Race Failure

This past Wednesday I tried to race. Yes, tried. Unfortunately, I did not succeed.

I left my house, as usual, much too late, and by the time I got to the park where the 5k was held, it was close to race time. And by the time I actually found the starting line it was about a minute and a half to race time. Needless to say, they did not let me sign up.

But I had made the long trip (all 15 minutes of it) out there to run, and dammit, I was going to run. And then the race coordinator kindly warned anyone thinking of racing without a number (race bandits) not to do so, because they would be barred from all future USATF events. Or something like that. Naturally, that gave me pause, but being the resourceful guy that I am, I figured I’d just wait a few minutes after the official start, start the race late, and just subtract the delay from my final time (I didn’t have a watch on me).

So I leisurely used the bathroom as the 50 or so other runners set off, and then I meandered over to the start line. I casually stretched, eyeing the clock all the while, and when it hit 2 minutes exactly, I set off. But this race was not meant to be. About 2 minutes in, a race official gave me a look and started saying into his walki talkie “I’m here by the soccer fields, and there’s…”

I couldn’t make out the rest, but in my paranoid state of mind I imagined he was talking about me, and they would then call in the police who would chase me down and arrest me for racing numberless. So I immediately split off from the race and went back to the start line to watch the race from the side.

I don’t think this really counts as my first DNF (Did-Not-Finish) considering I wasn’t officially part of the race, but it really bummed me out. But not so much that I won’t try again this week.


I, Race Bandit

Well, the deed is done. My second running-related crime has been committed- unless you count Jay-walking and indecent exposure (those running shorts), in which case I am a regular criminal.

Today I ran the Father’s Day 5 miler in Central Park, New York, without having signed up for it. In my last post I discussed some of the moral issues related to “illegal racing,” without drawing any conclusions. I also, to clear my conscience, convinced myself that I wouldn’t run in the race section, take too much water from the water stops, or indulge in post-race delicacies (plums, on this occasion). All these convictions broke down when I entered the disgusting sauna that was the outside.

So yes, I ran with the racers, drank their water, and even took a plum after the race. Not only that, but I even borrowed a bib from my brother so I could start in a corral; and since my brother is a fast runner, I got to start in the first corral which made me feel pretty cool. Granted, it was completely undeserved, but it was still fun.

If you happen to peruse the pictures of this event, I’m the runner who is nonchalantly covering my bib with my hand for every photograph. I didn’t want the New York Road Runners realizing that there was a guy with a half-marathon bib running a 5-miler, somehow discovering my identity with some high-tech face-recognition software, and banning me from all future New York Road Runner events.

So judge me if you will, but it was fun. Sweaty, dehydrating, stomach-upsetting fun. And it was totally worth it.