11 June 2012

$30 for a 5k is Ridiculous.

As I've noted before, my family and I will depart The Netherlands on 27 June. Before settling in the Asheville, NC area at the beginning of August, we will visit friends and family in the Atlanta and Tucson areas. I had wanted to race a couple of 5ks in both Atlanta and Tucson, but after seeing that the cost of racing a 5k is $30, I am going to pass on racing at this time.

Here in The Netherlands during nine months out of the year, one can find a 5k, 10k, or half-marathon to run on almost any weekend. And most of the races cost two euros, unless you want a medal, then the race will be four euros. Each city has a running club, and each running club holds a low cost weekend race series. In fact, if I so desired, I could run a 5k in either Delft (a 20-minute drive away) or Leiden (a ten-minute drive away) this Saturday for two euros. Why can't I find race series like these in the United States?

During the course of the year, I run two or three races that I call "A" races, races for which I will peak and taper. Otherwise, if I race, I race to test my fitness, to improve my fitness, and to have fun, and I train through these races. I don't need a medal or a t-shirt for these races. I wonder if too many Americans are too caught up in conspicuous racing, racing for something shiny or something that you can wear and show to your friends, a t-shirt that announces to strangers that you're an endurance athlete. Could it be that race directors do not believe that people will come to a race if no t-shirt is offered? Can't we forget about the stuff and just relish the opportunity to have strangers push us to perform our best? Would people not show up for a race if race directors decided to forego t-shirts and medals?

One of the goals of Guerrilla Race is to get people to gather together and organize their own races (flash mobs meets endurance sports), races that I hope will be free to all who want to run. To run a 5k, one does not need fluids or gels or t-shirts or medals. One does not need race directors or volunteers or closed courses--if everyone runs safely. And with Garmins and online mapping tools, one doesn't even need someone else to officially measure a course or keep an official time. But if this kind of race is going to take place, then there has to be a group of people who race merely because racing is fun and necessary for living the good life, not because by racing you can get something to decorate your home's wall or your own body.

Does anyone know about inexpensive race series in the United States? If so, could you please let me know about them in the comments below?

I had a pretty light weekend of running. I found myself busy with moving preparations on Saturday and did not find the time to run. I ran ten miles on Sunday. Today, a busy schedule forced me to take another day off, but I did manage to do some push-ups and some core work. Tomorrow, I hope to run intervals. As soon as I settle in Asheville, I'll be able to pick out a specific racing goal and begin to train more earnestly. Training can be inconsistent during times of transition.

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