Thursday, October 11

Is smaller better?

There's a fascinating post at a Chicago Tribune blog about fitness. Quite a few posts recently on the Chicago Tribune.

The blog in question by Julie Deardorff compares the Chicago Marathon to the Milwaukee Marathon, which also happened last weekend. However Chicago had tens of thousands more people.

The lead of Deardorrf's post captures her theme: "Back in April, when registration for the Chicago Marathon closed six months before the actual race date, I wrote that the field was too crowded and it ruined the race."

While the Twin Cities weren't as crowded as Chicago, they were more crowded than Milwaukee. Probably the most crowded race I've run. Ironically, I didn't talk to any of the other runners where in the past I did strike up periodic conversations with people.

Do you prefer larger marthons or smaller ones? A less crowded would be preferable to me next time.


Blogger R said...

We've talked about this before, I think--of the two I ran, I liked the larger marathon better, because there were crowds all along the race course to cheer us on. The smaller race didn't have as many people cheering.

Maybe I'll change my mind when I'm running for time instead of just to complete the course.

October 12, 2007 10:36 AM  
Blogger KWK said...

I personally like medium to large races. The crowds help immensely, and I like the feeling of having people all around me. Come to think of it, it's the same sort of vibe I like when I go out dancing. As long as people don't restrict my movement, I'm really happy being surrounded by a huge throng.
Before I had established my sub-4 hr time, weaving in and out of the crowd during the first mile was pretty annoying, but once I got in the sub-4 corral, I didn't have that problem.

October 12, 2007 11:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Evans said...

The three I've run ranged from 1,100 to 4,000. The next one I plan to run has a 1,000 runners cut-off. I've run over 30,000 miles alone in training. I hate large crowds. The chaos disturbes me.

It seems that others love the crowds and thrive on the frenetic energy.

To each his own.

October 12, 2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger bl said...

All the fans were nice.

Perhaps I just need to get up into the sub-4 hour corral. Then I wouldn't feel like I needed to fight the urge to weave.

Like I said, I do wonder if I went out too slow.

October 12, 2007 1:42 PM  
Blogger MS said...

For what it's worth, one marathon I did this year was almost exactly 100 times larger than another one (San Diego = ~16,000 finishers, Abilene, KS = 157 finishers).

It's hard to say whether one is "better" than the other. On the one hand in San Diego there was someone along pretty much the entire 26.2 miles, both on and off the course, so you were never really alone, and during the first half or so that helped keep me psyched up.

In Kansas, on the other hand, I probably saw four other runners and (before to the finish line area) maybe a dozen spectators in the last 7 miles. At the time I was fighting hard to get a Boston-qualifying time, and it wasn't till the last mile or two whether I knew if I would make it.

For most of that it was just me alone, fighting my fatigue internally - sort of a man vs. self conflict. And in hindsight, I think cheering crowds lining the route in that stretch would have only distracted me and made me lose focus. So I'm glad I was alone.

October 13, 2007 3:33 PM  

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