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Will Chicago Marathon Help Or Hurt Olympic Bid?

The Chicago Marathon proves there are too many entrants who don't have
a clue of what to do and are unprepared for the task. If heat would be
a problem for the Olympics, then Bsrcelona would have been crossed off
the list. Fortunately for them, Olympic caliber participants know how
to handle these situations. I wonder if that is because they don't read
Runner's World? Regardless, world class marathoners like Chicago.


Favorite Race of the last 12 months?

Watermelon Days Fayette,Ia


Dam to Dam, twice

Soooo easy! Sycamore 8, but of course!!!!
Living History a close 2nd with DSM 1/2 coming in a solid 3rd!


The BIX!!!!


With out a doubt my favorite race of 2006 was once again, Living History Farms!

I would say the Lake Geode Dam Beach run in September. It is a 5k/10k. It is a hilly race no matter which run you choose. I don't mean rolling hills but real steep and lots of them. I enjoy the hills and the scenery. It is a beautiful race. You won't set any PR's here but the atmosphere is second to none.

Des Moines 1/2 marathon.
Thank you!

The Newton Boogie


Fire Cracker 5K-Webster City. July 4th 2006. My 54th Birthday. equal too Half Mara at Marathon to Marathon. June 06.

Living History Farms!! three times

RCC Run the Woods. Great tune-up for the Farm, challenging terrain, fun group of hard-core XC runners. This year was my first; l'll definitely be back next year.

Marine Corp Marathon


Capital Pursuit--it was my first race longer than 6 miles! I loved it.
I felt really inadequate when I started out, but as I got going, I knew
I could beat those two 20-somethings that kept passing me after stopping
for water! And at the end--I did!

Here's the list of T-shirt favorites

Dam to Dam, Des Moines Marathon, Capital Pusuit, New York Marathon, Fifth Season, Bix, Living History Farms, Winterset Covered Bridge, Sycamore 8, Sweet.Corn.Run,, Brant’s Great Pumpkin Race,

(I'm still going through them)

Charity Events (runs). Do you like the fact that some of the funds go to support other causes? Or should runs be for runners?

Having worked on a couple of races, one was started to raise $$ for charity and the other for the love of running (with profits paid to charity). The charity race always seemed to struggle, struggle to find cash, struggle to find runners, struggle to find it's niche. The other race is quite unique and became a sort of instant classic with small core following. They both raised about the same amount of cash for charity, but it came sooooo much easier for the one where the love of running came first!

I believe running races are a good way to raise some bucks for different charities - and raise awarness of charities and the cause they support - but in the long run, it is the runs that are centered on runners that will, both be here for the long run and raise exponentially more $$$ for the causes they support!

Happy running! DM from DM

PS - I had an idea for a great new race while I was running last night - the Spagetti 5 miler - anyone curious????? ;-) Maybe we could raise some bucks for a good cause!!

I have no problem with some of the money I pay to run a race going to a charity.
I would guess that most runners don't know (or care) what charity the race they are running benefits. Of course there are some exceptions such as Race for the Cure.
I think we pick the races we run more by the distance and date than by which charity the money goes to.
I think if we ran the races just for the runners, we would be paying higher entry fees due to fewer participants.

Of course, the ever squishy "it depends" is an appropriate answer to the question. The age of choice has brought us hundreds of cable TV channels, XM radio, 20 brands of toothpaste and so on. So if you ask 10 runners what makes a race good, you might get 10 different answers. What defines a runner? The accomplished running philosopher George Sheehan said, "the only think that separates a jogger from a runner is an entry blank." Bill Bowerman said, "if you have a body, you are an athlete."

There are some races put together for one year that focus on raising money and not on putting on a race. The course is off, not well marked (or not marked at all); I have run a race with no bibs or any other way of tallying who finished and what the finish time was. I have run a race with no watch or clock whatsoever. Those races were for raising money at the expense of the entrants, and they went away after a couple years. Obviously, in this case the idea of raising money meant everything and the runners were cash cows.

On the other hand, I have run a few races not put on by charities that were terrible, directed by "runners." So there is no guarantee.

A race can put entrants first and raising money second. Organization can be solid, a course certified, details thought out and needs met or exceeded while trying to put money in the hands of a good cause. The important thing, in my estimation, is to find out who is putting on the race and who is directing it. If the people putting the race on have no experience whatsoever (not runners and no race experience), probably not going to be a race that runners will want to rave about.

Iowa has a number of races that raise money for a cause, and are outstanding races. Dam to Dam makes a contribution to the Muscular Dystrophy Association in honor of Chuck Jipp to help other patients affected by ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease, Living History Farms donates to the Farm and to scholarships, the Red Flannel Run provides money for the YMCA's programs and the Mason City Marathon raises money for the Catholic School system. Those are all excellent events, and I am glad the money supports the particular causes they do.

The bottom line is this, a good race should be able to provide at a minimum a decent entry form, good registration/packet pick up organization, an accurate and safe course, appropriate water stops based on distance, a decent shirt (still a staple) and accurate results. If there are lots of walkers, don't hold up the awards ceremony to wait until they all come in. Other than that, deliver on what was promised in the advertisement. If money is left over after expenses and can go to charity, I think that is a great use of my entry fee.


If a run is put on for the enjoyment of the runners/walkers, I have no
problem where the proceeds go. We as runners can choose which we want to
support. If runners think they are not getting anything back from the runs,
they could always get more involved and put together a race. Doing so would
#1 give runners more choices. #2 let the runners choose where to distribute
the proceeds #3 give the charity runs more competition. This is just one
runners opinion. Keep on running.

What are the top 5 or top 10 races they have done.

1. Midnight Madness - It's always hot and humid, but the crowd and post race party makes up for it.
2. Living History Farms - Some times it is cold, but a cross-country race such as this one is just fun.
3. Run For the Roses, Ames - It's a great time of year to run and they give free omelets after the race.
4. Turkey Day Trot 10k, Worthington, MN - The crowd is great and the course has no loops (free leg massages after the race!).
5. Marshalltown Oktoberfest 10k - A well planned race with a great fan following.


Walker North Country Marathon & 10k (Minnesota)
Dam to Dam
Sycomore 8 (Grueling but fun)
Matt's Race
Drake on the Roads
DSM Half


1. Pilot Knob Trail Race 15K
2. Pilot Knob Trail Race 5 M
(these two trail races are the best kept secret in trail racing - beautiful, challenging trails - small crowds - and excellent race directors)
3. RCC Run the Woods (another fun, yet challenging trail race)
4. Living History Farms (can you tell I love the trails?)
5. Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon


1. Sycamore 8 (I am biased and had to get it on the list!!!)
2. Living History Farms - Love it!
3. DSM Marathon - gotta love the home crowd support!
4. Midnight Madness - I'm not a morning person!
5. The Most Excellent Run... PR with my kid!

Grandma's Marathon, Duluth MN
Dam to Dam
Midnight Madness
The Bix 7
Living History Farms
--Honorable Mention to Mason City Marathon because they had a guy taking
pictures of us at the 1/2 marathon point, then he had them 1hr'd and handed
them out to us at the finish line.

1. Boston Marathon
2. Elvelopet
3. Chicago Marathon
4. Equalizer 24 Hour
5. Living History Farms

Midnight Madness 10K
Capital Pursuit 10 Mile
Dam to Dam 20K
Chicago Marathon
Marine Corps Marathon
Tom O'Hawk

1) Living History Farms
2) Chicago Marathon
3) Anchorage Marathon
4) Hudson Pump and Run
5) Twin Cities Marathon
Dave L.

P.S.After I sent my top 5 races I thought, how could I forget The Groundhog Race in KC! Number 6 for sure...

Snow Shoe Races

Question got one reply. Evidently, there is little interest.

Should there be more races in the winter months?

Absolutely most of us run and train all winter anyway.

If there are more winter races, they should probably be cross country or off
road races. With the constant freezing and thawing of the road surfaces, there
is always the danger of hazardous footing (not to mention crazy drivers).
I also feel that the winter months are a time to regroup and recover.

I think there should be more races offered during the winter months. If many runners are like me, you don't prefer to run outside during the winter. I typically put my distance training on hold and hit the treadmill because there isn't much to train for locally. If there were some longer races, such as half marathons, offered during the winter months I think I would continue to train outside in preparation. It would keep you on track throughout the year!

We'd love more winter races! It's a wasteland from LHF in Nov. until Rosy
Cheeks in February. We're looking forward to the Sycamore 8 this weekend!

Yes! Absolutely! Definitely! Especially when it is snowing.

Yes- more races would be nice. The Iowa winter is tough to stay motivated in and more races would give the motivation to keep going. The spring marathon training group is also good and helps for those looking to do the longer runs with a group.
Thanks for all you do to promote running in central Iowa.
B. P.

Those of you who ran it, how did you like the Des Moines Marathon this year?

My opinion of the marathon was favorable. I did like the course better last year. I didn't care for the Polk Blvd up and back. I hope next year it will return to run the Drake area.
Personally I had no problem with the timing, but there were errors and there should not be.
The awards ceremony was lame. If I knew that I could have picked up my medal at the finish line I would have saved myself a lot of time.
I hope these small things can be worked on so the marathon will survive and grow to become one of Des Moines premier events.

I ran the Des Moines Marathon this year. I thought there were many improvements over last year. I had a great time. It is nice to see all the Des Moines runners either participating or spectating. I enjoy all the Des Moines races.
BAH Ames, IA.

Really enjoyed this race for the second year in a row. They did a lot better job with organization and race management this year. I wish they would have had more of a variety of exhibitors at the downtown expo, as well as some nicer t-shirt designs, but that is to be expected as the wrinkles are ironed out. One heck of a finisher medal...kudos to the designers! - Mike

Ran the DSM Half
Was great - much more organized than last year. DSM is really gorgeous in early October.

Is there something other than a race t-shirt you would like to get at a race?

Shirts that you can run in are the best--like Dam to Dam shirts which
are the greatest. Singlet would be okay too. Here's another vote to do
away with mugs for Dam to Dam finishers. Go back to medals, or maybe
try an embellished picture frame for your picture (does anybody order
pictures?). Socks and hats are great ideas too. No t-shirt option with
lower registration fee is also great for those of us with too many white
100% cotton shirts with ugly logos.


I LOVE everyone's ideas: shorts, tanks, long sleeve T's, medals. One
thing to add is the option to purchase a poster that is a collage of
hundreds of pictures of runners during the race and when put together form
one big picture (like the Des Moines sky line or something) The Twin Cities
Marathon did this in 2000 and it was cool and then you have a picture of
yourself running, too.


I would really like to see Dam to Dam bring back their finishing medals. I love their t-shirts, but a medal means more than a mug or coffee cup to me. Especially for those "first-time" finishers!
I love the long-sleeved t-shirts! They are great for fall running.
Also, an inexpensive dri-fit singlet with the race imprinted on the front or back would be awesome! Now that is something you can wear in another race!
What about some really neat DeFeet socks with the race/event name printed on the top. Those would also get used a lot!

I would love to get tank tops vs. t-shirts. I love running with the “no sleeve” option.
Just my opinion. Thanks!

Maybe some running socks, cool sweat bands, towel for sweat. Shirts are great too.
Kevin Krampe

Running shorts, running socks, and cliff bars.

John Y.

* Would prefer coolmax instead of cotton, and would pay for it. I love my Dam to Dam shirts!
* Would like to see tanks and long-sleeved shirts more often for variety.
* Would like size small offered.
* Would appreciate getting the size I order on entry forms. I often order medium, which is smallest available, and end up with L or XL, which I can't wear.
* Would like the option, like at the Urbandale 5K, to pay less and not get t-shirt.
Ann Shelton

How about a 8x11 sheet certificate of participation with event, date, time, total participants, place in class, etc. It seems all of you go through the trouble to post on the internet, why not on a certificate for an album for the participant. Thanks for the chance for input.


i ran a 10k race in lincoln last year called the buffalo run where one receives running shorts instead of the usual cotton t's. they give you the choice of nike, asics, and hind for name brands in various colors with the majority being black. the race name is silk-screened on the bottom panel, (black on black) and i seem to wear the shorts more then the race shirts that i use to wax the vehicles with.

Another cool race by my parents house up dar in wisconsin is the blair cheese festival run. here by paying 20 dollars you receive a fair button and race entry. the button entitles you to gorge on about all the dairy products you can put down in a day. the run offers gallons of free milk, cheese curds, cheese brats, yogurts, beer, ice cream, cow rides, and fair atmosphere. the overall winner gets a big brick of sharp cheddar presented by the dairy princess. most people pay the entry fee just to eat and drink; later it's fun watching them have there own little individual time trials to the kybos.

jimmy n.

I think for Dam to Dam a medal other then a coffee mug or a specially designed finisher t-shirt like Peachtree Road Race does.


In response to the question
"Is there something other than a race t-shirt you would like to get at a race?"

I would love a running cap in place of t-shirt. Most people wear them (or should) and you can probably negotiate a good price for them.

M.L. F.

Which race do you plan as your all out effort this Spring. Are you focussed on one event, or just the whole season?

For me it is Dam to Dam in May and then focus turns to Des Moines Marathon which will be my first marathon ever! I ran the half last year was my first event so trying the full marathon this year.

The dam to dam; I'm working towards this one as my first real effort

What does it take as far as weather to keep you from running?

Short of lightning or a winter white out...nothing! MM

On extremely windy days you probably will not find me running outside. Check
for me indoors on the treadmill, in the pool or in the weightroom. As for
the cold, rain, snow, heat and humidity; extreme inclement the weather
creates all the more incentive for me to run. I get a kick from watching
passers-by expressions of disbelief, saying to themselves,"I can't believe
he's running outside today."
T.Lowe, Denver CO

1. Temperature below 10 degrees F period. That's my lower limit.
2. High wind accompanied by below freezing temps.
P.S. I absolutely hate the high humidity we have been having this winter. It has exceeded 80% on several occasions. Really uncomfortable at low temperatures.
I'm heading south for good. Someday.

There is no weather that keeps us from running. It never gets too cold (join us along the river, any day) but it can get too hot. Humid heat is the true weather danger. We're loons, but like all runners, we watch out for each other.

I've had eyelashes freeze my eyes shut, clothing freeze to my body, and have
passed cars struggling to get through through the same snow. The only thing
cold weather can do to my running is shorten the distance. There is nothing
better than the look you get when you go running past people/motorists in
complete downpours and arctic conditions with a giant grin on your face.
Heat on the other hand. . .once you're naked that's it. You can't cool off
I'll run in anything between -60 (wind chill) and 95. Maybe not fourteen
miles, but at least enough to stretch out. The windier and wetter, the better.

I relish winter running! There are only a couple weather factors that
keep me from running. Cold is not an issue, I have run in minus 10.
Snow is not an issue, I love running in the snow - wearing a flashing
light on my waist. What will stop me is severe winds or pure ice.
Clothing today is so high tech that I have yet to ever be cold, and
winter training shoes have great traction compared to summer
counterparts. I think the best temperature to run in is about 30!
Dave =)

There are only two conditions that I can think of that would prevent me from running outdoors: ice on the streets that was so bad that I couldn't stay on my feet, and if our area was in an active tornado warning. Other than that, I can dress or prepare for just about every other weather contingency. I've never run on a treadmill. I think a run means more when
it's done in the elements.
Russ R

WINDCHILL...WINDCHILL...WINDCHILL! you try to dress cool enough it cuts right through ya. you try to dress warm enough you freeze from sweating. i HATE it!

The only real thing that stops me, with the exception of very extreme heat or cold, is lightning!
I don't mind to sweat, or get cold, & there are very few days a year when I have to retreat to the treadmill bacause of it but lightning is just far to dangerous!
I have participated in races when there was lightning, but was quite uncomfortable with it!
The 3 races that really come to mind concerning that are Hogeye Marathon 2002, in Fayettevile, Arkansas, the 2001, Hospitol Hill Run in K.C., & the Beat the Street Run in 2001 in Iowa. ( I believe that was in Nevada ). The rain was one thing, but the lightning freaked me out ! I think it kinda helped my times tho!!!!!!
John E
Strafford, Missouri

Except for extreme wind, weather has NEVER had the power to keep me from running. As I said extreme wind can: I learned the hard way with a 35-50 mph wind at my back for a 10 mile (rather hilly) run one Sunday that the wind CAN hurt you! Other than that, I have run (happily) in rain (even a driving rainstorm), heat, snow, and extreme cold. I really like running in summer rain and will sometimes go on an unplanned run just because of that. And I find winter running refreshing and uplifting. My most memorable run was a ten miler a number of years ago. There was about ten
inches of snow on the ground, the sun was shining brightly, and the wind was about 10-12 mph. The wind chill was (according to the weather report) 30+ below zero. I ran out into the country and back and enjoyed every minute of my run. I had 1/8 inch hex screws in the botton of the forefoot of an old pair of running shoes so my footing was just fine and I was well covered with good cold weather running gear. When I returned I had ice crusts on the outside of many places on my clothing but I felt elated and very 'refreshed'. My biggest problem during the run was that I had to walk several times, remove one glove and pull the icicles from my eyelashes!!!!!

Hasn't yet this year. Coldest run this year was last Friday at 8 below and
windy. Went 10 miles, we did drop a car off down wind so we didn't have to
run back against the wind.
I'd probably not run if the wind chill dropped below 30 below zero.
I've found that with the right layering, you can run in about anything.

For those runners who are fairly consistant age group winners at races and accumulate trophies, plaques, medals and ribbons. What do you do with this stuff?

Being the first of the year I am trying to organize my life which means getting rid of all the useless stuff I have accumulated. I have always had a problem deciding what to do with awards from races and was wondering if other runners had found a good answer to this situation.
So I am proposing a Question of the Week for those runners who are fairly consistant age group winners at races and accumulate trophies, plaques, medals and ribbons. What do you do with this stuff? Put in boxes in the basement? Display it in the living room? Throw them out? Or have you found some organization that can use them (Boys and Girls Club, ect.)?
I would be interested in hearing how other runners have dealt with this accumulation problem
Hope you had a good Holiday. I am enjoying this mild Iowa winter.

Hi - My husband really is the one who gets most (but not all) of the ribbons and trophies at our house. Dust collectors actually - but proud of them none the less. I have an idea that I think would catch on. Instead of trophies and ribbons how about giving out lapel type pins with the race placements or logos. Runners could actually put them on their hats or jackets and show them off. Sandi

I have a wall next to my treadmill that I hang all my medals on. I also put race numbers on this wall. It is good motivation~Angie

I display it proudly in our dining room hutch next to the kids soccer and baseball trophies. Lisa -43

I realize most awards are just cheap trinkets. But for that first week after winning one, I always put it on my dresser and admire it. Mostly for motivation to get back out and start training. Secondly, its proof that hard work can get you to your goal. However big or small your goal is. Keep running everyone. See you in the spring.

What we'll do for another t-shirt and medal, non-runners think is pretty much crazy. I have a rack of medals hanging on the wall next to a bulletin board covered with race numbers. It's a great motivator!! And just think, this year I get away from all those speedy 45-49 women and enter the 50-54 group. I can't wait!!! More Medals for my "Love Me Room"!!!!!

Being the first of the year I am trying to organize my life which means getting rid of all the useless stuff I have accumulated. I have always had a problem deciding what to do with awards from races and was wondering if other runners had found a good answer to this situation.
So I am proposing a Question of the Week for those runners who are fairly consistant age group winners at races and accumulate trophies, plaques, medals and ribbons. What do you do with this stuff? Put in boxes in the basement? Display it in the living room? Throw them out? Or have you found some organization that can use them (Boys and Girls Club, ect.)?
I would be interested in hearing how other runners have dealt with this accumulation problem
Hope you had a good Holiday. I am enjoying this mild Iowa winter.

Are entry fees getting to high for races? (Article about subject)


I don't think they are too high around here at all. People need to think about what they are getting for the money. I would guess the average race I enter costs around $15 if I enter early enough. I count the whole race experience as "time" I get for the money, not just the race. Race morning I always show up at least 45 minutes early to begin with race bibs, finding bathrooms, warming up, talking to people and so forth. Then there is the race, lasting from 20 minutes to 1:45. After the race there is social time, food and beverage and awards (sometimes with giveaways). So that makes anywhere from about 2 - 4 hours of "event time" in my book. I got a T-shirt that can cost about as much as
the entry fee in a store, a closed course to measure my skills on, competition that I can't get on a regular Saturday morning, more and more there is professional timing, sometimes race results sent to me, food and drink - sometimes enough to fill me up until lunch, social engagement that is typically high quality, and lots of intangibles. What can you do for $15 or so bucks for that amount of time? People can pay that for a meal that takes 10 minutes to eat, and leaves you with nothing to show for it hours later. I think most races are a bargain and I am willing to pay what it takes for my preferred method of fun.

Having directed or been a part of 11 races I know exactly what it takes to put on a race, and one wish I have is for people who complain about entry fees, age categories and on and on to volunteer a time or two instead of running a race. Get intimately involved and see what it takes, understanding should ensue.

One more thing, if people really had an idea of what it takes to put on a race they would not wait until race day to enter when they always planned to race anyway. Pet peeve is when people are upset that shirts are gone or that registration is taking too long, yet they planned to
run the race for weeks or months.


I really don't mind race fees in the 20 dollar range if I feel when I leave like I got a decent deal. If however the results are messed up food runs out or just isn't worth the
money spent I would not return the next year. If the race fee is $20 for early entry and $25 or more the day of, I have a tendency to think about it and elect to sleep in the
day of rather than pay $25.

USA T&F doesn't count "Chip Times". "Winners must race against each other!" What are your thoughts?

The race starts when the gun goes off not when you cross the start line.

I saw your question of the week and thought I would offer my
$0.02. Interestingly, I was discussing this very issue with friends over
our pre-race dinner last Saturday evening. We came to following conclusion.
Let's suppose the winner of a race was declared by chip time, rather than
by the first one to cross the finish line. It is conceivable that one
athlete may have their chip-time start delayed by 5 seconds because of
his/her location within the starting line pack. If the runner catches up
with the leaders and runs side-by-side with them for the rest of the race,
she will essentially begin the final kick with a 5 second lead. When the
kick begins, the other runners do not know that she has a 5 second
advantage. We condition our kick based on our perceived level of exertion
relative to our position in the race. If the chip time was used to declare
the winner, neither the crowd, the media, nor the competitors would know
who was actually leading the race. It would certainly introduce a whole
new set of strategies into road racing.
Personally, I support the use of chip times for qualifying purposes such as
Boston or the Olympic trials. For most faster runners starting near the
front, the difference is only a few seconds between chip and gun
time. However, an age group runner stuck in the middle of the pack at the
Chicago marathon, the difference is likely to be a few minutes. It makes
sense to me in these situations to allow the chip time to be used.

Chip times or not, the winners do race against each other. That is, if you're a seeded runner and get to line up in front. On the other hand, you could be the fastest (chip time) runner in the race but do to a lack of a previous good time you get burried back in the pack. How is that fair?

Yes to mass start - it ain't just a time trial - there is strategy
involved, even for mid and back packers... who hasn't picked out someone
ahead of them and tried to catch them??!
Yes to chips, chips with mass start (marathon walkers excluded.... this
is a new market and must be accomidated... I liked the open course at
5:30... I even liked passing them along the course, they gave me
motivation and I passed on words of encouragement to them). I liked
having chip timing, seemed easier at the finish than filing down a line
to hand in my tag. I was in no shape to "keep moving" down the chute!

What would you like to see for post race food if you could have anything you wanted? We wondered whether to ask this one.

Donuts, lots of donuts!

Great food question! A post race treat would be baked salmon and
rice with chardonay on ice. I would trade three bagels for this.


sno cones, Clive had them and I couldn't get enought!!

Cinnamon rolls.

Would anyone like more Open XC races scattered out through the fall?

i would love to see some open cross country races happening in iowa. there is already a healthy road racing scene, however, it seems that the way the reaces seem to work in iowa is that in the spring, there are a lot of shorter races, and then in the heat of the summer there are more mid-long distance races (bix, alliant energy 8k(, and then the fall is dedicated to marathons, (quad/twin cities , now desmoines). i think the number of races is great and living in iowa city, it is easy to travel not too far to get to a quality race pretty much every weekend. however, i used to run in h.s. and univ. and enjoyed the changing of the seasons, having x.c. races in the fall, culminating in some sort of championship race as a goal, and track in the spring, also with a championship. i find it hard in iowa to find a time to peak for, because the summer, which has great races (bix, alliant, midnight) are run in heat which is just too oppressive to shoot for p.r.'s in. so i would welcome a series of cross country races, say a grand prix style event, with 5 or 6 open races in which you could attain points, and then a championship race at the end as a goal. when i lived in seattle in 1997, club northwest has a 12 week grand prix series of 2 mile races over varying terrains which ran in the wintertime( i.e. 45 degree rainy weather). there were 3 x country races, 2 road races, and at the end one track race for all the marbles, which attracted hundreds of people of all ages. (obviously a open cross country series in the fall would be hurt by not having the highschoolers) i could foresee a open cross country series, which could coincide with some of the bigger name high school x country meets. for one, it could bring in alumni runners, and coaches, and even some parents, along with the usual rabid road racing scene. a few meets could also be run in conjunction with some of the university races, since i believe some of them are open, or at least they allow some unnatached runners, (though maybe they would not be interested in a huge throng of extra people). i also think this grand prix notion could be used in a track series in the spring or early summer, where the meets would be staged with the distance races in mind, like the maine distance classic. no sprints, hurdles, field events, etc, just distance events. perhaps run two different events per session and allow grand prix points for them. this would ensure that the competition would not be watered down, and would also give runners a chance to really race all out at shorter distances. (when have you ever seen someone win a mile race at these road races, in under 5 and 1/2 minutes.)
i think having the variety of cross country and track added to the marathon and raod race lineup would really make iowa a great place to run and train. anyway, thanks for bringing up the topic.
p. t. r.

Yes, I would, especially when I am out of High School.
I love competition, even when I don't do well.
Having an equal number of events all year long helps
to keep sprits, motivation, and interest up for

Are there too many races or do we need more in Central Iowa.


It seems there aren't very many 1/2 marys. given the article in RW this month about the growing popularity, you'd think Iowans would jump in at the start of something big and capitalize on it. How 'bout a 1/2 mary at the Des Moines Mary this fall? then those of us that only believe in short-term torture could get our fix as well!! ;-)
Sue K.

I don't feel there are too many races in the area. It is nice to have
something offered most weekends within driving distance. I would suggest
new races offer a variety in distances or something not frequently offered.
8k's are nice but few to choose from. A 15k, 20k, or 25k would be fun for
those working toward a marathon.

Is Cross Country more popular than track and if so, why?

As a UK runner I have recently been reading about the NCAA cross country
chanps and about other races and it seems as though it has a big
following in the US which seems due to the fact that all types of runners (from 1500m
to 10,000m) compete in a single race against each other. This make the race
exciting as it is interesting to see what type of runners come out on
top and always seems to produces surprises. There is also the team aspect of the
race that give each runner something to aim for and make's the whole race
competive, not just at the front of the field but behind aswell to aim
for team pionts.

Spring track is now fighting the numbers game with spring soccer. Look
at all the youth soccer programs, leagues, tournaments, for all ages.
Adults in our communities are spending a lot of time promoting soccer. Do I
see any of this happening with track ? Not in my area. If I were concerned
about track participation, then I need to get of my duff and promote track. Develop programs, leagues, meets, for all ages. As a high school track coach I better not sit around waiting to see who will go out for 9th grade track. Those days are over.
As for cc 's growth. I simply think you have coaches who are
promoting their programs.

I may be totally out of bounds here but I do have a suggestion. But I have two suggestions:
1. Team sports have gotten so political. High School sports have gotten more and more political.
It is difficult to deny an athlete a position on your starting cross country team when he is faster than
other runners on your team. What is a coach to do? Fewer games are played in the staffing of the
"starting lineup" in cross country. Don't tell me you have never see stronger players sit on the bench while a weaker player "starts" for some unknown reason. That sort of thing is just less likely in cross country.

2. Their is a purity of cross country not found in all sports. You can always run against yourself. It is extremely easy to evaluate your progress over a period of time. The "game" is not ever changing. And finally, you can play the game the rest of your life. As with golf. However, its far more difficult to cheat in cross country than in golf. Their is nothing as pure as running.

Perhaps it's the running surface. I can run all day on dirt or grass
but asphalt or concrete takes its toll.

I am looking for suggestions on how to get runners to actually line up at their real pace in the "Farm Race"! Any ideas?

In response to:
"I am looking for suggestions on how to get runners to actually line up at their
real pace in the "Farm Race"! Any ideas?"

I realize it is too late for this now, but why not have people photo copy their
official 5K or 10K race time and send it along with their entry form. You could
reserve the first 1000 numbers (or maybe more) for people that send in their
race time and then line people up according to their speed. This is how the Chicago
and Boston Marathons run their starting chutes.

What can you do? I know at the Twin Cities Marathon there were 5 hour marathoners right up front. Ridiculous!

Here are my suggestions, albeit you probably already have thought about all of these, that may help people get the hint:

1. Put up signs at the packet pickup saying to line up in the right pace group. (I think you have done this already).

2. Put up huge balloons or signs saying 5 minute, 6..7..8.. pace. I remember one year the announcer saying if you aren't going to run 5 minute miles you shouldn't be up front!

3. Have ropes going down the road to the first gate to limit the width of the starting line.

4. Tell people again and again to line up according to pace and have signs highly visible indicating the pace locations.

5. Hope and pray that people get a clue and realize it won't effect their time but, just a few seconds and will help with congestion problems!

6. Start of all people that run under an 8 minute mile for a 10K one minute before people that are slower. They could possibly have different colored bib numbers.

I don't know how easy this would be.just have them show you a printout of the results from a race they have run this summer.All of the races i have run in,the results have been printed and given out after the race or i can print them from your website.the times are also printed there too.showing what pace you should be able to run.then at packet pickup give them a tag to wear indicating where they should line up.i'am sure a large percentage of the runners have ran in a timed race this year.hope this might help.
Larry Huffman

When I ran the Great Aloha Run everyone has different colored Race numbers which indicates their race pace. This is a huge race and they have line up areas for each color and everyone lines up and races with aloha so there is never a problem.
Could work here.

Give the top 200 from the past year a different color number. Make sure everybody knows so we
can pressure the unseeded people out. We then WILL seed ourselves from experience. of course
there are exceptions that race mgt has to take into consideration

Have poster board made up with huge pace times, about every 30 seconds.
Have volunteers hold up the pace posters appropriately, as with
marathons. Best you can do is put up signs at the store for packet
pickup - and at LHF asking for cooperation with honesty, put it on your
web site and have someone speaking into the bullhorn as people are
beginning to line up. I know the crowd is not exactly "linear" at the
start point, but it might help and I think most runners will be honest
about ability. If you cannot get that many volunteers, have someone in
charge of getting runners to help at the race. I would be happy to help
with the 8:00 pace group myself if it means anything.
Good luck with the effort.

Dave =)

I guess I would suggest that you place signs stating pace times. Its easy to know your pace, but some infrequent runners don't know what their projected finish time would be based upon that pace. Also, I have never run the Living History before so I don't know what time I should expect to run. People learn with experience that it is best to start according to your pace. If you start too close to the front you are a problem for others. If you start too far back, others are a problem for you. Besides, if you are in a quandary about this, you probably aren't going to be a threat to win the race anyway.

At the Corporate Cup race in Omaha (16,000 registrants), there is a "pen" at the front for the runners meeting a time standard (50 minutes for 10K I think) during the previous three years at the Corporate Cup itself or you can provide race results for another race time in the previous 12 months. Everyone who qualifies gets a "seeded pass" card that must be turned in before they let you into the fenced area.
When the race is ready to go, they take the fences down. You could use something similar based upon past Living History finishes or results.
Craig Christians
Bellevue, NE

This may be difficult as many of us run this race for the mud and fun
and are not really interested in our pace. This was also the first race
for my 12 year old daughter. She picked a big race to start with. It
was a wonderful experience for her, with so many runners everyone feels
like a success. Perhaps the serious runners could line up by pace in
the front and the rest of us crazy runners can mingle in the masses in
the back. Everyone around me and the runners that i visited with along
the way seemed content and having a good time. None seemed concerned
that the recreational runner was in their way because we were all
recreational. You all did a fantastic job of putting this race on
again. THANKS!!!!!

When do you think would be a good date for a fall marathon here in Des Moines? The plans are beginning for next year!

Some time towards the end of September.
Mike H

A marathon in Des Moines would be great. Late September or October
would be great. Towards the end of the month works best.

I think a fall marathon in Des Moines is an outstanding idea, but
finding a date could be a problem. From a weather standpoint, the month
of October would be the best, but it is already jammed with Twin Cities,
Chicago, and at least two marathons in Wisconsin. Quad Cities has their
marathon in late September, so maybe late October or the very first
weekend in November would work. Having said that, you could still run
into some nasty weather that time of year.

I think a good time would be late October. Sometime after the Twin
Cities and Chicago, which fill so
quickly. If someone wants a fall marathon DSM would get the overflow.
I like this idea of a fall marathon here. It will give me something to
keep me going after Boston in 2002.
Got'a run,
Mary B. M

I'd like it about the middle to the end of October. I love the beauty
of fall running and the cool air!!!
Jean T

Good to hear a Des Moines marathon might be in the works ! We do the
Twin Cities every year. How about mid October for a go ! Nice and cool..
first weekend in November would be good to. Let me know if we can help.
K and L.

My choice would be the last weekend in Sept. or the third weekend in
Oct. (the latter preferred because it's cooler and because there seems
to be a dearth of races after mid-Oct).
It would be nice if Des Moines had a marathon again.

Sometime in October, probably the 3rd or 4th weekend. this would be
toward the end of the racing season.
John Y

My advice would be the first weekend of Nov. or later; that way it
wouldn't conflict with Twin Cities Marathon and people could conceivably
do both.

How about having a Des Moines marathon the day after the Iowa-Iowa State
football game? It's always a "festive" weekend!

I would suggest Oct. 27th, 2002. Last day of daylight savings time. It
will be cool and it is approximately 3 months from RAGBRAI. So after all
that RAGBRAI has to offer, you can switch gears and work on marathon
training. I was not happy to see the Chicago Marathon change to Oct. 7th this
year. Too early. Too close to RAGBRAI. However, this could conflict with
Chicago, but every date conflicts with a race somewhere. Just my opinion.

I would check the calendar for Twin Cities marathon and Chicago marathon
and try to place it as far past these dates as possible. A late
October or early November date would probably be the best bet for the
fall. I think the organizers should consider something in early to late
May also. There are not many around this time and the weather is good
for a marathon.

I think a fall marathon in Des Moines is a great idea! I vote for the
second weekend in November.

re: date for fall marathon
I don't care what date it's held, you can count me in! Also let whoever
is organizing it that I will gladly
volunteer to help, up until race day. I have my shoes laced up and my
number pinned on, now where's the starting line?

OCTOBER!!!!! Without a doubt this time is bound to be a hit. Most
runners are running their best times in September and also have hit max
in their ability to do the long runs easily. Its a pretty time of year,
the air is just right for just about every imaginable reason. The humidity
that we battle from about May into September has dropped as have the
pollen counts due to the fact that we have usually had at least a light
frost by

Steve: How about sometime around Halloween? My wife suggests the
Halloween Hustle.
Steve Sanders

I say "yeah' that someone is going to do a Fall Marathon in Iowa. Now
the big question: "Where?" I sure hope it will show off the best of Fall
in Iowa!

The end of October or first of November

The weekend around the 20th of October is fairly open. It's the break
weekend before the High School State CC meet. It allows us to do our
favorite race (Run for the Roses) around mid Oct. It wouldn't interfere
with the big boys in Chicago or Twin Cities and the only other marathon
in the state (?) that season is Mason City the beginning of November.
Which, by the way is anybody else planning on going to Mason City Nov.

Does there need to be more races this fall? You might want to check the calendar first.

Last year was our first Pilot Knob Trail Race as race
directors and it was a big success. We had many
people say that they loved having a trail race
available. I believe the trail race in Eldora also
does well. Trail races bring an alternative to the
dozens of road races that are going on every weekend.
Also, they are great training events for the Living
History Farms Race.
P. J.

There are plenty of races, but many are scheduled on the same
weekends. Also, why not have more 15K's and a 25K leading up to the
fall marathon season. Of course, this year there are so many marathons
in the midwest in early October (Chicago, Twin Cities, Rushmore are all on
the same day; Fox Cities a week earlier; Lakefront a week later) that post
Labor Day preparation is pretty compressed. But there's not many races (other
than the ubiquitous Turkey trot's) after October 14th. Or have I
missed something ?
Tom B.

Should wheelchair athletes be scored in high school meets?
This one got some responses!

I agree that the points earned by the wheelchair athlete should count in the
teams score in High School track. They train just as hard as runners do but
without the use of their legs. It would be easy for them to not want to race
at all. But the ones that do should be counted for they have overcome huge
barriers and need to know that all the work that they do is counted for

While I don't think it's fair to allow one time "free" points simply because
they have a wheelchair athlete and other teams don't, I also don't think it's
fair for anyone to have to live life in a wheelchair. I say, score them. Give
the athlete a little glory, let him or her help the team out and contribute
some points. It's courageous to go out for track when you can't walk, so I
think a few hard earned points, while a slight disadvantage to other teams,
can only help the situation. Winning or losing a high school track meet is
not life or death.


W.C.Smith II

I have read the question of the week posted on Fitness Sports, the news of running in Iowa. The question was: should the efforts of wheel chair athletes be scored? written by Richard J. Lutz, a high school athlete. He compares the efforts of wheel chair athletes with those of other track and field athletes, and wonders why they aren't allowed to score.
Apparently, their efforts are merely for show, for a feeling of political correctness, but without real meaning in terms of team efforts and competitions.

I understand that perhaps a wheel chair athlete may run unopposed in a meet simply because the other schools are fielding no competitors, and this may give the team points not available to the other schools, and that some say this may be an unfair advantage. I do not concur. If a team shows up at a meet and the team's 800m runner or hurdler or pole vaulter is sick or simply non existent, doesn't that team forfeit those potential points?

The point is that perhaps some schools are not encouraging their wheel chair students to join athletic ventures... but when it starts costing them medals, perhaps they will be more motivated. If wheel chair athletes start winning meets because they compete unopposed, perhaps the other schools will start fielding wheel chair athletes of their own.

Even though I live in Connecticut and not in Iowa, I foresee that this can (or will) become a national issue. Perhaps it already is; the Boston and many other marathons and other major races have wheel chair divisions - and the winners receive the prizes. And there and not many who win because they run - or wheel - unopposed, not any more.

J McNerney
Enfield, Connecticut, USA

I agree with the IAHSAA. I don't think they should.

Well, here's a suggestion for the other side of the argument. I almost even hate to send you this note because it seems insensitive, even though it's not meant to be.

Armed with zero statistics, I wonder if this is a function of volume. Really, how many potential wheel chair athletes are there? When I was in high school, our admittedly small school (500) had no one in a wheel chair. How do we recruit for that? If there are a lot of these kids, then I'm all for it. It strikes me that you should have a reasonable expectation that you could fill a race (3 people per race?). Does the average high school even have that many people in wheel chairs, let alone how many of them would even consider the event? Using John's example, my high school potentially had 500 people to run the 800. If the coach couldn't get one, good or not, then that's bad recruiting and the team should lose the points. How many potential wheel chair athletes? None. I don't think this is so much about not developing kids; I think it's about not having the numbers to have a race.

Steve, you've been around the road racing scene in Iowa for a long time. How many wheel chair athletes are there? How many are there in the nation?

(I'm not sure Boston is the best example of a success. In spite of having the fact that Boston "embraced" wheel chair athletes in 1976, and in spite of the fact that they added prize money in 1986, They had a total of 35 wheel chair finishers in 2001. Yes, they, too, had stiff qualifying times but that doesn't strike me as promoting broad participation. And, oddly enough, in spite of the 4 to 6 hour wait at the start in Hopkinton, the BAA evidently makes no special provision for parking, transportation, or assistance. "All participants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the bus service provided by the Boston Athletic Association. The roads into Hopkinton are closed at 8:00 am (noon start), and parking is unavailable...Bus transportation to Hopkinton on race morning and for the course tour on Sunday afternoon is limited to official entrants and staff.")

Really, this isn't about abilities or disabilities. It's about having enough people to reasonably support a classification. If there really are a lot of people out there and we haven't welcomed them, then let's get on with it. But if there really aren't enough of them to legitimately support a separate race in a multi-race event, I think awarding points does as much to cheapen their participation than what is currently being suggested.

So, if you have statistics on what the potential participation is, I'd sure like to know them.

It sounds really crass, I know. It isn't meant to be. Just a statistical viewpoint.

M Movic*
*2nd letter below

Having been a USATF coach and meet director in the past, I can see many logistical reasons for not scoring some events but not logical ones.

If there are wheelchair athletes willing to compete and the meet has the slot worked into it's schedule, there is NO good reason for not scoring it. And yes, it will alter the final places of teams as it should.

Do the coaches who have no wheelchair racers think it's unfair? Let them put an able-bodied athlete in a chair. There is no reason on earth why they could not compete in a chair. It's been done in some road races.

Oh yes, there's the embarrassment factor. No runner would want to be seen as less than fully able-bodied by competing in a chair. I suspect that's the main reason for not allowing the event to be fully recognized. It's all about attitudes then, isn't it? It's not about the athleticism inherent in the event.

I am a member of Achilles Track Club, not a wheelchair athlete, but what my infirmity is is of no relevance. I compete in track, shot put and road races.

It is not at all unusual for me to place in my age group (50+) in the shot put simply because of the lack of competitors. I have medaled and scored for my masters teams and rightfully so. I showed up, I threw, I had a legitimate mark according to the rules. I'm not embarrassed by seeing my name in the newspaper with a "poor" throwing distance. I know I did my best.

There was one time I ran a 15 Km road race in Schenectady, NY which was a USAT&F Adirondack Association championship event. I don't recall if I placed last in my age group but it had to be something like 990th place out of 1000 runners.

However, among USATF members I was the third 50-54 finisher.
Never mind that I'm an Achilles runner. I put one foot in front of the other for 9.3 miles. I worked as hard, maybe harder, to get to the finish line. Never mind how long it took versus the others. I got my bronze medal.
Anyone who didn't like an old cripple getting a medal should have showed up and toed the line.

J Berkery, Latham , NY

We had no disabled students.

Again, without the stats, how many disabled students might you expect in a school of 500 people? I tried to look for stats but the definitions are confusing and not helpful. about 5% of people 24 and younger are "severely disabled," which includes using a wheel chair, crutches, etc. That would say that my high school should have included 25 people. My guess is, though, that many of the severely disabled don't make it to school. How many people at Dowling? 2000? Are there 100 disabled people there? I doubt it but if there were, we might have enough to get something going on a team.

One "reason on earth" why able bodied people couldn't compete in wheel chairs is that governing bodies probably wouldn't stand for it. Boston specifically says "This division follows the rules and guidelines as defined by Wheelchair Sports USA and the International Stoke-Mandeville Games Federation. According to these Rules, the Wheelchair Division of the Boston Marathon is reserved for athletes classified as having a disability. Able-bodied individuals may not participate in the Wheelchair Division." Another reason on earth is that doing so might ultimately discourage disabled athletes from competing, though I can't say for sure if that would happen.

Is this really broader than just track? Are there other team sports based on individual performances that really need to have a disabled division? Tennis? Wrestling? Swimming? If you can't field a participant, you forfeit? In track, why limit participation to a particular event? There are records for every distance, plus shot, discus, javelin, and pentathlon? Again, I'm not trying to be a pinhead about this. I just wonder if we've thought it through.

M Movic

At the Paralympics the contestants are further subdivided by degree and type of disability(e.g. above the knee/below the knee amputation). Two years ago at the Iowa HS Boys State Meet there was a boy w/racing wheelchair who totally dominated every race he was in-he could probably score enough points to win the team championship by himself. Some of the other disabled competitors were much less functional...

I doubt in Iowa there will ever be a large enough corpus of HS disabled athletes who also desire to compete.

Regarding able bodied athletes who might train in a chair-why not? It would be an easy way to score lots of points at the state meet. Not exactly on point but last year at the Special Olympics World Championships the team from Spain fielded at least eight members on the basketball team who were not mentally handicapped. Several had college degrees.

Also, last year several high school boys played on their high school softball team (can't remember where)-it messed up the league b/c they were too dominant.

T Chapler

Score them as you would any other event. These athletes should be able to contribute to
their team just like their own teammates.

I think the opposition from this must come from those coaches and supporters who have
forgotten what school sports is all about. Sports are supposed to be fun and allow people
to interact with teammates and other teams and build camaraderie. It should allow
everyone the chance to represent your team and your school.

Too often I hear stories of people who had the 'mean' coach in high school who prevented
them from having a good time and more often then not, the person will not continue
having fun with that sport in the future. School should be the time to have the most fun
with sports.

And I agree that having a wheelchair athlete is no different for one school than another
school having a, excellent distance runner or sprinter or field event specialist who can go
out and win 3, 4 or 5 events and every meet.

L Spencer

I personally see some problems with scoring these events, especially in state competition. The reason for scoring a track meet is to encourage participation and team cooperation. If you get more people involved and are successful in developing all events you are rewarded. At present we, as many schools, do not have any girls in wheel chairs in high school that would be able to participate. So nothing we could do could allow us to compete in these events. This contrasts with schools who do not enter any one in the 3000m. They do have people in school, but just are not doing a good job of getting them involved. Just thought I would let you think about it from a different perspective.

B Henderson- Atlantic

P.S. If they did start scoring this, You would find a few more wheel chair athletes participating which would be good, but I still think a majority of schools in the state would not have any potential wheel chair athletes.

A very tough question. I think the letter floating around by ***** **** clouds the issue instead of seeking a solution. Berating officials on an emotional issue will not help. I will be interested in reading other people reasons for and against, but I do not think the results from a wheelchair race should determine the winner of a track meet. If it is unfair to the wheelchair athlete that his/her points do not count for the team, is it fair that schools without a wheelchair athlete lose points for an uncontested race? High school athletics should be about playing the game, not winning or losing, but then why do we keep score? Every runner wants to win, but the biggest race is against yourself. Can I run a PR? Did I run the best I could? I look forward to other responses, maybe I will change my mind.

J. Swails

While I admire the efforts of the wheel chair athlete I think we need to stop with the "Oprahizing" of everything that happens in this country. What are the schools without disabled athletes suppose to do? Should they have fund raisers so they can
purchase wheelchairs for healthy kids to race in? The authors examples of "extreme" conditions causing low participation in a
couple of isolated incidents is hardly on par with a kid in a wheelchair wanting some team points. The "reach" the author
attempts to use at legitimizing his argument is laughable. The IAHSAA knows what they should do but the pressure of the
Political Correctness Police have hand cuffed them into the "Do what you want" statement. Applaud the efforts of the
wheelchair athletes but don't shove it down the throats of the majority. It would be "real" meaningful for a school to win a
track meet because they were "fortunate" to have 3 kids in wheelchairs doing a solo race. Maybe I am crazy, am I the only
politically conservative runner? What this is really about is Political Correctness disguised as high school athletics.

I do not feel that Wheel Chair events should be scored in high school track meets. I like that they are able to compete but every school does not have wheel chair athletes and so if you scored those events you would give an unfair advantage to those schools.
M. Rozell

One thing that makes Iowa Boys and Girls track team scoring "fair" in my eyes is that, with the different classes, schools are competing for points with other schools with similarly-sized pools of students from which to recruit and develop a team. The number of potential wheelchair athletes is small, and one school may go for years without a candidate athlete to participate in those events. This is not a bad thing; I would not wish anyone the burden of life in a wheelchair, and I hope the numbers of
disabled students remains small. But it is a fact that many schools will not have a potential wheelchair athlete most of the time. If I am a coach and there is not a natural long-jumper in my pool of talent, I can at least try to develop a sprinter into a long jumper to fill the void. Will a coach be able to place a non-disabled shot-putter in a wheelchair event to fill that void? I don't think so.

The scenario which I would not like to see is as follows. Let say Team A has a well-rounded track team and scores 25 points, all in events which were competed in by hundreds of athletes to qualify for state and the top 20 which qualified for state. At the same time Team B has a good wheelchair athlete who wins four events, competed in by a total of 12 athletes. If individual events are worth 7 points each, Team B wins the title.
Granted this is an extreme example; I am not even sure if there are four wheelchair events. But the potential for one good athlete to dominate most of the wheelchair events is arguably higher than the chance of any one athlete dominating more than one of the other events, just by virtue of the pool of athletes available to compete in those events.

For these reasons, I believe the wheelchair events should not be scored at the state meet.


T. Penningroth

I guess there is no concensus!

Back home

What's the best small town race that you've run in this past year?
(June'00 to '01)

On the second full weekend in oct., the Covered Bridge Festival helps set
the stage for a 8K and a 5K . It fell on the same day as "Race for the Cure"
last year, which unfortunately impacted participation. It's beautiful and a
must see during that time of the year.!!

Steve's Run, Dowagiac, Michigan
Long Time Road and Trail race done by Ron Gunn. Superb course, great
feel and awesome volunteers.
Seattle, WA

I love the Sully Freedom Fun run. It is on the Fourth of July and it
displays what a real community is about with a town pancake breakfast and
many other activities. It is also put on by a great coach in Mike

The "Rustic Run". A four mile race in Lost Nation Iowa (7/14)

Back home

Do you think we should attempt to bring Whamm back?

Steve - I never missed a WHAMM race. I enjoyed running a race in my own neighborhood. I also thought it was great to have a race so close to Fitness Sports.
One option would be to make WHAMM a Tuesday or Thursday evening night race. I liked having the race not conflict with Mother's Day.
P. B.

Do you think we should attempt to bring Whamm back? of course! great cause, and no competition for a great spring race....get the word out and get it done!!!
No Name

Yes!!! And it should take place on Mother's Day - we boycotted the event last year when it wasn't held on that special day.
Prior to last year, we had family members from three generations participate in the event each year. It was a great family time - and bring back those long sleeve t-shirts!!!

whamm has always been one of my favorites even though i hate the course. the reason i like it is the family atmosphere. my sons have ran the kids races since they could walk and my oldest has been running the 5k now(started when he was 5). if it can be saved that would be great.
No Name

I am a Windsor Heights Resident, and WHAMM passed by our home. I ran in WHAMM for the first time in 2000, and am glad I didn't wait any longer, if it turns out to be the last. My wife and her mom walked the 5K a few years ago, and my kids ran the fun run that same year. We have never found WHAMM to be a
disruption to us (living on the route) and have enjoyed supporting the
participants as they passed by. Both of our kids are in West Side Track Club,
and I was hoping some day they might run the 5K with me. I would love to see
WHAMM come back.
C. C.

I thought I had missed the WHAMM flyers for the 2001 race. I was
sad to hear that there will no longer be a WHAMM. It was a great
race. It seemed to be a sucessful event. What happened? And
can it come back?
D. S.

No, it's way to hilly and hurts my widdle legs.
Tom H.

No need to bring it back. There are plenty of other runs to chose from. Hopefully the new ones can develop a following.

Back home

Top What should we do to improve the area races?
(try to keep the costs down)

The only replys referred to more awards, but didn't agree on where they should be.
Just as a reference, the Living History Farms race tries to give out 1 award for ever 20 runners in the big age groups, with a minimum of 2 per age group. It's hard to justify 5 awards to 105 runners (in the 35-39 yr group) and 3 for the 5 men in the 55-59 age group of some races.

Top What kind orf cross training do you do to supplement your running?

I mainly swim and lift wieghts. I also do some deep water running. In the summer I do some biking.
J. Y.

Mostly water jog and spinning, but only when nursing some injuries...So far
haven't let weather keep me indoors...

I'm a believer in strength training. I think it is far more beneficial than most runners realize. This year I also learned the effect it can have when recovering from injury(s). The workout I do is tough in some ways but much less time consuming than what might be imagined. My program requires that I lift only three times weekly alternating upper and lower body. IE: one week I lift upper body on Monday and Friday and lower body (and abs) on Wednesday. The following week would be the opposite. I can complete the entire workout (4 sets of decreasing reps/increasing weights, 1 ultra set, and a super set for each of the lifts) in 40-45 minutes). Yes, there is an aerobic componet! I started this new program in January and have really noticed a difference. My running workouts include speed workouts on the track as well as hill work/intervals and running trails. Like most runners, I also bike and just for "fun"I will be getting back to one of my old favorites, tennis, this summer.

I play a lot of B-Ball and am lifting about 4 times a week now.

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Top How many miles a week are you currently running?

I am currently doing about 30- 35 miles a week - almost all on a treadmill. I learned that several residents in Urbandale do not shovel their sidewalks the last time I attempted to run outside while trying to navigate snow drifts and below zero windchills. I am look forward to running outside again when it gets warmer - it does get warmer in Iowa, doesn't it ??

I would pretty much say that I do try to run as much as I can no matter what
the weather conditions are, but this year with all the snow and ice that is
piled up on the sidewalks, it's been pretty tough running, even walking has
been hard. Sounds like just an excuse doesn't it?! So my mileage is behind
last years.

This has been a terrible winter. I started running just short of two years
ago so last winter was my first winter of running. I have had to learn about
treadmills. And if the future is going to continue to be like this year, I
will own one soon. The cold is one thing. I can deal with it down to almost
zero. But the terrible footing is just asking for trouble. With the weather
and business travel, unfortunately not far enough South to escape the winter,
I have had my hands full to keep up to 20 miles a week the last month. Sucks!

This is my 4th week back from a 4 month injury. A little over 40 miles this
week. Maybe 45 next.

I enjoy running outside in the Winter. I have been running about 25 miles a
week. What I don't like, is the ice, but I deal with it.

I'm running 18 miles per week!
J.K. Pella

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Top What's your "running resolution" for the new year?

Running 50 t0 55 mpw somehow in this crazy weather...I long for warmer

This year I want to run at least three times a week without missing. So
far in four weeks, I haven't made it, but I am not giving up yet. Maybe
February will be better .

I used to be a 40-60 mile per week guy, running in and enjoying road races
all over the state, running under 17 for 5k and 35 for 10.....but I had back
surgery 4 years ago, and have allowed myself to put on weight and get out of
shape....My resolution is to get my weight down, and get back into some type
of shape...although I do realize my competitive days are over. I miss it
tremedously. So to all others...take extra care of is so much
easier to stay in shape, than it is to get back into shape...I am currently
doing 25 minutes on the Air Dyne, and 25 minutes on the
treadmill..daily..Thanks for asking! and have a great 2001.....

To run the Dam to Dam and other major running events

Another Marathon!
Number 2. Chicago again, New York, Grandma's, Marine Corps?
Hmmm, which one?

Run my first marathon at Grandma's this June!

My New Year's running resolution is to run a 1/2 marathon every month of the year. I ran my January 1/2 marathon last weekend in Key West, and I'm running my February 1/2 marathon in Ocala, Florida this weekend. I'm looking at your website for my April 1/2 marathon to get back to my Hawkeye roots. (Maybe the First Run Des Moines 1/2 marathon or the Drake Relays 1/2 marathon ?) Wish me luck, Ken Millar Tampa, FL (Univ of Iowa, Class of 1980)

Top Will it make a difference who ends up being President?

Steve, yes, I believe that with Bush stealing the presidency, we will have an
acceleration in global warming and pollution, neither of which will be good
for runners. His policies are 1) he does not believe global warming exists,
thus it should just be "studied" to use his words and 2) "stimulating the
economy" (read "make my rich buddies that gave to my election their payback"
will take precedence over cleaning air, water or preserving lands for
wilderness, parks, farms, etc. His policies may cause irreversible damage. I
believe that runners need to seriously look at joining groups like the Sierra
Club, Greenpeace, the Green Party, etc.
M. L.

Who becomes President does makes a difference for at least two reasons:
1. Supreme Court appointments will be decided and they have a great effect
upon the future.
2. The recent occupants of the White House have been very lacking in moral
leadership and character. While both candidates will be an improvement in
this regard, it is critical and sets an important tone and example for the
young people, the future of America.

No! Why should it??

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Top What will you do to stay in shape over the winter? Do you go inside?

My wife and I like to run outside when it isn't too slippery. We usually run against the wind going out and come back with the wind so we don't have to deal with wind chill and our sweating bodies freezing. When it gets real cold we catch a ride out however far we want to run and then run back with the wind. It's just like summer. It puts fun back into the run. And again you don't have to worry about the wind chill factor. Also I try to run with someone in case of a fall or other problems, but if I have to run by myself I let someone know where I will be running and what time I'll be back;and then I call them when I do return. I learned this the hard way.Years ago I was running by myself and it was 0 degrees out and as I was running through a cementary I slipped on the ice and did a headstand. I was instantly covered with blood from a gash in my head. I was miracleously not knocked out or I would still be out there only 6' under. I managed to get back to town and friend saw me and took me to the doctor's office where it took 6 stitches to close the wound..
Also we wear bright colored clothes or even a bright vest so drivers will have time to react as they see you.We do wear layered running gear with Lifa as the first and most important part because it wicks away the sweat to the outer layers and you don;t feel chilled as you run.I very seldom wear a mask because it really cuts down on my visibility, but I use a stocking hat to control how warm I want to be. Keeping your head warm will go along way in keeping your body warm.
And when all else fails we run on the treadmill, which I usually time it to coinside with a ballgame or something I like to watch on the tube.
J. & J. T.

I will keep on running outside except in real harsh conditions. My limits are winds over 30mph and temps below zero. It has been tough here in November due to the numerous windy days we have had. Hopefully, I will have gotten in enough miles so as to have a successful run at the Disney Half Marathon in January.

Run,what else is there !!??!!

i have to play highschool basketball to stay in shape for track. i run the
3200, mile,800,and occasionally i run in the 4x400 for Madrid High school. As
a Junior in highshool i can't find any clubs or someone to run with indoors
or outdoors. Sure would be nice to find a indoor place to run with out
spending money to get in.


I run just as much as the previous months. The difference is investing
in good winter running apparel, and learning how to layer properly.
Couple this with a good pair of trail shoes and winter running is every
bit as good, in my opinion often better, than warm weather running. I
have run with 30 below wind chills, and honestly not been cold. A good
neoprene face mask makes it so barely any of the face is exposed. For
the tiny part part that is I use vaseline. It's awesome to run on a
still morning with snow flakes coming down, making the stet softer. The
crunching under my feet is music to my ears. The only reasons to not
run in the winter are 1) very icy or blizzard conditions 2) you don't
have the resources for the proper gear. Anything else is an excuse!
Happy Holidays!
D. L.

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Top Why are the Americans unable to come up to International level in the distance events? What's your opinion?

we drive everywhere, even if only for a short errand.

In my humble opinion, Americans are instant gratification fans and supporters. Events such as the shorter distances allow shorter involvement for the fans. The corporate sponsers of athetes and teams acknowledge this and will allocate larger monies for these events. This obviously does not work for the long distance runners in preparing for their goals. Many have to continue training while at the same time seeking an employment which will allow much flexibility since the bills do keep coming.

Top What races will you run this fall. Should we limit the Farm Race numbers, and if so, to what number?

no limit
(no name)

I will run the Beaver Dash, one of the races October 1, and Living history farms run.
Do not limit the entrys unless it becomes uncontrolable. This race was mentioned in the last Runners World as the largest cross country race in the U.S.


Regarding limiting the number of runners in the Living History Farms race, this would be best considered and answered by the event's race director and/or race committee members. It is these people who should fully know the event's organizational problems and limitations. Asking us is comparable to Clinton taking a whiff of voter sentiment before "doing the
right/necessary thing."

( I wrote back that I was the Race director and I wanted "you all's" opinion.)

No way should you ever limit the size of the Farm race!! It is such a celebration of running.The HS and
college kids just finishing there XC seasons along with us old duffers, makes for one heck of a race.
Plus we were mentioned in RW for the biggest offroad race in US.

If the reason to limit the size is to cut down on crowding, isn't there another way to alleviate
the crowding, with starting heats or waves by expected finish times. I enjoy being in a race
with so many crazy runners also willing to participate in such a great event. I think half of
the excitement of the race is how many people continue to do it year after year, no matter the
conditions. The other half is, of course, seeing that many donuts at the finish. Wow!

Check out page 72 of the October issue of Runners World. In the last
paragraph it mentions the Living History Farms Race as the largest cross
country race in America.

I don't know yet what races I'll be running this fall. As for limiting the numbers for the Living History
Farm Run, why limit it if you can manage the current number of entrants. As for an idea, why not invite
Don Kardong to run the race. He mentioned the race in the current issue of Runner's World. Who
knows, maybe who would accept, write an article and make the race an even bigger and getter success.

Robert Umsted

Personally, I don't feel you should limit the size of
the LHFR because it is a race for everyone. I do
think it would be nice if we could avoid the bottle
necks in the beginning of the race though.


dont limit the farms race numbers
the more the merrier

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Top Should we add some monetary awards to the Living History Farms Races this year? Or should we provide a finishers award? What's your opinion?

Stick with the turkeys, ducks, chicken, and so on. That is my opinion! Wouldn't be Living History without them! Thanks!


Unless the event is planning to be an olympic style event, where the runners are requiring assistance monetarily to compete on a worldwide scale (which i doubt is the case), i believe awards are more appropriate. running outfits, shoes and other assorted running gear with a higher dollar value might be nice, but cash doesnt seem to me to be necessary. i also think participation awards to all would be great, in the form of a cap or a pair of running shorts to complement their t-shirts.
jim t

I'd love finishers prizes for Living History Farms! (preferably nothing with feathers or a beak,


The Living History Farms run has become my 2nd favorite race (TCM is
1st), not only because it is a great course run by a bunch of nuts -
self included - but because it benefits a fantastic cause! I would
rather not see any donations diverted away from LHF and put into prize
money. Keep the race what it is, a great opportunity for running freaks
to get muddy, wet and cold; and for some to bring the red dress out of
the closet. All while experiencing and supporting a first rate Iowa


I think giving more awards to winners is great, but, do to the course at living history giving a finishers medals is a super idea..Everyone deserves something for running through that course....Good topic!!

I think anyone who is brave enough to battle the mud, cold, and horse poop definitely deserves something. It takes guts to run that far, through that much crap!

A finishers award would be best.

I think having money at the Living History Farms race is an awful idea. It would detract from the idea that it is supposed to be a fun end of the year race. It would be like a Bix 7 race and would attract all the pros. The emphasis should be put on fun for this race. It wouldn't be the largest xc race in the nation, it would be the largest one with money. It is around Thanksgiving time and we
shouldn't be groping for money and being greedy.

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Top Should athletes be tested for illegal drugs in the trials and Olympics, and should their winnings be taken away. How long should they be penalized?

As for drug testing, I do believe that athletes should be tested at the trials. If an athlete qualifies for the Olympic team with the assistance of performance enhancing or illegal drugs, he/she is prohibiting a "clean" athlete from the opportunity of competing at the Olympics. If athletes are tested at the trials, it allows for the offenders to be removed from the team before having the honor and privilige of representing their country, thereby giving a more deserving athlete the fairly won spot of the team. Should prize money be taken away? Do they even give prize money at the trials? In other meets, they should take prize money that was won under unfair conditions. It should be up to the meet sponsors to determine whether or not they want to give appearance fees to athletes that are not representing the sport in a positive manner, by using performance enhancing drugs.

YES! The use of illegal drugs should be discouraged in every possible way,
regardless of how many atheletes that may be penalized. Is nothing sacred
anymore? Can we not hope for the enjoyment of a purety of atheletic
performance? We have so few lofty goals anymore. Everything is a
compromise. Where should we draw the line? Maybe when the atheletes begin
to drop dead as they cross the finish line? We could then idolize our
atheletes the way we idolize; Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, etc. etc.
Dare we judge? There is no right and wrong anymore.

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Top Give us your opinion of what is a good size race. Is Bix too big? Is DAM to DAM? Or is it just the more the merrier for all you hard core addicts. How far will you drive to partake in events with good reputations.

I've run in races from 70 (Tama) to 4,000 (Iowa City). I've never run BIX,
and wouldn't want to. I race to test my training effectiveness, and the
bigger races are more pomp than circumstance for mid-pack runners like me.
But well-managed races of moderate size, like DtD and Capital Pursuit, are
more appealing, because you see a more competitive environment across the
Tom B.

The more the merrier!
why would you want to limit the size of a race. lets continue to encourage as much participation as possible in physical
fitness. if the size of the race gets real large, break up the age groups to 5 year increments vs. 10. as the size of the race
grows, give awards to 1-5 places, instead of 1st and 2nd, as there usually is.
lets encourage MORE participation
Jim T.

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Top Nike is now Vietnam's largest employer, with 42,000 workers in five factories manufacturing shoes and clothing. Employee turnover is very low, fewer than one in 200 per year, maybe because the $53 per month pay of the typical Nike worker is about twice the salary of the average government official. Is this what you understood from the recent publicity?

This completely changed my perspect on the overseas Nike operatiosn. The
media hype makes it sound much worse than it is, but I guess it is that way
with many things.


Steve: This looks like a very interesting question. Unfortunately, the Nike
publicity you refer to never jumped out of my newspaper. Did Nike have some
publicity? I do know they have a strong marketing department.

Of course this is not what recent publicity would have you believe. I would
have to admit to being a Nike stockholder, as my experience tells me that
they make the best shoes. I am always suspect of liberally biased news

Thanks for confirming what I already expected but was too lazy to research.

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Top What is the best way for a race director to decide on the number of awards in each age group? Should every one who finishes get an award in the older groups even though only 1 out 30 get one in the 20 to 40 age groups? What should the minimum be and why?

I'm glad you asked this question. I can't wait to hear the replies. For the
Heritage Park Triathlon & Duathlon in Olathe, Kansas we use the 1 award to
every 5 entries method. Our age groups are 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34... 90+.
1-5 entries per division = 1 award
6-10 entries per division = 2 awards
11-15 entries per division = 3 awards
16-20 entries per division = 4 awards
20+ entries per division = 5 awards
The above also applies for the Team Categories in the triathlon. Plus, all 3
team members are awarded, not just 1 award per team.
We also have top overall male & female awards, and top male & female masters.
These winners are taken out of the age group awards.

I get a letter from the same man every year (from Oklahoma) telling me he
won't come to our event because we don't give 3 awards in each age group (as
he says they always do in Oklahoma). He tells me that there are a couple of
All-Americans in his age group (60-64) from the Kansas City area that makes
his chances of getting an award zilch, since it's unlikely there will be more
than 10 enter in his age group. He goes on to say, "When I put out as much
effort as it takes to complete a triathlon, I like to think I have a chance
at an award."
In response to this, and also because it's something I had been wanting to
offer, we hung special commemorative finishers medals around everyones' neck
that came across the finish line.
I still want to use age group awards as "awards of excellence in performance"
in ALL age groups. I started running in 1977, and found races soon after.
Even though I have won many great awards, I have missed out on plenty of them
(including prize money) because there were several All-Americans in my age
category. Still, this only motivated me to work harder. As I get older (my
age group is 40-44), I find that awards can still be motivating, but it's not
the main reason why I choose to run a particular event. I also know that when
I turn 60, and I'm running a race in Oklahoma, my views won't change. If
there are 2 other 60 year olds that are in better shape/more talented than
me, then one of them deserve to win the award. I certainly wouldn't want to
win a 3rd place award knowing that there were only 3 of us.

Sorry this is so long. Once I get going...
Anyway, I don't expect this will be something you can post on your web site,
but wanted to express my views to you and get your input.
Thanks, and keep up the good work on!

Jane Tompkins-Lundgren
Heritage Park Triathlon & Duathlon Race Director

All age groups should be in 5 year increments regardless of the # of
participants, and the awards should be 3 deep in every age group. When I am
75, I do not want to compete in the 60 and up age group for an award.

I think 1-3 is enough for each age group. Every age group should have 1-3. If there are only 3
runners in the young and/or old age groups, hopefully it encourages those runners. As for
going 4-12 deep in some age groups in some races, do people actually enjoy a 12th place in
their age group?

The problem with 3 in each age, leaves many extras at some age groups. Some races have
tried to have nice awards with the name of the race, year of the race and place in the age group,
only to have nobody in that age group. Cheaper awards, like red, white and blue ribbons can
help with that problem.

A cheap ribbon would be a better award along with a gift certificate from a local business. For
those who get awards frequently, plaques and medals collect dust.

Most awards are drab medals with no information on them to indicate what the
event was, when it was held, and which age division it pertains to. Taking
this home requires the owner to have a good memory to remember where it came
from unless this information is placed on a note and attached to the medal.
Rather than hand out these droll awards, the race director should spend money
on better shirts, for example, to satisfy all entrants. Let the winners relish
the recognition seen on the results sheet.

For those race directors that provide interesting and more unique awards, the
number for each age division should be a proportion based on the number of
entrants in each division.

For example, if the past years' entrants were about 100 in the 40-44 age
division and there were 50 in the 50-54 division, then there should be twice
as many awards given out in the 40-44 division. How "deep" the awards go
depends on the total number of awards the race can afford. This might mean
there would be only one award in certain "low population" age divisions. So be

Hi Steve,

As a 45-49 woman runner I love to see 3 metals in my age group, then I usually get one! But, I would say I'm disappointed when I see only one metal in the 50-55 age group. Yes, I'll be there some day, but I look to these great women runners, and their still impressive times as a motivator for myself and others in the lower age groups to keep running well into their 60's. I would like to see more metals in the 50 and over age groups. I ran the Drake 1/2 Marathon and paced with an incredible 55 year old woman. We crossed the finish at the same time, I took 5th in the 45-49 age group and she took 2nd in her age group. She left without an award. My reward was taking 9 minutes off my past 1/2 marathon time and staying glued to this great woman's pace throughout the entire race. We need to award these women for their great effort and inspiration and guidance they bring to every race. For me, I plan on running my later years in Hawaii. There they give awards up to 70 years of age and over, but until then I would like to see more awards, up to 3, in the age
groups over 50.
47 years and seconds less every season.

Age division awards is an interesting subject. I see races where almost
everyone in a n age division gets and award and on the other hand I see races
where the number of awards is very limited. Neither of these are any good.
You should not get an award just for showing up, that cheapens the awards. On
the other hand, when they give only first place even if there are 30 or 40 in
a division makes it difficult the runners. Drake is a good example of this.
For the women, there was one place in a division that covered the age
division, 50 and above. What the race officials are saying is if you are a
woman and you are 60 years old and want to place, do not bother with this
race. And for the men there were several older age divisions where only first
place was given. There are less people in these divisions but that is partly
the result of the number of awards in the age division. There may be less
older runners but these are the people that have stuck with racing and there
are races today because they were running 15 years ago. For track events they
give 3 awards, they do not say, well we have only 8 schools in this event,
lets only go 1 deep, or there are only 7 in this event, lets combine it with
the next event. Anyway I feel that any time there is a reasonable number of
entries in a division, maybe 20 or so, they should go 3 deep. maybe at some
point cut it down to 1 award. And at the other end, yes you should have more
awards for the age divisions where there is 100 or 200 runners. In summary,
give awards based on the number of entries but do not be so quick to cut the
number of awards below the traditional 3 awards.

Thank you for your inquire on this issue.

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Top What are the 3 most important things at a road race that makes it a good event?

1. Great crowd support for the leaders and the back of the pack.
2. Excellent organization from pre-registration through the post race (i.e. food and results).
3. A fun, yet serious environment.

The 3 most important things for me at a road race are:
1. Being well organized
2. Ample traffic control
3. Well marked race route

Porta johns at the start point
A well marked run route
You may think these are givens but I've been to several races around the country where these were missing.

I think the most important things that make a road race a good event all involve good organization -
accurate mile markers,
good helpers, and
most of all - food and drink!

Traffic control
Timely results


Every mid-packer shows up hoping this will be the day...cold, wind, ice, heat or the flu sidelines all the
good runners in your age and you might step up to win a medal...only to discover you got third and they
only medal through first place. A good race is when third place always gets a medal.

well marked coarse
water depending on the distance
speedy results and awards

I think the course is likely the most imporant and condition of the course..I don't like looking down to avoid potholes...
I get the most out post race chat and listening to the guys calling the race...They do a great job and make it fun!!! All in
all the people and organizer's and volunteers make it a blast!! That will keep runners coming

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Top How many of you have changed brands of footwear in the past year? Were you satisfied? What's is you favorite shoe of the past 5 years?

In the last year I have switched from Asics Gel Lyte to Nike Air Tuned Max 99. I have been very satisfied with the switch, although the Asics Gel are a very good shoe as well. My favorite shoe in the last five years is the current pair I am running in, the Nike Air Tuned Max 99.

Nike Air Structure Triax!!!!!!!! The more miles I ran the more the insides
of my ankles hurt. Fitness Sports turned me on to Air Structure Triax and I
have not had any problems since.
Tim F

I have not changed shoe brands in the last 5 years, or the last 10 years. I give the Brooks Addiction my vote for best shoe. S.D.

I haven't changed brands in the past year. My favorite brand is New Balance.
Hi Steve, hope all is well in Des Moines. This is J. S. in Cedar Rapids,
hope to see you at Dam to Dam.

I haven't changed brand of footwear since I started running in high school track. I have always been a Nike
wearer, the only thing that changes is the style that I purchase. R.U.

I recently (in the past two years) switched from Adidas brand to Asics &
am pretty satisfied with the move. Asics GT2040 has worked really well
for a lightweight trainer. I am currently using the upgrade GT2050
right now & am still satisified.

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Top Do you wear racing shoes to race in and do speedwork. Explain why, or why not.
What about using Power Gel, GU, etc.

A - i don't use racing shoes to do speedwork or to race in. as a
recreational runner, i try to keep the cost down & not buying racing
shoes is an easy way to do that. instead i opt to keep new/fresh
training shoes in my running wardrobe & use those for speedwork and
racing. my theory - it's the speed of the feet that make the
difference, not the shoes.

Over the past two months, I have experimented with energy foods, and I find
the outcome most dramatic.
With Power Gel taken twice daily, it is now possible to run track workouts
in combat boots at the same pace as when using racing shoes in the past.
Because of this, I know my race times this season will be much improved as I get
into the more svelte racing shoes for race day.

I am in Team in Training and just tried Power Gel on my last 20 miler.
It was a pain in the rear to carry but I could not believe how much of
an energy boost it gave me especially in the last five miles. They felt
good and I could have kept on going. Also, I do think it helped in
terms of recovery because I felt pretty good following the run and was
able to function normally on Saturday and throughout the weekend. My
last 20 miler, I felt tired and had a headache for the rest of the day.

I wear lightweight flats for all speedwork (except tempo runs), 10K's
and under. Probably just mental, but I swear I feel faster, especially
when I start to get tired. It's cool to feel like I don't even have
shoes on too, especially after training in a heavier pair. Regarding
power gels, I have used them and although I know they help, I can't
stand them. Something about the taste/consitency of them makes me dry
heave every time I put it in my mouth. Good advertising huh?

I tried Power Bars when I started running with the Marathon Training Group
on Saturdays for the first time. Guess what, after one hour, it was frozen.
Very difficult to eat. I tried GU for the first time before doing a 10
miler. It was like majic. I was running out of gas after 5 miles. 10
minutes after GU, new energy. Worked just like they said it would. So if
you haven't, try it.

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Top Are you willing to pay the .50 to $1.00 fee for registering on line? Should all the races do it?

I would be willing to register online only if vital information is available to be printed off. Such as the
following: 1. directions to the start - not all of us know where the races are at; 2. packet pickup times and
location; 3. start time. Where I moved from in Ohio, they provided all of these items but know that not all areas
provide this important information.

Personally, I think registering on-line is an
excellent option! For 50 cents I wouldn't be saving
much when you consider the stamp I would have to buy
to mail in my entry form. I think it is a great

I used activeusa to register for Drake. It was a very easy process. It only cost .60 A stamp
was gonna be .33 anyway.
I would register online for any race I could, and don't think a small fee is out of line.

Yes I am more than willing to pay a fee to register on line for a race,
but if it is being done by ActiveUSA (Racegate) forget it. They should
be paying us to use their service it is the pits. You were right in your
email a while back concerning races using Racegate. How about enforcing
it and not listing those races on your website? There are other online
entry services that do a great job. None of us should support one that
has such poor customer service as ActiveUSA.

On-line registration should be curtailed, especially for
races that limit the number of runners. Marathons in
particular are filling up way too early. People are being
forced to register (and pay!) way before they know if
they're going to be ready for the race. On-line registering
only fills up the race quicker.
Tom C.

Most of the time, in my experience, the shirts and medals are long ago
paid for before the race officials know someone is not going to show.

Steve, My point is that on-line registration in limited field races is forcing extra early registration which in turn increases the number of no-shows. A race like Twin Cities Marathon need not buy a shirt and medal for every entrant because they know that 20 to 25 percent of them won't cross the finish line. Extremely early registration only increases the dropout rate. I'm sure that after all these years the TCM officials have become
very good
Tom C.

Race Registration On-Line? Yes, it is an excellent idea. I have done it.

I think it is a good idea. I have done it once, Drake this year, but
they messed up and didn't have a spot to identify which race we were
doing. So it goes to show it's fallable. I think .50 is a good charge,
with $1 being a bit steep. Hope to see more race forms this way.

New Hartford

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Top Which course do you like best of the area races. Not the overall race, just the course.

i like the living history farms course the best. it was long but the creeks
and fences add the needed excitment in the race. i think that this course was
the best it has ever been.

Midnight Madness, Dam to dam & that "stupid race" at Living History Farms. I'm not sure which one I hate worse, the heat or the mud. They're all "greeeeaaaatt!

Dam to Dam is in a class by itself. It is a national caliber race.

The best by far is Living History Farms. Nothing compares. S H

Parelized Vets run, flat and very fast. I also enjoyed Living History and Dam to Dam.

Living History Farms, there's nothing like it! M B

Damm to Damm--B

Would have to be Capital Pursuit. You go through areas that are in other race courses, and this helps to break up an otherwise
tough ten-miler.

My favorite courses are Dam to Dam and Dash the Past.

Top What events are you aiming for this 'Spring'? I don't mean 'Summer'! Before June!

here are the races that I plan to participate in:
March 26 Friendly Sons of St. Pat 10k
April 1 First Run Des Moines 1/2 marathon
April 8 Jennifer Pham Memorial Run 5k
April 29 Drake Relays 1/2 Marathon
May 6 Altoona May Day 5k
May13 Dash the Past 5k

Drake Half Marathon, Dam to Dam 20K, Midnight Madness, Capital Pursuit,
Chicago Marathon.

I am planning on running the following:
1. Round the Loch Half Marathon & 5K - Emmetsburg 3/18
2. Either: April Fools Run 5K - Cedar Falls/Spring Fever 4 - Marshalltown 4/1
3. Race for the Health of It 8K - Waterloo 4/8
4. 20th Riverfest Run - Iowa City 4/30
5. Klompen Klassic - Pella 5/10
6. WHAMM - Windsor Heights 5/21
That doesn't include some in other states that I am looking at.

The season started with the Iowa Games 5K. Nice, challenging course
(What else can you expect in Dubuque) with practically no snow or ice on
it. March 12th I am running 10 miles of a 42.5 mile relay put on by the
Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City. March 18th, the Gaelic Gallop 8K in
Dyersville. Nice parade after the race for St. Patty's day. April
Fool's 5K in George Wyth State park in Cedar Falls, April 1. April 29th
the Drake half marathon. 5 races before June, not too bad!

New Hartford

Top How do you get your training in in the winter? Where, when, special adjustments you make.

I keep going outside unless it is icy. It doesn't really matter as to what the temperature is. If it is to icy out, I try to wait later into the day, but
if it doesn't look like it will melt, I do my run on the treadmill or just adjust my off days.
The major adjustment I make is to just slow down a little and take a shorter stride to make sure I have proper footing.

Simple, dress for the weather, and have the right attitude to run
anywhere (I choose the streets, plowed preferably). For dress, forget
the sweatshirt and sweat pants. Cotton stinks for runners. My running
experience was transformed when I discovered Nike dri-fit/ACG clothing.
Layer, layer, layer. Dri-fit long sleeve and a fleece is all I need for
weather above 28 degrees, unless it's windy (breaker, with reflective
material). At anything less, all the way down to minus 18 wind chill I
just add a pullover ACG top. Headband is a must, fleece gloves. I wear
ACG tights, the thick ones for anything under 32, my thin ones for over
32 and I double them for anything under 15 degrees. Oh, and a wrap
around poly face mask does the trick for temps below 25. Doesn't hurt
to smear Vaseline on the cheeks that are not covered, and use something
for your lips too. Trail shoes are a must for the snow, ice and slush.
They make a HUGE difference. My attitude? Nothing short of weather
advisories will stop me. Some of my funnest runs come from ice cold
mornings when I can see my breath and the ice is hanging on everything
in sight, including my eyelashes and brows. plus, I like to think about
all the folks staying inside, waiting for the thaw. Those first couple
races in the early spring will leave them winded, and I'll be ready!

Have to slow down in snow and ice to prevent injury from falls, but hey,
it's worth it!

I just joined the YMCA and started running on their in-door track. It
certainly isn't ideal, but this is my first year of running and when winter
came is did create new problems. I have been surprised at how cold I am able
to still run. Down to 10 degrees. But the footing has been a greater
problem. Sidewalks that don't get shoveled are a problem. And landing on a
soft inch or two of snow is pleasant. But pushing off becomes tiring. So
I'm working on distance on Saturday mornings with the training group, and
hoping not to get too far behind the rest of the week with business travel
and all. I can't wait for spring.

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Top At what temperature (Low & high) should a race be cancelled. What other weather conditions should cause it.

There is no temperature too cold to run a race. The fast ones can't complain; they're done in 16 minutes so they won't even get cold. The slow ones, like me, just need to put on more stuff. Buy some schnazzy cold-running clothes from you-know-who and show up. LM

Temperature should not be a factor. According to the USATF, a race may
be delayed due to lightning, but give no other guidelines. I have held
Marathons in +7 degree weather (-15 wind chill) and over 85 degrees with
high humidity. How many
wossies are complaining? GM

In the cold, I don't think that temperature should matter. I have been out
on days in which the temperature is in the single digits and is bearable and
also have been out on days in which the temperature is in the teens and
unbearable. The key is the wind and the wind-chill. If the wind-chill is
below zero, I think the race should be rescheduled. There is nothing worse
than running into a terribly cold head wind during a race. In the heat, I
think that between 90-95 degrees should be the cut-off.

Other conditions in which I would cancel a race are: icy streets, hail,
threat of tornado, etc. JTM

low : 10 - 20 degrees with a wind shield factor or unsafe running
condition with ice

high : 80 - 90 degrees and sunny without shade. Good Questions!!

Temperatures are not as much of a concern to me as Ice and lightning. I think
if the streets are icy or if it is lightning, the race should be canceled.
There is too great of a risk of serious injury from either of these
conditions. Cold temperatures, I think that this is more of a problem for the
volunteers than the workers. I have run in weather that was so cold, I now
wonder why I did it. I think that if we are talking about a 10 K race though,
the truly hardy can run even at below zero conditions. I would say that if
the wind chill is less than -22 though (that is the temperature that the
weather bureau says that there is a severe danger) the race should be
canceled. As far as the heat is concerned, I have run the midnight madness at
temperatures in the upper 80s. It taxes the body but I think that with water
stops it is doable. I would say that if the heat index is above 95 or so, it
should be canceled. RN

Top Is the New Years Eve, non smoking, Capital Striders Party and Millineum Run of interest to you? will you attend?

new year's run
Thu, 30 Dec 1999 15:05:49 -0800
The New Year's Eve run is of great interest to me as an
alternative to all other over-hyped events going on in smoky
venues across the city. Unfortunately, I felt the need to
commit to making some plans for the evening before I found
out about this race. I'm sure I'll have much more advance
notice before the next millenium run. I might do well in my
age group too! MS

New Year's Eve nonsmoking party and run
Wed, 22 Dec 1999 13:51:54 -0600
Steve: I'd love to come; it is a great idea. And any year but this year I
probably would come. Probably do Mark's 100's on the 100 (or at least 75's)
first. But this year, because of the millenium, we'll stick close to home.

I hope it's a success ,and that we can do something similar next year.

Tom B.

Millenium Run
21 Dec 99 19:55:29 CST
Millenium Run sounds like a great idea and a nice, fun evening. Unfortunately,
the Capital Strider board must have dilly-dallied in getting the word out
because other plans for us have been made. Maybe next year.

New Year's Eve run
Tue, 21 Dec 1999 10:27:42 -0600
I would love to attend the New Year's Eve event, but I'm not sure that my
husband will want to go. In fact, I know he won't! He's a non-running couch
potato. I'd rather spend the evening together and put aside what I would
really like to do. KM

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Top How many races did you participate in this year? 1. By Running? 2. By Volunteering? Which one was the best?

I did
Dam to Dam 5K
Clive Running Fest
Capital Pursuit 5K
and Living History Farms.

I'm just a new (slow) jogger and I enjoy the friendliness that I've felt in each of these races in Des Moines. It's been fun to be involved and it helped me buy a new pair of shoes at a discount in June AND attend a performance at the Ingersoll Dinner Theater for half price. Thanks for the fun!!

Ran 13 races and enjoyed everyone but, Dam to Dam was the best. I
volunterred for the capital pursuit because of injury. Actually enjoyed
helping out, and would do it again. B S.

Just started running races this year.
PATH, Race for the Cure, Living History! Ran all three. Living History was probably the best.
On a positive note, Todays Living History was a blast. I had never run it before. Good way to end the year, great race, great people, "young crowd was a little bit rambunctious at times, i.e.) mud fight, intentionally tripping one another, etc.", A little constructive criticism would be splitting up the group next year. Maybe 3 starts instead of one big one. With so many runner's ,I would have enjoyed the race more w/out all of the congestion. The only other recommendation would be to have a longer course 10+ miles.
M. G

i participated in 4 non school event races. I ran in all of thoes races. I
liked the Living History farm the best. It was so much fun. Anon.

I raced in 10 races this year and volunteered for approximately 25, including
five of those I raced. The five that were races only were all out-of-state
except for the Drake Relays On-the-Roads.

Started Running in May of this year.
Ran in 10 Races:
Dam to Dam 5K
Clive Festival 5K
Sioux City Music in the Park 5K
Ames Midnight Madness 5K
Capital Persuit 5K
Dome to Home 5K
Indianola Baloon Festival 5k
Race for the Cure
USMC Toys for Tots 8K
American Cancer Society, Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisc. 4.2 Mile
Had a great time. Will continue next year.

Hi Steve. I did 5 organized runs this year. My fav was the Marine Corps


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Top 11/8/99
Is it realistic for Des Moines to try to put on a Marathon and if so, when and where. Would you rather run it or go out of town. the good dates may be taken.

Regardless of what the course would be, a marathon in Des Moines would continue to suffer from lack of participation until it became a "happening,"i.e. a fun event to do.

Some marathons provide a scenic backdrop like Redwoods, Lake Tahoe, etal., that attract runners who are enthralled with the beauty of the landscape.Since we are stuck with simple Iowa terrain, we will never be able to offer spectacular scenery.

Perhaps the main reason the major marathons are popular is due to city wide interest in their event. Politicians, newspapers, and all the media hype the event which encourages the average citizen to take an interest and even be a spectator. That is why we enjoy our Boston, Chicago and Twin Cities Marathons.....the cheering and excitement of those people lining the streets. That is why Dam to Dam runners enjoy the encouragement of the Oak Park neighborhood after climbing out of the river valley.

Secondarily would be the pre- and post-event activities and the course itself.

We presently have elected officials in key positions (Mayor Daniels and Gov. Vilsack) who are runners/joggers and could lend considerable support and guidance in a marathon undertaking. There are a goodly number of runners working for the print and television media who could add to marathon support.

And the course...perhaps a marathon could be routed through Des Moines and other Polk county suburbs with each jurisdiction doing its part to support their route section. Part of that support could be recruiting neighborhood associations to each become their own version of the Oak Park "hospitality crew." L.C.

Drake had a marathon and discontinued it. I think it should be
reinstated as part of the Relays celebration.

Happy running,

I think that DSM can support a marathon. Just look at the some of the
smaller cities in the area that draw decent numbers of runners - Quad Cities,

It may take a gimic or perhaps a lot of marketing to get people here for the
initial marathon; however, I think that once people are in DSM they will
recognize what it has to offer and come again.

I think that it should be run 3-4 weeks after the Drake Relays - making the
Relays a good prep run. Also, it is still relatively good marathon weather
in May and a 7am start should ensure a cool run.

The course should finish/end downtown and should probably have some sort of
out&back loop or two loops of the same course to double up on water stations
to limit the reliance on needing too many volunteers. I haven't thought
specifically of the course. If something comes to mind, I will e-mail it to
you. Thanks!

Yes-something to give us a late spring (third week in May) alternative to
Grandma's, but perhaps beat the heat. Marathon to Marathon is not going to
be the one to attract very many people.W.H.

I see no reason why we shouldn't host a marathon. I think if we had it early
March that would set us apart from other local marathons. The runners around
here are tough enough to train in the winter months. Maybe the key would be
to add a marathon distance to an already successful race (that's early in
the season) such as the red flannel run. You definitely couldn't hold one
this time of the year with New York, Chicago, and Twin Cities so close. I
wasn't located in central Iowa when the Drake marathon was held but how well
was it publicized? Also I think the internet can really help some of these
events. When I need information on marathons I skip my Runners World and go
straight to the web to places like yours. I don't understand why this is
even a question when we have other marathons in the state where the running
population is a lot smaller (Okoboji, Mason City, etc.). I know certain
people say that we only have a couple hundred people in Des Moines who run
marathons but I feel like you could pull runners from places like Iowa City,
Kansas City, Omaha, etc. C.G.

If Des Moines were to have another marathon I think many people would run it.
The question is how many people would be willing to help put on such a large
event. You will need more than you had turn out for Capital Pursuit and even
then I felt it was too few.
The marathon would need to encompass more that Des Moines. No loops! By
routing the marathon through the Des Moines Metro you would eliminate the
need for loops. The marathon should go through the suburbs just like the New
York Marathon does. New York has the five burroughs, so do we (Des Moines,
W. Des Moines, Urbandale, Clive, and Windsor Heights). It would be nice if
these communities would join together to make it a memorable race. Have each
city responsible for its own water stops and volunteers. These are just some
ideas. I think having a marathon is also a great idea. Hopefully in the
future it will become reality. RW

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Top 11/1/99
A great comment
'HERE' on the "nationality of runners" question.Tell us what you think about pushing through naturalization process.


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Top Sat. morning races have been sparcely attended except for Race for the Cure (which is really more of a walk than a race). Is there something race directors should be doing better? Does football get in the way?

I think you guys do a super job!!! Well organized..Some of the decline
could be colleage kid's back at school. Personally, fall racing
is the best...G. P.

I think it is more result of the numerous races that were held this fall. On
one weekend, October 10-11 there were 4 races in the area. I think the
previous week there were 3 races. This tends to water down the crowd. Also,
there are typically a number of people training for fall marathons so they
typically do not wish to run in too many races because it interferes with
their training schedules. R. N.

In the Fall, Saturday mornings are sucked up by little kid Soccer and big kid Cross Country meets. Love the Sunday morning
races. L. M.

I think there should be more races in neighborhoods. Somehow race directors
need to get together with the neighborhoods there holding these races in and
get people out in there front yards. It seems like a lot of these races are
just pay your money run the 5KM and go home. If you look at the big races in
Des Moines they all attract a lot of people by getting the community involed.
Just another side point. When is Des Moines going to get together and hold a
marathon? By looking at the results of many local marathons Des Moines is
usually represented pretty well. I ran in Grandma's last year and during the
race I kept thinking about how nice it would be for Des Moines to host event
like that. I feel like people that participate in that event leave Duluth
with a good feeling about there city and the local residents (I did). Duluth
is no bigger than Cedar Rapids yet it can draw 8,000 partipants each year.
Someone needs to take the lead in organizing an event like this. I'm not
saying that we could get 8,000 runners because we couldn't but Grandma's
started out with 150 runners in 1977. Out of those 8,000 people each year I
bet a half of them would never have visited Duluth ( I wouldn't have). When I
look at events like Dam to Dam and the Living History Farms race I know that
we could put together a killer marathon. Lets get going on this and put Des
Moines on the map when it comes to running. Sorry to go on so long.

C. G.

Could it be that the ever more popular marathon is the culprit? I know
I entered only a few races this fall due to the conflicts the events
posed to my marathon trianing. Hard to go out and race a 5 or 10K when
you have a 20 miler on the weekend. The Chicago marathon alone is
thousands of people bigger than it was one or two years ago, and TCM
grows yearly as well. Lots of competetors come from Iowa. Would be
interesting to see if you have a database of Iowa marathoners from year
to year, and see if the list has grown. My guess is many of them would
have run shorter fall races if they were not preparing for the Big One.
Anyhow, that's my possibile reason. Be interested to hear other

D. L.
New Hartford IA

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Top Should people who accidently go off course be disqualified. It's has to come down to a 'Yes' or 'No' Q!

Yes, if it results in a shorter course. G.R.

Sometimes people get off course because there were no people directing them
as to the proper location of the turns. If a person wins because they
accidentally cut the course short, they should be DQed. However if a person
ended up missing a turn and returned to the course and the result was either
that they ran the same or greater distance, they should not be DQed. I have
missed turns in small races and as a result ran two blocks long. This is no
reason to be DQed. I also ran long in the Governors cup because there was no
one at 18th street directing the 10 K runners to go to Ingersoll. Myself and
the three runners ahead of me had gotten into the back of the 5 K runners and
the person at that intersection was apparently taking a break because we all
ended up going up Grand and eventually up into terrace hill. When we realized
the mistake we did not return to 18th street but ran over to Ingersoll via
the drive at the Office Depot. Given that Ingersoll and Grand are diverging
between 18th and the Office Depot, we actually ran further than if we had
taken the proper route. This was the fault of race workers, not the racers.
So I think each circumstance has to be evaluated on its own. R.N.



Yes, unless they get back on the course where they left it and complete the

yes, absolutely dq'd! G.M.

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Top 10/11/99
How important is it that a course is accurate? Does it have to be as advertised in brochure or just so you know what it is on race day?

From J.H.

I think it is pretty important to have a course be as accurate as possible to achieve possible PR's and monitor progerss. The brochure should be the guide to the race. I think it should also be accurate so the runner can prepare for the upcoming race and have a clear picture of the course in his/her mind. It's disappointing to find out later that the course was either short or long.

from R.N.

I do not think a course has to be certified but it should at least be close to the advertised distance. It especially anoys me when the course has a hair pin turn and than the course is off by a 1/4 mile. That trun around point could have been put at the proper distance. Even when there are two courses that start and finish together, both should be reasonally close. Like with the Governor's cup. They could have routed the entire group over to Ingersoll to give the 5Kers a bit more distance or they could have had two start lines and simply started the front line a minute or so before the second start line.

I strongly feel that the course accuracy is the most important aspect of a race. For any serious runner or anyone who is trying to run faster than the last time, an accurate course is vitally important. It leaves a sour feeling when you finish a race and you know that the course was "short" or "long". It is not difficult to measure a course. I have done it many times walking the entire race distance with a measuring wheel. It just takes somebody that is interested in putting on a quality race.

What do you mean "How important is it that a course is accurate?" Would you ask Michael Johnson if it is important to him that 400 meters really be 400 meters? Or, just tell hime after the race?
That is like your car mechanic asking you if it makes a difference whether all the bolts all tightened on the new clutch being installed.
If a race director cannot guarentee an accurate course then it should be made WELL KNOWN by printing in the race entry form so all entrants will be so advised and make the choice of whether or not to avoid the event. Otherwise, the race director is incapable of doing his/her job.
Sometimes there are screw-ups race Dam to Dam and Midnight Madness this year. But that is a different situation since the courses are certifide to begin with.
It is sad when a runner in the top ten, or a mid packer, or anyone else, who does a "personal best" has to place an asterisk by his/her time because it had to be figured by interpolation.
Again, a race director is responsible for course measurement.

And finally from the man himself, the regional USA T&F representative who certifies courses;

It SHOULD be very important. But it appears that to most runners, it isn't. Take, for example, the most recent race in Des Moines, the Governor's Cup 5 km which was obviously short. Several of the runners (all who were questioned) didn't seem care at all about this. In fact, they seemed to relish the fast time - even though they KNEW, or strongly suspected, the course was short.

In some states, accurately measured courses is a much higher priority for the participants than in Iowa. The prevailing attitude of these runners is that the basis for any race is an accurately measured course and an accurate time. If an entry fee is paid, these things should be expected.

There are about nine certified courses in the Des Moines area. What percentage is this of the total number of races? If more runners in this area really cared about such things and made their feelings known to the race officials, the race director would probably see to it that the course was the correct distance.

So, to answer the question, how important is it that the course be accurately measured to the advertised distance - apparentely not too.

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