February races can be hard to find in the north – ice, snow, cold can make it tough to hold a race. But I found one, on Super Bowl Sunday. It was the Super Sunday 5K/5-Miler Present by Sanofi Oncology & Genzyme. The race was organized by the Race Cancer Foundation to raise money to fight cancer.
It’s funny how a single run can leave you with a variety of thoughts about registrations, first races, and race organization. The weather was clear but cold, and just after a blizzard.
Let me start with my thoughts for race organizers. It is nice to have a race to do in February, especially when your goal is to run a race in every month of the year. But if the temperatures are cold and number pick up more than a half an hour before the race, then there needs to be some place warm for the runners to wait for the start of the race. The staging area was outside of the Sanofi Oncology & Genzyme building, but the woman in the lobby was very clear that only employees with badges could wait inside. The rest of us clustered in a nearby parking garage until the fire department kicked us out of there. Surely the race sponsor could have sponsored us by letting us wait in the building, right?
Also, a recurring issue that I have noticed in New England road races is that the courses don’t seem to be fully closed. More than once, this race included, there have been places where cars are driving across the race course – here it was right before the finish line! I know getting roads closed or partially closed can be a problem, but I have run road races in big cities like Chicago, and the courses are completely closed. Also, based on the grumbling of the drivers that I could hear, they did not seem to know ahead of time that there would be a race. It makes sense to notify the neighborhood that a race will be held. That gives people a chance to plan around it and get out ahead of time.
So, race organizers should build heated tents and flyers into their race plans.
After I was finished and heading home, I noticed some people who were still on the course. Let me say this to beginning runners – don’t make a winter race your first race. The cold, snow, and ice, add a level of misery that can detract from how fun races can be. The course is more treacherous, the running harder, and no one really wants to hang around for an after party outside when there is wind chill. If your first race was a winter race and you think 5Ks are a drag, don’t give up. Sign up for one in a warmer month. It will give you and excuse to stick with the New Year’s Resolution that probably led you to the cold race.
Finally, in regards to registration – this one had a team option. I registered for the Donohue’s Bar and Grill team since I like to go there. Then it occurred to me that the team might be racing for a particular time or placement among all the teams. While I was good intentioned and wanted to show my support, I probably should not have done it without checking with the team first. Looking at the times, I don’t think I hurt them at all, but still, in hindsight, I should not have invited myself to their party without asking first.
So, how did the race go? I had a chip time of 26:38 and a gun time of 27:20, both of which were a little faster than my New Year’s Day race. I was 11 out of 28 in my age group. This was good considering my inconsistent running. Having several feet of snow here in Boston will make training for the next one tough, but I plan to find a way. Any advice?