Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: View from the Back...Pt.1

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

View from the Back...Pt.1

In all road races, there is usually quite a difference between those at the front end and those at the rear in terms of speed and ability. Sometimes those at the back get a bit of a raw deal despite having paid the same entry fee. These are some of the views of one such local runner...

The back markers of a race always seem to get a raw deal of which I used to be one and in the odd race often still am although running for over a year now.  In a 5 mile race in SE Limerick last year (tough course), the gantry was even taken down before another girl and myself were even in just because there was a gap between us and the rest of the field. My time was 55 mins which was a pb for me at the time.

On another occasion in a 5 mile race in Cork last year I took off too fast and ended up coming in over the hour mark which was one of my worst races ever. Fair enough and I had guys in a jeep driving behind me towards the end but the stewards had all stepped down so I had to keep asking the guys in the jeep where to go as I didn't know the area and the road had reopened which meant I had to run up the footpath into the line asking runners that were coming out to warm down where the finish line was making a complete fool of myself.

Something that organisers of races might take into consideration is that no matter how slow you are everybody pays the same registration fees etc and deserves the same treatment and allowances should be made for slower runners.

Back of the Pack

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is one of the best ever items that has ever appeared in your blog John.

Anonymous said...

Spot on. We need to encourage people to get out running and this sort of thing discourages older and more challenged runners. We'll all be in that category some day.

Anonymous said...

Here here;Well done to writer and John for highlighting an important fact.We all pay the same entry and go out with intention of doing the best we can and sometimes end up finishing a race like a second class citizen. Numerous times I have come in towards end of pack to find out organisers have run out of water ,bananas, proper size t shirt etc. Remember, without us slower runners races might not have such big numbers.

Anonymous said...

Very well said.. There needs to be equal support for all runners, no matter what time the runner finishes.

Anonymous said...

Great post, valid point too.

Anonymous said...

Think this post is designed to cause a bit of debate!.i started off as a slow runner too but now im now a sub 27min runner for the 5 miles.i dont consider 60mins for a 5mile race as running!,anyone that trains hard enough wouldnt be that far back.thats why all marthons have time limits.if they arent happy with it,there are plenty of park runs and fun runs etc

Anonymous said...

The number of t-shirts is well documented now. Difficult for races to have the right number especially in sizes. Having an excess of 300/800 must be expensive and then you have people complaining about the price to enter. While some lessons can be learned it is also impossible to please everyone.

Anonymous said...

It is in the smaller races that this is a real problem. I came second last in a race a couple of years ago with the ambulance driving behind me all the way! That is a lot of pressure and not an enjoyable experience. It didn't turn me off though as I'm still running. If I'm interested in running a race, I check the results from the previous year to see the times of the last few runners.

Anonymous said...

Very good piece, as above organisers have duty of care to wait until all runners have crossed the line. On t-shirts most races in the UK give out medals to the finishers.

Anonymous said...

will they be a part 2?

Anonymous said...

Well said back of the pack!! For the sub 27 min 5 miler - it's the like of you that puts us average or lesser runners as you may see us off!!! Tracy.

Mike said...

As always John Desmond, fair play for highlighting this. I think that it is not unreasonable to have organisers cleaning up or wraping up as most if not all are volunteers but a simple solution of allowing a broom wagon/Cyclist to follow last runner and I repeat Runner, could help enormously and not have last finisher feeling abandoned. As for Mr /Ms Sub 27 minute athlete, 1. this post does not relate to a Marathon 2.The recognised best time for 5 mile is 21 mins , so given all your training you are on 26/27 minutes and that means you are over a minute slower per mile ! Maybe you also might consider fun runs. 3. Its the runners that are all behind you that help keep the entry fees lower and the viability of events you run in, so perhaps you might come down off your high horse and understand the point being made .

Anonymous said...

The reason why races are so cheap is not due to mass participation but due to the volunteerism that is there in the sport. Mass participation races in the US cost much much more than here but they have to pay everyone who is helping out. I am all for "reasonable" time limits on races. No one should be walking in a running race and expecting everything to be there at the finish.

The patronizing comments of the sub 27min guy does not help anyone however the expectation that somehow the last participant is going to enter the straight to a slow hand clap of all the volunteers might work well in the movies but in real life it doesn't happen. That is what sport is.

John if you want to talk about people getting a raw deal then its the volunteers who enable everyone to do a races for a few euro on a weekly basis and all they hear in return in abuse from motorists wanting to go down a road or posts like those above knocking them. Stewarding to direct people towards the finish remains in place until the last finisher and in any race that is not the case they are free to post under that race but it is far from the norm I expect.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to the CORK BHAA they always provide for all runners....I have seen these guys manning mile markers when I was finished and driving home but been a 'down the field' runner myself I totally agree with the comments.
It is very discouraging to see mile markers been lifted when there are back markers still down the road.

Maybe the clubs and those that are organizing these races should validate exactly who is supporting their races.
Take the 'down the field' runner out of the race and there would be no races...The elite are in a minority.

Anonymous said...

Some very valid points being made but also remember how inconsiderate us fellow runners can be some times as we stroll back to hall / car with our medal, t-shirt and PB in pocket and do not look out for the slower finishers and fail to encourage them. The race isn't over until we all cross the line, and I have been at numerous races where very well marshalled events have stewards shouting at people to keep out of the way of finishing runners.
We ALL have our part to play

Anonymous said...

The down the field runners"walkers" as they call themselves need to wake up.its called a race for a race for s reason.plus the sub 27 min runner is only behind by 2 mins in local cork race normally wonin 25.not 35 mins behind.the stewards cant be expected to wait that long.they have prob being there all day organising it on there own time.and as for there being no races without the masses.look back back at the past ballycotton races from 30years ago.small crowds but they still had races!!

George Morgan said...

Maybe when races are being advertised the cut off time should be on the posters. It Would be a lot easier for people who start running to see if the race is for them.

Anonymous said...

Just to note that The flyer that came with the race bib for the John Buckley 10 mile race last weekend did state that race participants should at least be fit enough to run the event. if you're going to enter a race the least that should be expected of you is to have trained for it? If someone enters a race with the aim to 'walk' it or most of it then that person is indeed holding up all the volunteers and has no recourse to complain about the gantry being removed before they 'stroll' to the finish line and go away satisfied that they have a 'running' medal.

Anonymous said...

We also need to consider the perspective of the volunteers who Marshall these races. Having marshalled at ten mile road races it can be tough if there is a big wait for a small number of finishers who can sometimes be walking the course. Volunteers are not in it to receive anything from someone's entry fee and are usually there as a favour to the race organisers and the race itself. I think race organisers and volunteers can sometimes be under appreciated and overly criticised.

Anonymous said...

At the most recent 10 mile 400 of the 500 or so finishers ran 1'30 or faster. So really the majority of runners supporting races with their entry fees are running at quite a reasonably fit level.

Anonymous said...

Say,for a five mile race the more sub 27 minute finishers the better - not near enough is done by Athletics Ireland, etc to get athletes to that level - but in a race those in the back deserve the equal amount of respect from organisers, stewards, and front runners when cooling down.