p pol The Adventures of Carboman: Even The Big Names Get It Wrong

Monday, October 08, 2007

Even The Big Names Get It Wrong

The Chicago race this year incidentally witnessed a death of a 35-year old man after the 28K mark Runners who have yet to reach the halfway mark were stopped and ushered into air-cond buses for transportation to the finish area. and about 9,000 of the 45,000 plus registrants did not start the race. Temps of 31C coupled with high humidity did many in.

The Chicago Marathon ended quite disastrously despite the finishing drama for the Mens and Womens categories where it came down to a sprint finish (see my last post). Tragically 1 runner died (collapsed after the 28K mark) in the 31C heat and humidity (over 250 runners were hospitalized) and there were lots of complain about inadequate cups, water and Gatorade (something the organizers should've been prepared for since the weather had been consistently high the whole week). Taking into account nearly 10,000 registrants who didn't even start, one would think there would be sufficient supplies. But the slower runners were forced to crowd around water fountains, and stations which still have whatever little water left. Many had to queue at gas stations and shops, while many spectators lend assistance by providing much needed fluids and ice.

The conditions prompted the race organizers to kick in the contingency plans. Many who didn't reach the halfway mark were asked to board the air-cond sweeper buses and transported to the finish area, even though they were good to finish. They were given medals which were received reluctantly - many chose not to wear them.

Naturally, there were plenty of heated discussions about this in the forums and
here's just one of them. To read more go to the Chicago Marathon 2007 Forum. Which is a shame as Chicago is one of the Big 5 in the Marathon Majors. There was even a feature on this unfortunate drama in the Mandarin news just now. Having said that, this incident shouldn't be used by local race organizers to justify their sub-standard preparations. I strongly feel that runners should be prepared the best they can, in training and for the weather. In today's world, where commercialism is the order of the day, major marathons sometimes over-market their event to the point that complete beginners or newcomers to the sport may be misled to think that running a marathon is an easy task. Hardly so. I can only hope that the recent focus on deaths (including Alberto Salazar's recent heart attack) are not construed to be risks associated with running, and that underlying factors be taken into consideration before arriving at the conclusion.

Back to the race:
If you think only the men had all the action, you're wrong. The women too were at it with the champion
Berhane Adere of Ethiopia storming past a celebrating Adriana Pirtea of Romania in the final meters of to win by three seconds in a time of 2:33:59. Adere apparently "changed into track racing" in the final meters to nip a disappointed Pirtea. Who wouldn't be disappointed? I'd be banging my head to have lost the race as a result of carelessness of failing to check your six.



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