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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jim Spivey Comments on LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

The tale of the 2007 Chicago Marathon broadens. While the media, and some runners claim water stations were unprepared for the heat with insufficient water, others claim that there was water, but not enough volunteers.

The fundamental questions are twofold: Should the marathon have been stopped, and will the controversy surrounding the marathon impact Chicago's chances at landing the 2016 Olympics.

What's my opinion? I don't know, especially as far as Olympic chances go. Jim Spivey, three-time Olympian (and coach of the Jim Spivey Running Club with which I am happily running) suggests that, for health reasons it both makes sense and has been done before, citing the Rotterdam Marathon. However, health always should trump public relations and financial gain.

CBS quotes Jim:
"There's people out there today, grumpy, [saying] I wanted to finish that race, but I think for health reasons for the city of Chicago it was the right decision," three-time Olympian Jim Spivey said the day after the race. "It's also not unprecedented because Rotterdam, this year, they cancelled their marathon as well. They were running it and halfway through they stopped it."
story: Three Questions Hanging Over Chicago Marathon

video (two minutes)

My basic thought: When health issues come into play, leaders of such major athletic events must make a hard decision, even if, in the process, it ticks off a lot of people and hinders a coveted Olympic bid. If, in the course of ending the marathon early, lives are saved, who dares criticize them?

Would I run the Chicago Marathon in 2008? Yes, if I'm in shape and ready to run the distance well. Carey Pinkowski has an excellent record of organizing a top-quality race. Next year will be no different. If I get to 23 miles, the heat is unusually high, and he calls the race, I'll be ticked, but alive.

1 comment:

Annie said...

I have no quarrel with the decision to stop the race -- what I did find, as a back-of-the-pack runner, however, was that they did not communicate with us well.

We got messages that the clocks were stopped, that there was no more water, that we wouldn't be allowed to cross the finish... none of which was true.

In the 5-hour finish range, all they did was slow us down, which I think made sense, and they did fully support us and let us finish. Again, I have no problem with this. But they should have communicated better -- hearing that there's no more water at mile 19, with 7.2 miles to go, is daunting to say the least!