice, but if you don’t want to worry about record setting registration fill-ups or quickly slipping deadlines, put in some extra speed work sessions and see if that takes away all those hassles for you.
Easy 10 miles
Breakfast – Oatmeal w/ peanut butter, almonds and raisins, coffee
Lunch – Udon noodles w/ thai peanut sauce and broccoli, cherry tomatoes
Dinner – Bazbeaux pizza!, water
Snacks – Coffee, water, coconut milk, soymilk, banana, apple
Burnt By The Sun – The perfect is the enemy of good