I thought it would be
fun to do 2 National 50K Championships in one year. The second one
was the running championship on Mar 7, 2010. It had a median finish
time of 5:02 and a dead last time of 7:54. Michael Wardian and Yolanda
Flamino were the winners at 2:55:50 and 3:34:26. 18 of 127 entrants
DNF’d (14%) compared to 7 of 25 (28%) in the walking race
who DNF’d or DQ’d. Again, women showed that they finish
what they start, as 32 of 35 finished, while 4 of 4 finished the
walking race. Besides me, there was one other racewalker who started
and finished the race.
The windshield temperature
ranged from 32 to 56F from the start at 8:30 to 3pm. There was a
strong wind which averaged 11 mph, which kept most people in two
layers on top throughout the race.
The course was a 5K loop. It consisted of a .1 mile stretch from
the start/end to the beginning of a 2.4 mile round loop around the
park. This was followed by a .5 mile narrow out and back on a road
with an uneven surface, then a .1 mile stretch from the circle to
the start/end. The entire loop was nonstop rolling hills with three
medium hills per loop. You barely noticed them until loop 8 and
then they slowly turned into mountains by loop 10. The park had
plenty of shade, and we had plenty of company from 25K runners,
bicyclists and other casual users of the park. There was a red-tailed
hawk sighting on loop 8. Water/Gatorade stations were located at
the start/end and halfway through, and there was plenty of various
types of food at the end of the loop. There were mile signs at the
one, two and three mile distance, and they were accurate and reliable.
The race started and
we got underway. The first loop was fun as we saw the beautiful
park for the first time. The out and back was scary during the first
3 loops as faster runners lapped us on the narrow uneven surface.
After an hour, the 25K runners started, and the park was at its
densest for two hours. By this time, however, we were so spread
out that it felt comfortable, and it was easy to be lapped.
Since there was no judging,
this race was psychologically easy for me, and I really had no trouble
until the 9th loop. By that time, the hills began getting bigger,
longer and higher. Interpolating between the first and second mile
of the 9th loop, I passed the marathon in 4:43:28. Again, this was
one of my faster times. The remainder of the race was fun, though
I was tired by this time. I came in around 5:42, picked up my medal,
met my friends, ate some soup and cookies and went home.
Which race was my favorite?
Surviving a judged 50K is the acme of the career of any casual racewalker.
I will be prouder of that finish than of any other single finish
on my resume. However, the Caumsett race beat the Surprise race
in all aspects of customer service. The Greater Long Island Running
Club allowed runners to bypass the USATF registration with its idiotic
requirements, it had a better website with more information, better
food, a race and distance specific race shirt (as opposed to no
race specific shirt) and all finishers received a race and distance
specific finishers medal (as opposed to a generic racewalk medal
to award winners only). Emailed questions were immediately answered
(as opposed to ignored) The race director provided a free shuttle
from the nearest train station for the benefit of NYC residents
who do not own cars, and there was no requirement to show up the
night before to pick up your number. I would do this race whenever
this weekend is free.