More thoughts on La Salle Bank Chicago

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Here are few more comments on the LSB Chicago Marathon! Thanks for your thoughts and comments!

Wed Oct 10, 2007

More on La Salle Bank Chicago

My comments on the Chaos in Chicago seems to have hit a chord. One thoughtful responder, a person who experienced the race on Sunday suggested that Mr. Pinkowski might want to apologize for the problems on the race course. This runner wrote that Gatorade was not well supplied, as well as a lack of water.

Let me respond this way. In no way was I suggesting that there were not issues on the course. I had heard from many of the one hundred or so runners I met with in the hours after the race, that there was a) terrible heat and humidity on the course, b) not enough water, c) frustration on being told to end their efforts if they had not passed the halfway point at four hours and d) some as far as nineteen or twenty miles at the time were frustratated with not getting an offiicial time. For the most part, the runners I spoke too, chosen at random along Michigan Avenue and upon
my return to the Palmer house wanted a nice race to run, as they had spent much of the last six months training.

I am not making light of their experiences. I ran 18 marathons during my marathon racing time. I do remember a race where I was on 2:40 pace, and due to the heat after sixteen, went from six minute miles to tens. I took a short break, and decided to run my personal worst, grabbing all of the water I could and saving the race for another day. The difference was that I made the decision.

Here was the catch. Most of my early marathons were races involving 150 to 400 marathoners. Tough courses, many very hot days, a couple hotter than LSB, but I chose the outcome and thank God, I did not get sick or fine marathon heaven.

It is a much different situation when a race director has 35,000 or 45,000 people to deal with. That is four times the population of the town I live in, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

When you are dealing with a moving city, with 35,000 or 45,000 people, a race director has much different issues. I think that Cary PInkowski had alot of issues, as as the race director of one of the major races in the entire world, to consider. He is coordinating hospitals, dealing with the Police Department, and every department in the city of Chicago.

Let's take this situation perhaps like the class I hated the most-Geometry. If we take a theorem approach, we start with the givens. Given that a Race Director of a race with 45,000 marathoners has alot to consider. Given that Cary Pinkowski is a human being with real feelings, and real emotions, lets just, for one moment consider that Mr. PInkowski takes his job with some manner of seriousness.

Given that Cary might have been told if he did not close this monumental nightmare down, runners would have overwhelmed the hospitals, given that there was probably some concern about the ability to serve the marathoners as they should be served, then the thoughtful decision, the tough decision would be to close the event down.

I still hold that whatever the water situation, whatever the sports drinks, a race director of a race with more than a city's population has to think of more than how frustrated some marathoners will be about not finishing their race. He or she has to consider how many marathoners will not continue to reside on this planet, or perhaps reside on this planet with a little less action in their craniums.

How about giving up on the cynicism that is a particular disease in modern society?
I will totally support that most marathoners were frustrated not to get a good finishing time, but what Mr. PInkowski did took more guts than most of us possess, and yes, in this day and time, to consider that one will be vilified by at least half of the marathon field, and still make the tough decision, in this day and age, that is the definition of heroic.

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