May 4, 2009

Detroit Honors Red

I just got an email I have to share with everyone!

The organizers of the Detroit Marathon have invited me to participate in a seven-person advisory committee - a sort of "focus group" to help them figure out what they did wrong and what they did right last year so that THIS year they can put on the best possible race. What an honor!!!

I have to admit, I sent a rather scathing email to them last year after the race because I was so frustrated about the way they handled the race start. Since the race takes runners over the Ambassador Bridge - the bridge between the USA and Canada - and part of the bridge was closed to construction, it made for a very narrow lane for a lot of runners. I'm not sure there was any good way to handle this, but the manner they chose was the worst option! Instead of having runners of the same pace start together, they let ALL the marathoners and ALL the walkers start 5 minutes before the half marathoners. The bridge (aka bottleneck) is 3 miles away from the start. Now try to imagine the quicker half marathoners catching up to the slower marathoners and walkers as they approach the bridge - PURE CHAOS!!! I've never been so frustrated in a race. I had to stop and walk a dozen times (or more). After the race, I let them know the split start wasn't smart! Now I sort of feel bad about it! I suppose I now have a chance to redeem myself.

There are several things they did right. Parking is never an issue in Detroit. The course is cool - what a view from the bridge!! And the Detroit skyline viewed from Windsor across the river is simply breathtaking. There was plenty of aid and the expo was great. I'll be sure to tell them all this too!

The bonus is free marathon gear and race entries, VIP race morning treatment and other goodies! I'd do it even without that stuff, but the freebies are just icing on the cake! I guess I know which Fall marathon I'm doing now. I was trying to decide among three - Detroit, Grand Rapids and Run Woodstock (trail). :-)

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