Life Minus the Discount

Life minus the discount.

Minimal races Charity runners Amateurism

What I signed up for so many years ago was to line up and compete in a foot race a simple pursuit to see what you were made of and a marvelous way to find out.

Elemental a line drawn in the dirt at the start and a little chalk and assists from guides on the course to mark the way.

The gun went off or someone simply yelled go and you launched yourself releasing all that pent up nervousness into a perfect calm yet frenetic charge.

Minimal racing will have an ideal field between two and one hundred athletes. Racers will run on basic friendly loop courses no police required no medals no t shirts (unless some enterprising spirit wants to sell righteous shirts to any who want one) no refreshments just one person to start the event and hand out tongue depressor with your place at the finish.

Other than Fresh Pond I am not generally aware of any other races as described but  perhaps there are a few left out there somewhere.

I would love to be able to run a race again without someone asking me “what is it for” or at least so I could say “nothing just racing.”

I recently got into it pretty good with some Boston Marathon charity runners who I generally don’t have a problem with though I think they should qualify as it is important to the integrity of the race.

I think what set me off was some comments about how charity runners embody the race and are integral to it and others crowing about how much more they do than other runners raising all that money and such.

Anyway I said too much all true and they called me names and maybe I deserved it busting in on their “people the BAA just don’t appreciate us” party.

I realize the charity ship has sailed and they have infiltrated road racing like nothing else. I give money to charity runners every year myself. But what do the charities do for running?

Speaking of the BAA Boston Marathon here is just one example of a race that should have been held to replace the usual mass participation one.

Virtual racing is a non starter with me I just ain’t buying it.

A handicapped race where a celebrity runner or two gets a huge head start and some of the worlds best marathoners at different time intervals try to chase em down.

A million dollar prize for the winners (the BAA could use some of the millions they seem to be sitting on.) coverage of the event on the Olympic Channel. Encourage people to watch the event on television to keep the crowds down though they would be less anyway.

Logistically much easier race to put on so not as costly. I would say maybe 25 athletes total.

They could have done this and maintained the history and had different interesting event that would draw a lot of attention. 

Why not, just too many conflicting interest. For me the marathon is being slowly morphed into a big parade. The race is just too big. Qualifying standards should be much faster a field size of eight to ten thousand would be ideal.

It has been pointed out to me just how hard people work just to run the marathon which is really an overrated accomplishment anyway. Running your fastest is what matters.

In the first running boom late 70’s everyone did this my favorite example Tom Grilk current chief executive of the Boston Marathon who was the 100th fastest marathoner in the Greater Boston Track Club at one time, was a lawyer at a high powered Boston law firm and ran 80 miles a week to get his marathon qualifier.

If he didn’t get it that’s just how it goes but he was seeking what was he made of and he found out.

Musicians work really hard at their craft but only a few get to play in the Boston Symphony that is life minus the discount.

The way I see it professional running has never really gotten off the ground because the organizations in control are locked into old models of governance and the athletes have little say, same as it ever was.

There is a local company have done some great promotion of their clothing line and of the idea of amateurism which in its literal meaning I did embrace but still amateurism makes me cringe because in my era athletes fought against it and John Tarrant the “Ghost Runner” personified it:

Seems like the more things change………


“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”