I'm supposed to be running right now, but I have to hold off my long run with 6 fast miles because - get this - there's a 10K race being held where I want to run. So why didn't I just sign up for the race? Here's why:
It's $32, which is about a dollar per minute, making a $10 movie (or even a $1000 hooker) sound cheap. There's 600 runners between the 5K and 10K races and that means the competition is spotty; last year, the winner took 36 minutes and the first my age took 40. The year before, the wiiner took 33 and the first master (Arley Anderson, who's pretty good) 38. [The weather was worse last year.] I'm currently in shape to finish second master, just out of the trophies, not that I need to add to the two boxes full of trophies I have already from races no one cares about.
But even if I won, who would give a crap? Can you name who won it last year? Have you ever even heard of the Running Opener 10K (which used to be 8 miles and held in Minneapolis)? And even if I ran some unbelievably spectacular time, say 31 minutes [as if!], it wouldn't matter, because the race isn't certified for records.
A friend of mine set a state age-class record last year, but it wasn't ratified because it wasn't at "a sanctioned meet." He broke the current record again, at a sanctioned race, but it wasn't ratified because there was no paperwork showing the wind conditions.
Minnesota keeps age-class records (most states don't), because there is a long-standing tradition of top performances here. Unfortunately, the record keeping is suspect. The over-50 record is listed as 2:50 something, though Alex Ratelle ran a 2:30 (!) twenty-five years ago, before those recording the records started recording. The record for the 5K for over-50's, the last I checked, was 16:17. Or 15:51, depending upon whether one's looking at roads or tracks. I'm sure, though, that if one thoroughly researched it, there were faster times that've been overlooked.
Added: the records depend upon where you look. I just found a pretty good list.
Again, who would care? And chasing records means running the flattest, most boring courses imaginable. It means driving five hours to run a 5K in 16 minutes. It means running races that draw competition, which means huge races, which means races where you never see your competition before or after the race and everyone who wins an award skips the awards ceremony to beat the traffic caused by the crowds. It means running the same few races in the spring and fall, when the weather's good, whether that's when you're ready or not. It means paying a fortune to race every weekend, waiting for that one day when the weather co-operates and Dan Carlson doesn't show up (we're the same age and he'll rewrite the record books from 10k-1/2 marathon when he turns 50), or Pat Billig, for that matter. Or Doug Keller...
It's enough to make you want to run 100 miles on a trail.
Looking for footage of Mike Slack, I found this. Guys my age from around these parts will LOVE this!
6 hours ago